VIDEO: Critical Race Theory Collusion Exposed In Virginia!

Loudoun County in Virginia is the center of the storm on Critical Race Theory. School district officials there are obsessed with pushing, often dishonestly, the CRT agenda.

We learned this from 3,597 pages of records we received from the county. They reveal a coordinated effort to advance CRT initiatives despite widespread public opposition.

We received the records after two Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) requests to Loudoun County Public Schools. In March and April 2021 requests, we asked for communications between Loudoun County Superintendents Eric Williams and/or Scott Ziegler with school board members, teachers and parents regarding anti-racism initiatives, including a proposed speech code.

Here’s what we learned.

On March 27 at 2:19 a.m., Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) Chair Keaira Jennings writes to former Director of Equity Lottie Spurlock and others that she tweeted “we will silence the opposition … without realizing the firestorm my words would cause … My intention was and is to have the voices in support of equity in education be heard and supported, and I was actually thinking ‘hopefully those voice will eventually ring louder and drown out those against equity.’”

On March 29, 2021, Jennings writes about distributing a MSAAC a “call to action” in hopes the Loudoun NAACP will join in taking steps against the “false narratives” of “the opposition:”

As you are aware there is a lot of negativity and false narratives being circulated in the community and news regarding equity within LCPS. I think it best to not engage the opposition but rather counter them and drown out their hateful rhetoric. I am attaching a copy of the call to action that MSAAC put out this morning in hopes that the NAACP will join us in taking these or similar steps. Later this afternoon, I plan to also submit a letter formally to the school board asking that they take specific actions items, recognizing that the censure of [School Board Member] John Beatty is not legal for them currently.

On January 11, 2021, Loudoun County School Board Member Atoosa Reaser writes Ziegler an email about legislation moving in the Virginia legislature under the subject line, “Bill Tracking> HB1904 > 2021 session” (H.B. 1904 passed and was signed into law by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. The new law requires cultural competency for teacher licenses.):

This is the bill that’s going to encompass one of our program’s asks. It will be carried by someone outside of Loudoun, and is more comprehensive. I believe it encompasses what we were asking for and am OK with that path forward. Please let me know this morning if you have other thoughts.

Ziegler responds:

That looks good. Once the bill is passed, it will be interesting to see how the training and rubrics are built and promulgated around the [cultural competency] requirement. That will be where the real work starts.

On March 18, 2021, the African American Superintendent’s Advisory Council issued “Recommendations on Equity,” which includes among numerous other recommendations:

Establishment [of] a single indicator or composite score related to school climate that includes indicators related to antiracism and culturally responsive and inclusive learning environments
[A] requirement for educator preparation programs to include programs of study and experiences that prepare teachers to be culturally responsive educators.

Karen Dawson, executive assistant to the superintendent’s office asks a several public school officials to distribute the recommendations to their staff members.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ashley F. Ellis responds: “We already have a head start with so many of these things.”

Ziegler responds to Slevin and Director of Communications and Community Engagement Joan Sahgren: “I wonder if and how this information can be included in our communications.”

On December 7, 2020, in an email chain regarding a memorandum of understanding between the school board and the sheriff’s office, Spurlock writes to school and law enforcement officials about an upcoming panel discussion regarding “rules of engagement for the community conversation.”

On December 11, Katrecia Nolen, principal and owner of KAPAX Solutions, a management and IT consulting services company, writes:

Data shows that our children are disproportionately referred to law enforcement in Loudoun County and these factors should inform the MOU [memorandum of understanding] review process.
I understand that there were a number of community comments and questions submitted, when will we have access to this community-derived information?

In a March 19, 2021, message to the public school community Ziegler attempts to address concerns regarding “Rumors Concerning LCPS Equity Work” by attempting to draw a distinction between Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT):

The professional development offered to LCPS employees explores issues that have traditionally been ignored in professional development. It asks employees to examine their own personal biases and how they might affect student instruction and interactions with the community. Concepts such as white supremacy and systemic racism are discussed during professional development. LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to.

On March 23, Ellis writes about Ziegler’s distinction between Critical Race Theory and Culturally Responsive Teaching:

As we’ve stated in committee meetings and messages to the community, LCPS is not teaching CRT (Critical Race Theory), nor have our staff been trained in Critical Race Theory …


Information related to countywide training for equity was shared with the LCPS School board on September 22…. Additionally, the Department of Instruction has created a frequently-asked-questions document related to Equity and Culturally Responsive Instruction.
The acronym “CRT” might sometimes be confused with Culturally Responsive Teaching.  As you know from C&I meetings this year, we do have a Culturally Responsive Framework that was developed this past year and is being utilized in our schools. Again, this is not Critical Race Theory.

In a March 2, 2021, email, Ziegler invites senior staff to a Zoom meeting facilitated by Virginia Commonwealth University: “Topic: Equity and Culturally Responsive Leadership: Racial Equity: What’s Race Got to Do With It? Dr. Cole and Dr Stanley.” Drs. Cole and Stanley work in the Office of Strategic Engagement for VCU.

In early April 2021, Public Information Officer Wayde B. Byard engages in a conversation with Loudoun Now editor Norman Styer, whom Byard characterizes in an April 5 email to Zeigler, Ellis and Spurlock as “friendly.” Byard writes, “This editor has been friendly to us in the past. In our phone conversation, he said he wanted to ‘cut through the crazy’ and give an honest account of what LCPS is doing.”

In a January 26, 2020, email, Beth Barts writes to then-Superintendent Williams and other school officials informing them about a closed meeting by the Equity Committee, after it was leaked the Committee was considering a rule that would require parents to take equity training before they would be allowed to access their child’s “parentvue,” a mobile application designed to help parents monitor their child’s academic activity. Barts writes:

I would lie [sic] to draw your attention to the social media rumors that the equity committee is going to require parents to take equity training before they are allowed to access their child’s parentvue. There is some outrage building.
I realize this is not exactly accurate and was just a suggestion, but I wanted to make sure you all were aware.

Loudon County parents are not alone in confronting CRT abuse of their children.

We recently made public a training document it received from a whistleblower in the Westerly School District of Rhode Island, which details how Westerly Public Schools are using teachers to push critical race theory in classrooms. The training course was assembled by the left-leaning Highlander Institute and cites quotes from Bettina Love, from whom the Biden administration distanced itself publicly after her statements equating “whiteness” to oppression.

In May, we obtained heavily redacted records from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) including documents related to their “Anti-racist system audit” and critical race theory classes. The documents, obtained under the Maryland Public Information Act, reveal that students of “Maryland’s Largest School District” who attended Thomas Pyle Middle School’s social justice class were taught that the phrase “Make America Great Again” was an example of “covert white supremacy.” The phrase is ranked on a pyramid just below “lynching,” “hate crimes,” “the N-word” and “racial slurs.” They were also taught that “white privilege” means being favored by school authorities and having a positive relationship with the police.

In June, we uncovered records from Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts that confirm the use of “affinity spaces” that divided students and staff based on race as a priority and objective of the school district’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” plan. The school district also admitted that between September 1, 2020 and May 17, 2021, it created “five distinct” segregated spaces.

CRT is the true pandemic in our schools and Judicial Watch is doing its best to combat it!

Judicial Watch Sues Asheville Over Racially Discriminatory Scholarship Program

Oxymoronic anti-racist racism is the new agenda for the extremist Left.  As part of our effort to combat this assault on the rule of law, Judicial Watch filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a North Carolina citizens group whose members include high school students ineligible for a City of Asheville-funded scholarship only because they are not black.

The plaintiff, WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., is suing the City of Asheville, City Manager Debra Campbell, and the Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) and its director regarding the city’s establishment of a racially discriminatory scholarship program.

(The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., v. City of Asheville et al. (No. 1:21-cv-00310))).

On May 5, 2021, the City of Asheville entered into an agreement with Asheville City Schools Foundation to establish and administer the City of Asheville Scholarship Fund. According to the agreement, the City of Asheville Scholarship is “awarded in perpetuity to Black high school students within Asheville City Schools, with special consideration given for Black students pursuing a career in education.”

Our lawsuit argues that the scholarship is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a violation of the members of WNC Citizens for Equality’s rights to equal protection under the law and freedom from racial discrimination under the North Carolina Constitution.

The funds provided by the City of Asheville for the City of Asheville Scholarship came from the settlement of an unrelated lawsuit. On April 13, 2021, the Asheville City Council directed City Manager Debra Campbell and City Attorney Brad Branham to effectuate a “donation” of $474,592.56 to ACSF. The City Council stated that it expected the funds would be used “in such a way as to provide the public benefit of advancing racial equity within the community.” A later, smaller donation also was made by the City of Asheville to ACSF for the same purpose.

According to ACSF’s website, the first City of Asheville Scholarship was awarded in May 2021. ACSF will begin accepting applications on November 1, 2021, and through January 31, 2022, for the next City of Asheville Scholarship to be awarded.

Our lawsuit asks the court to declare the discriminatory scholarship scheme is in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution.

It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race and setting up a ‘blacks only’ scholarship is wildly unconstitutional. This civil rights lawsuit seeks to ensure that no student in Asheville is denied educational scholarship opportunities on account of race.

Federal Agencies Unveil Plans to Combat “Anti-Voter Burdens” of People of Color

The Biden administration has engaged in a thinly-disguised “get out the vote” operation – using your tax dollars. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the latest details:

In response to President Joe Biden’s government-wide directive to eliminate “anti-voter burdens” and “significant obstacles” that prevent people of color from voting, more than a dozen federal agencies have announced unprecedented initiatives that could conveniently result in more votes for Democrats. The agencies concocted their unconventional voter outreach plan after Biden issued an Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting in early March. It directs the federal government to leverage its vast resources to increase access to voter registration services and information about voting. Under the mandate all agencies must submit a strategic plan outlining ways to promote voter registration and participation to White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, who served as National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under Barack Obama.
“The right to vote is the foundation of American democracy,” Biden’s March executive order states. “Free and fair elections that reflect the will of the American people must be protected and defended. But many Americans, especially people of color, confront significant obstacles to exercising that fundamental right. These obstacles include difficulties with voter registration, lack of election information, and barriers to access at polling places. For generations, Black voters and other voters of color have faced discriminatory policies and other obstacles that disproportionally affect their communities. These voters remain more likely to face long lines at the polls and are disproportionately burdened by voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote by mail. Limited access to language assistance remains a barrier for many voters.” The order also mentions barriers faced by people with disabilities who are denied legally required accommodations and military personnel serving overseas.
In a preview of what is coming, 14 agencies recently disclosed the steps they are taking in response to the president’s call for “an all-of-government action to promote voting access and to further the ability of all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy.” In a lengthy announcement, the White House claims the “strategic plans” are just the beginning of each agency’s commitment and that the agencies will further build out their capacity to help voters better understand “opportunities for engagement” as well as “facilitate participation in the electoral process” in the months to come. Much of the planning will center on the findings of Vice President Kamala Harris’ months-long engagement with voting populations “that have been historically marginalized” as well as civil and voting rights advocacy groups. The administration has also partnered with civil rights organizations, according to the White House release, and has appointed “strong civil rights leadership at the Department of Justice.”
Here is a preview of the preliminary steps government agencies are taking to combat so-called “anti-voter burdens.” The Department of Justice will provide voting information and facilitate voting for federal inmates and educate ex-cons before reentry about voting rules and rights in their state. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will furnish voter registration information and services to around 1.2 million public housing units nationwide and improve voting registration and voting access to the homeless. The Department of Labor plans to designate thousands of employment training centers in every state as voter registration agencies and require the centers to enroll voters and serve as polling precincts. The Education Department is going to prepare a tool kit of resources and strategies for civic engagement for the nation’s elementary and high schools as well as colleges so more than 67 million students and their families learn about “civic opportunities and responsibilities.” The Treasury Department will include voter registration and participation materials in direct deposit campaigns for Americans who receive federal benefits such as Social Security. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service is having its offices, borrowers and guaranteed lenders push voter information. Federal transportation officials want to place voter registration materials in high-transit stations and the Department of Defense (DOD) is going to develop voting materials in “additional languages.” This is just the beginning.

Critical Race Theory Roils Virginia Governor Race

Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, provides a look at CRT battles which are coming to a head in Virginia in our Investigative Bulletin:

Virginia is shaping up as ground zero in the battle over schools and Critical Race Theory. The “theory” is pure poison, a hard-edged identity politics from the radical Left teaching that America is an irredeemably racist country suffused by white supremacy. Students must—must—acknowledge this, or pay the price. Dissent will not be tolerated. Parents are in an uproar, particularly in Virginia, where CRT has become a major issue in the gubernatorial contest between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. Polls show a tight race.
The CRT fight in Virginia has been brewing all year. “Perhaps nowhere  has the debate over critical race theory grown so heated as in Loudoun County” in Northern Virginia, the Washington Post reported in May. Loudoun put nearly half a million dollars into a consulting firm for teacher training and raising “racial consciousness.” Parents grew alarmed and tensions increased. CRT “is teaching kids to see other kids through a strictly identity group lens as opposed to seeing each other as individuals with their own stories to tell that are not dependent on their skin color or their ethnicity,” a Loudoun County parent told the Post.
In July, in Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School—rated as one of the top public schools in the nation—newly elected anti-CRT members of the parent-teacher association were threatened with removal of their charter by the state’s governing PTA association. In September, chaos broke out at a Prince William County School Board Meeting when parents started shouting at each other. Cops had to clear the room.
Sparked by parent passions, CRT appears to be gaining traction with Virginia voters. A recent Emerson Poll showed that a big majority of Virginians, 86%, were familiar with the CRT debate. 47% said they would support a state ban on teaching CRT in the schools.
Youngkin, the GOP candidate, says he will ban CRT in the schools “on day one” of his administration. He has made CRT a top issue in the race and hammers McAuliffe on it at “Parents Matter” events around the state. CRT “teaches our children to view everything through a lens of race to divide our children up into buckets and then pit them against one another and steal their dreams,” Youngkin told a Parents Matter rally last week.
McAuliffe has stumbled over CRT and education. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said at a September debate—a remark that immediately went viral. He dismisses concerns over CRT as “racist” and a “dog whistle.” On the campaign trail, McAuliffe’s education pitch focuses on a $2 billion proposal to raise teacher pay, improve online access, and expand preschool programs.
Judicial Watch has been a national leader in the CRT fight and we’ll be watching Virginia closely. Read more from us on the background of CRT here; on CRT in Maryland here; on CRT at West Point here; on CRT in Rhode Island here. And if you’re interested in using the Freedom of Information Act and public records requests to explore CRT in your community, this episode of JW TV will tell you everything you need to know.

Ilhan Omar Introduces Legislation to Create Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating ‘Islamophobia’

Will the human rights reports make a clear distinction between “Islamophobia” as attacks on innocent Muslims, which are never justified, and “Islamophobia” as honest analysis of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence, which is always necessary?

Of course the answer to both questions is a resounding no. If this “special envoy” is created, he or she will crack down on honest discussion of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and oppression. The special envoy will be another agent in the Left’s escalating war against the freedom of speech.

Omar wants government to monitor global ‘Islamophobia

by Luke Gentile, Washington Examiner, October 21, 2021:

Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced legislation Thursday that would create a federal office to monitor “Islamophobia” and anti-Muslim bigotry around the world.

Omar hopes the office will help lawmakers understand the “interconnected, global problem of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

“The bill requires the State Department to create a Special Envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia, and include state-sponsored Islamophobic violence and impunity in the Department’s annual human rights reports,” Omar’s office said in a press release .

Although Omar and Schakowsky’s proposal is aimed at international anti-Muslim bigotry, they both said it is a domestic problem, too.

“We are seeing a rise in Islamophobia in nearly every corner of the globe,” Omar said. “In my home state of Minnesota, vandals spray-painted hate messages and a Nazi swastika on and near the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center.”

In the past year, roughly 500 complaints of anti-Muslim hate and bias have been documented in the U.S., according to the release….

“As part of our commitment to international religious freedom and human rights, we must recognize Islamophobia and do all we can to eradicate it,” Omar said.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Telescreens in Your Home Are Watching Your Every Move

A woman who uses the apt TikTok handle @my.data.not.yours has posted a video detailing the truly shocking extent of Amazon’s surveillance of her daily life. She requested “all the data Amazon has on me,” explaining, “I have two Dots and one Echo.” Between them, these devices have collected an astonishing amount of data. She goes through the folders Amazon sent her and says of one audio folder,: “There are 3,534 short audio clips in this file alone.” This is, she says, “so scary.” Yeah.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO

The problem isn’t that any of the audio clips contain some kind of compromising information. What they contain is trivial, as she notes of one of them, “This one is of me turning on a light.” However, she continues, “I then clicked on Contacts and it turns out they have a full list of my contacts from my phone and I never remember syncing that.” Also, “The very last thing that I didn’t know that they had, I could have assumed that they have but I don’t love that they have, is my location.” She adds, “I’m not totally comfortable with everything they have.”

She shouldn’t be. In 1984, the citizens of the totalitarian dystopia Oceania are required to have a telescreen in their homes, and can never shut it off. Not only does it blare the regime’s lies and agitprop at them twenty-four hours a day, but it can and does listen in on them, without anyone ever knowing exactly when they’re being listened to.

The hapless proles of Oceania had no other choice but to allow this surveillance; Orwell would be aghast to see modern-day Americans not only willingly inviting surveillance of their daily activities but happily paying for the devices that enable it.

Many of the viewers of the video, however, found it difficult to see why it would be “so scary” that Amazon would have thousands of recordings of people turning on light bulbs and asking Alexa to play some Tony Bennett. According to the New York Post, one commenter thought the TikToker was making a mountain out of a molehill: “It’s scary that people with Echo Dots and Alexa’s etc [sic] don’t know that Amazon records you and keeps the recordings.” Another added, “Can someone explain to me why this is ‘scary’? I’m not interesting enough to care if they have my contacts or audio.”

Sure. The telescreen operators in 1984 no doubt collected oceans of utterly trivial and uninteresting data as well. Then it was someone else’s job to wade through it all in order to discover anyone who may have dared to utter anti-regime sentiments. Once the mechanism for surveillance is in place, what is there to prevent it from being used by the unscrupulous for nefarious purposes?

There is more. Read the rest here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

CALIFORNIA: Watch As Ami Horowitz Gets College Students To Give Money to Help The Taliban Attack America

The below video is a stomach-turning example of how Democrat professors at our largest colleges and universities have indoctrinated generations of gullible students to see their country as an evil and unworthy place.

Watch as “Students Fund the Taliban.” Watch New York filmmaker Ami Horowitz, who went to the campus of the University of California/Berkeley, with a modest pitch to raise money to help the Taliban perpetrate attacks on Americans:

In a New York Post column titled “US college students pledge money to the Taliban in shocking video”   reported:

American college students have a soft spot for charitable giving — even when the recipient is the Taliban.

In his shocking new video “Students Fund the Taliban,” New York filmmaker Ami Horowitz hits up the campus of legendarily leftist school University of California, Berkeley, with a modest pitch: raise money for the Taliban to perpetrate its attacks on Americans.

“We’re raising money for the Taliban!” “Get your Taliban here,” Horowitz, 46, crows in the revealing three-minute “gotcha” clip, canvassing for terror with the blitheness of someone handing out coupons for a sandwich shop.

The self-described “guerilla journalist” is best known for his 2017 video “Stockholm Syndrome,” about social unrest in Sweden amid mass Islamic migration. He appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and CNN to discuss the clip, which was also referenced by Jimmy Kimmel on that year’s Oscars telecast.

Read the full article.

©John Edison. All rights reserved.

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The Marxist Move to Cancel Jefferson

In our age of historical revisionism, the city officials in New York City have set their sights on a statue of our third president—Thomas Jefferson. This is a statue that has been in City Hall since 1833. It was moved about 80 years ago to the actual chamber where the business of the city is conducted.

“Jefferson Statue Will Be Removed From N.Y.C. Council Chambers,” declares the New York Times. The story notes: “Black, Latino and Asian City Council members who find the sculpture oppressive and racist may finally win a two-decade fight to remove it from their chamber.”

The city’s Public Design Commission unanimously voted Monday to remove the statue.

The Times notes, “Though Jefferson, one of the nation’s founding fathers, wrote about equality in the Declaration of Independence, he enslaved more than 600 people and fathered six children with one of them, Sally Hemings.”

Of course, there is no justification from a moral and biblical perspective for slavery. Sadly, Thomas Jefferson was born into the tradition of slavery, and he did not free his own slaves—even though as a younger man, he did make some attempts to fight it.

Also, there are some who doubt that the DNA testing proved that Thomas was the Jefferson who had children with Sally Hemings.

When Jefferson wrote his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, it contained a strong denunciation of slavery and of the colonists’ attempt to at least stop the slave trade. A measure that King George vetoed.

Unfortunately, this slavery passage from the Declaration got cut so that all the members of the Continental Congress could unanimously agree on independence.

To me the most enduring legacy of Jefferson is that he helped set the framework by which the slaves could be free one day. As the author of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, he made it clear that our rights come from the Creator.

Abraham Lincoln was greatly inspired by the truths of the Declaration of Independence. When he delivered his Gettysburg Address, the “four score and seven years ago” refers to the Declaration of Independence. To paraphrase Lincoln, America in 1863 was now poised in this great conflict to make those words of Jefferson apply to all—that “all men are created equal.”

Dr. Mark Beliles is a minister in the Charlottesville area. After the melee in his city in 2017, he and a black minister teamed up to create “Healing4Charlottesville.”

Several years ago, Beliles and I joined forces to write a book on the faith (or lack thereof) of our third president, Doubting Thomas (MorganJames 2014). The book makes two main points: Jefferson was not a lifelong skeptic, and he didn’t believe in the separation of God and state.

I asked Beliles, president of the America Transformation Company, for a comment about this plan to remove the Jefferson statue in NYC. He told me that we find this statue-removal phenomenon in areas dominated by the left, not the right: “It is purely a partisan effort to appease radical elements in their party and get or maintain votes.”

Beliles noted, “But the whole reasoning is hypocritical since that very party was the one that defended slavery, and gave birth to segregation, Jim Crow, lynchings, and the Ku Klux Klan and erected all the Confederate statues. Never did the Republican Party advocate those things.”

Beliles observes the irony in all this: “Furthermore, the reasoning for removing these statues is flawed because it requires alignment by historical persons to majority standards that did not exist in their era, and it has no logical end since there will always be found flaws in human leaders.”

Beliles adds, “There is no way to have a unified social identity as a nation with this flawed standard. In reality, it is a tool of disunion used by Marxists to undermine unity in culture and create an environment for revolution. It must be resisted.”

Jarrett Stepman, a writer and commentator with the Heritage Foundation, wrote a book, The War on History. In reference to this NYC-Jefferson controversy, he told me: “Thomas Jefferson was a great man and great American whose words and accomplishments have been a stumbling block to tyrants for the past two centuries….That the New York City Council even considers removing his statue from city hall is an indictment on New York’s political leaders, not Jefferson.”

If only perfect people can have their statues remain, then how many statues can there be? In fact, the only perfect human being who ever lived was Jesus Christ. And yet just the other week a statue of Him was desecrated outside of a church in the greater Miami area.

In this removal of Jefferson’s statue in New York City, the Marxist war on America as founded goes on unabated.

©Jerry Newcombe. All rights reserved.

Legal Tools to Defend 170 Million Strong No Vax Americans!

Defending the right to say NO to the so-called vaccines for COVID is a proxy battle for your constitutional rights. You people who were coerced into getting the shots, listen up: this your fight too. The Marxist left will continue to attack your liberty. We must stand-up to the Marxists, whether you are jabbed or not jabbed. In this special edition of the Ledger Report, Graham Ledger offers tools, resources and links to be used in defending your right to work, play, eat, function without being forced to wear a mask, or get the shot, or any other form of American tyranny.

Graham also speaks with Scott Presler about his new effort to get Patriots involved in local politics, which is where the conservative effort needs to focus.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Ledger Report video is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Please subscribe free to The Ledger Report by clicking here: www.GrahamLedger.com

POLL: Trump Is Crushing Biden Among Independents

Trump leads Biden with a 45% to 28% margin.


Former President Donald Trump holds a significant lead among independent voters over President Joe Biden, a Wednesday poll found.

A Grinnell-Selzer poll found that Trump leads Biden with a 45% to 28% margin among Independent voters in a hypothetical 2024 presidential election. Exactly 20% of the Independent respondents surveyed said they would support another candidate and 7% would not vote at all. The poll surveyed 745 adults between Oct.13-17 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6% percentage points.

The poll discovered that Trump and Biden have an equal percentage of likely voters, 40%, that would vote for them in the next presidential election, while 14% said they would support a different candidate. Both candidates continue to hold firm support within their parties, with 80% of Republicans backing the former president and nearly 90% supporting Biden.

Biden’s support among Independent voters drastically declined since the 2020 presidential election. Previous 2020 exit polling showed Biden’s lead over Trump by a 54% to 41% margin among Independents, according to Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company.

“The president has time to turn his political fortunes around. But if it doesn’t happen soon, Democrats are likely to face a serious reckoning in the 2022 midterm elections,” Grinnell College National Poll Director Peter Hanson said, according to the poll.

The poll coincided with other recent polls that have shown the president’s significant fall in approval ratings. The president currently holds a 50% disapproval rating, while only 37% approve of his job performance.

Biden’s highest disapproval rating, 58%, is in response to his handling of the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the poll. Only 27% approve of his handling of immigration. In response to his handling of the economy, 53% disapprove of his job performance while 36% said they approve.

The Biden administration has been hit with widespread backlash for its handling of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan back in August, the ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation, and for ordering COVID-19 vaccine mandates on private businesses.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the low approval ratings are related to the “really tough time in our country” at an Oct. 8 press conference. She cited the rise of the Delta variant and the high number of unvaccinated individuals as reasons for the polls’ results.

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NICOLE SILVERIO

Contributor.

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White House Unveils Plan To Vaccinate 28 Million Kids Ages 5-11

President Joe Biden’s White House unveiled plans to vaccinate 28 million children ages 5-11 Wednesday, before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has offered approval for vaccinating the age group.

The plan comes in anticipation of the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine for young children. The Pfizer vaccine could receive approval for the age range as soon as early November following independent panel votes from the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Oct. 26 and Nov. 3 respectively.

“The Administration has procured enough vaccine to support vaccination for the country’s 28 million children ages 5-11 years old. If authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-11 year olds will be a dose and formula specifically for this age group,” the White House wrote in a fact sheet provided to the Daily Caller.

“Millions of adolescents ages 12-17 have been safely vaccinated, and we know vaccines work. Fully vaccinated individuals are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and have a high degree of protection, including against the Delta variant,” the White House added.

The FDA cleared the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12 in May. As of Oct. 13, 513 children ages 0-17 have died from COVID-19 throughout the entirety of the pandemic, according to Statista.

The White House plan will make vaccines available for children at tens of thousands of primary care clinics and pharmacies, as well as hundreds of children’s hospitals and rural health clinics across the country.

The administration has a choppy record of preparing vaccine distribution plans prior to receiving FDA or CDC approval. The White House mobilized a similar push for COVID-19 vaccine boosters in August, only for the CDC to kneecap the effort by recommending the booster shots only for those over the age of 65 and those employed in high-risk industries.

The independent CDC panel had initially left off the recommendation for high-risk workers, but Biden-appointed CDC Director Rochelle Walensky overruled the panel.

“This updated interim guidance from CDC allows for millions of Americans who are at highest risk for COVID-19 to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to help increase their protection,” the CDC said in a statement at the time.

COLUMN BY

ANDERS HAGSTROM

White House correspondent.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

A Brilliant Philosopher Explains Why The World Is Going Absolutely Bonkers

The transgender revolution is just one facet of the larger revolution of the self in the Western world.


Carl R. Trueman is a church historian, professor of biblical and religious studies at a conservative Christian College in Pennsylvania and an established writer. Trueman presents the genesis of this book very simply in the book’s opening line: “The origins of this book lie in my curiosity about how and why a particular statement has come to be regarded as coherent and meaningful: ‘I am a woman trapped in a man’s body.’”

Only a short time ago very few people would have been greatly perplexed by such a statement, and yet it has become normalised. Trueman seeks to show how it is that society has arrived at a point where such a statement can be taken seriously. It is common knowledge that the proximate origins of transgenderism lie in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, but Trueman is of the conviction that the sexual revolution of the 1960s alone is insufficient to explain our cultural malaise. Rather, “the sexual revolution is simply one manifestation of the larger revolution of the self that has taken place in the West.”

And it is only by understanding the causes of the “revolution of the self” that we will “understand the dynamics of the sexual politics that now dominate our culture”. This leads him to trace its genesis much further back, to our culture’s pathological turn towards “inwardness” beginning in the Enlightenment with Rousseau, and from there through the Romantics, Freud and the New Left.

Architecture of the Revolution

The work is divided into four sections. In the first section of the book, “Architecture of the Revolution”, Trueman presents key concepts from the work of three recent or contemporary philosophers who shape a great deal of his own thought. These core concepts are tools which allow Trueman to analyse and understand the “architecture” of the sexual revolution.

In the first place there is the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, author of Sources of the Self (1989) and A Secular Age (2007). He has worked on the concept of “the social imaginary”: the largely unconscious set of intuitions and practices which shape a society’s understanding of the world, and so of what a society imagines the world to be. Trueman wishes to explore how the social imaginary of contemporary society has been shaped by the philosophers and the overall culture since the Enlightenment. He also uses Taylor’s distinction between a mimetic culture (one which broadly speaking sees creatures, and in particular man, as having a defined and objective nature), and a poietic culture (in which man’s creativity is taken to trump any intrinsic nature).

Another key idea which he takes from Taylor’s work, is that of “expressive individualism”. This is the view that the Enlightenment and its successor movement Romanticism have bequeathed us the linked aspirations to radical autonomy on the one hand and (perhaps paradoxically) an expressive unity with nature and society on the other. In the LGBTQ+ movement this “expressive individualism” translates into the premium placed on one’s right on the one hand, to define one’s own identity and on the other hand to embrace a wider moral structure which extols victimhood. For Trueman, Taylor’s contributions on the nature of self and the “the social imaginary,” “allow for answers to the question of why certain identities (e.g., LGBTQ+) enjoy great cachet today while others (e.g. religious conservatives) are increasingly marginalized”.

The second philosopher he draws from is Philip Rieff, who I have to admit I’d never heard of before, much less read. Rieff (1922-2006) was an American sociologist and cultural critic, whose concepts such as the triumph of the therapeutic, psychological man, the anti-culture, and deathworks are used extensively by Trueman. For Rieff we are living in a “Third World” by which he means a culture which rejects the traditional sacred foundations of social order and moral imperatives and adopts instead only self-referential foundations. (Sacred foundations are found in the “First World” of antiquity, and in the “Second World” – primarily the Christian West).

In this Third World the only criterion for ethical action is whether an act conduces to the feeling of well-being. This over-riding need for well-being of necessity produces a therapeutic culture.

For Trueman, “The triumph of the therapeutic represents the advent of the expressive individual as the normative type of human being and of the relativizing of all meaning and truth to personal taste.”

The third philosopher he uses is the Scot Alasdair MacIntyre, whose critique of emotivist ethics contained in his influential 1981 work After Virtue ties in very well with the findings of Taylor and Rieff.

MacIntyre convincingly shows that modern ethical discourse is in relativist chaos because it has rejected the two concepts without which there can be no ethics: virtue and tradition. As a consequence, “the language of morality as now used is really nothing more than the language of personal preference based on nothing more rational or objective than sentiments and feelings.”

And so, when push comes to shove, something is wrong because that’s the way I feel about it. For Trueman, “These insights are extremely helpful in understanding both the fruitless nature and the extreme polarizing rhetoric of many of the great moral debates of our time, not least those surrounding matters of sex and identity.”

Foundations of the Revolution

The second section of the book –“Foundations of the Revolution” – takes the reader through the thought of influential theorists and writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, beginning with the strange radical Enlightenment figure Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His focus on the inward psychological life and the baneful influence of society and culture on the self has become a commonplace today. “It should … be clear that some such construction of freedom and selfhood as that offered by Rousseau is at work in the modern transgender movement.”

Unexpectedly – for me at least – the Romantics Wordsworth, Shelley and Blake turn out also to be highly influential in the fashioning of the Western notion of the self. Where they fit in is through their expressivism and in this they are faithful followers of Rousseau: the problem is civilisation and the solution is nature. It is the job of the artist to transform society, releasing it from the shackles of social conventions in general and sexual social conventions in particular.

Top of the target list is the normative status of lifelong, monogamous marriage. “While he would no doubt have retched at the thought, William Wordsworth stands near the head of a path that leads to Hugh Hefner and Kim Kardashian.”

Finally we come to the “emergence of plastic people” – the idea that “man can make and remake personal identity at will”, eliminating the traditional conception of a human nature which authoritatively defines what we are. This of course is something we have become all too familiar with in the 21st Century, but are we aware of the origins of this Promethean view in Nietzsche, Marx, Freud and Darwin?

Nietzsche was the one who ingeniously exposed polite bourgeois Enlightenment morality for a murder of God. He always took this murder to the logical conclusion that man’s task is self-creation. Similarly for Marx, human nature is a plastic thing, moulded in his view by the economic structure of society.

Finally, Darwin’s contribution to the 19th Century’s destruction of the idea of human nature was to remove the concept of teleology from nature and replace it with a process of blind and accidental adaptations over vast periods of time. The upshot of these theories is that: “the world in itself has no meaning; meaning and significance can thus be given to it only by the actions of human beings…”.

This is Taylor’s movement from mimesis to poiesis: “If society/culture is merely a construct, and if nature possesses no intrinsic meaning or purpose, then what meaning there is must be created by human beings themselves.”

Sexualization of the Revolution

Part 3, “Sexualization of the Revolution” explores Sigmund Freud’s pivotal role in sexualising psychology and how this sexualised psychology was in turn politicised in a Marxist direction by Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse. Freud, says Trueman, is “arguably the key figure in the narrative of this book”. His influence went way beyond the realm of psychoanalysis, and into other areas such as art, literature and advertising.

Freud’s great myth is that man’s quest for happiness is of necessity a quest for sexual satisfaction: “The purpose of life, and the content of the good life, is personal sexual fulfilment.” Civilisation with its restrictive moral codes – in a Rousseauian fashion – stands in the way of his fulfilled sexual desires, and so the individual must make a trade off: allowing some of their individual desires to go unfulfilled in exchange for socially organised security.

The curbing of sexual desire is what makes society possible, though at the expense of a certain degree of individual discontentment; other non-sexual avenues such as religion or art are pursued to redress the non-fulfilment of sexual desires. For Freud the two great problems in education were the “retardation of sexual development and premature religious experience” reflecting not only his sexualised concept of the person but also his deep animus towards religion.

Trueman follows this with a discussion of “the shotgun wedding of Marx and Freud”: that is the Marxist spin put on Freud’s sexualising of psychology. The two most important thinkers in this regard are the eccentric Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse.

For Reich, writing in the 1930s and 1940s, “sexual codes are part of the ideology of the governing class, designed to maintain the status quo so as to benefit those in power”, namely the authoritarian patriarchy and the sex-negating church. The primary political enemy is the patriarchal family, and the sexuality of children is the means to undermine the family.

Marcuse was a product of the Frankfurt School and his writings in the 1950s and 1960s were standard fare for the student revolutionaries of 1968. For Marcuse sexual codes are foundational to the structure of society, and so “Sex focused on procreation and family is the repressive weapon of bourgeois capitalist society. And free love and untrammeled sexual experimentation are a central part of the revolutionary liberation of society.” Incidentally in Marcuse we find a remarkable justification for the imposition of “rigid restrictions” on free speech, and in this he is certainly a precursor of the contemporary cancel culture.

Trueman also considers the role played by Simone de Beauvoir’s radical feminism in reducing sex to a social construct, and biology to a tyranny.

Triumphs of the Revolution

In the fourth and final part of the book, “Triumphs of the Revolution”, Trueman now goes on to show how our modern Western culture is to a large degree the child of the of the philosophical currents outlined in the previous two parts of the book. He looks at how these currents of thought have triumphed in three areas: the erotic, the therapeutic and transgender.

Firstly, he shows how art – especially (following the thought of philosopher Augusto Del Noce) the surrealist movement – became eroticised; and how mainstream culture has been gradually pornified since the early 1970s. The consequences of pornography have been profound: “Pornography and the pornification of pop culture has been critical to the destruction of sexual norms, to the reinforcement of an expressive individualist view of selfhood, and to the transformation of the West.”

Secondly the therapeutic view of man is reflected in the legal changes (in the US) regarding the definition of marriage, and abortion rights – both of which are articulations of expressive individualism where it is the right of persons “to define their own concept of existence” (in the infamous words of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy).

Its clearest exponent today is perhaps the Princeton philosopher Peter Singer. He rejects traditional liberal arguments for abortion as unsound. He refuses to use notions based on human essence or human exceptionalism. Instead, he grounds all moral debate entirely on psychological well-being, and in this he is emblematic of the triumph of the therapeutic.

This same therapeutic mentality is to be found also on the university campus in its greatly altered evaluation of the past: where once academia viewed the past as a source of wisdom now it is a tale of oppression: “Denying free speech on campus is simply an extension of seeing all history as a hegemonic discourse designed to keep the powerful in power and to marginalize and silence the weak.”

Thirdly there is the triumph of transgenderism. Trueman first of all discusses the forced nature of the LGBTQ+ alliance, showing how great social, economic, biological and philosophical differences separate lesbians and gays in particular. Despite this, it was a shared sense of victimhood – a key Marxist category – which finally united these disparate groups.

The transgender dimension fits here as another victim of the socially and politically enforced heterosexual normativity so inimical to a sense of psychological well-being. At the same time the LGBTQ+ movement is built on a fundamental incoherence, for “If gender is a construct, then so are all those categories based on it – heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.” Nevertheless, what we see in this movement is the most extreme form to date of the triumph of poiesis over mimesis – the triumph of the will over reality.

In conclusion, Trueman sums up by saying that the anti-culture which has been created is “the result of a world that has accepted the challenge of Nietzsche’s madman, to remake value and meaning in the wake of the death – indeed, the killing – of the Christian God, or, indeed, of any god.”

Though the LGBTQ+ movement does seek to emphasize the dignity of the individual, it does so on the basis of expressive individualism rather than on any divine or sacred foundation. Furthermore, Trueman warns against defending traditional sexual mores without regard to the overall cultural question. Abortion, divorce, sexual licence, pornography etc are all manifestations of the pathological expressive individualism at the core of the anti-culture.

Trueman suggests that “the church” (by which he means Christians in general) will manage to resist and overcome the anti-culture if it is attentive to three things. Firstly it must be aware that this anti-culture has made huge strides because increasingly people are swung by images, emotions, sympathy and empathy rather than ideas and doctrine. Christians must assert her doctrine but they must do so attractively.

Secondly the church must give witness to genuine community in the face of so many ersatz communities. And thirdly, as Trueman says, “Protestants need to recover both natural law and a high view of the physical body.” We have, he says, a precedent for our current malaise in the plight of persecuted Christians of the 2nd Century. How did they do it? “By existing as a close-knit, doctrinally bounded community that required her members to act consistently with their faith and to be good citizens of the earthly city…”

My only quibble with the book is that Trueman explicitly directs it at Christians. I wonder was this necessary given that perhaps he is inadvertently and unnecessarily shrinking his readership. The arguments in the book are always philosophical, sociological and historical. Faith is not a prerequisite to accepting his arguments. Perhaps the author simply feels (perhaps correctly) that outside of the Christian community he will simply not receive a hearing for arguments which run so counter to current sexual mores.

However, the book scores very highly under number of headings. In the first place the question the book sets out to answer is a question any thinking person must be asking themselves in the face of the worldwide triumph of the LGBTQ+ movement: How did we get here, and so quickly?

Secondly, Trueman’s conviction that the “acceptance of gay marriage and transgenderism are simply the latest outworking, the most recent symptoms, of deep and long-established cultural pathologies” is a very wise. It strikes me that many of those involved in the so-called “culture wars” do so with at best a very superficial knowledge of the cultural roots of woke ideology, and as a result they take on the appearance of reactionaries. Trueman considers “that giving an accurate account of one’s opponents’ views, however obnoxious one may consider them to be, is vital, and never more so than in our age of cheap Twitter insults and casual slanders.…There is nothing to be gained from refuting a straw man.”

Thirdly, Trueman’s choice of intellectual tools in the insights of Rieff, Taylor and MacIntyre is well made. He adeptly uses the complex intellectual keys they have fashioned in order to understand the intellectual forces which have created the modern notion of the self.

Fourthly, the book completely avoids falling into the kind of lamentation which dominates much conservative and Christian polemic against modernity. This book is, in the words of Rod Dreher, “a sophisticated survey and analysis of cultural history by a sophisticated teacher”.

Fifthly, his prose style is completely lucid throughout, and he very ably synthesises and explains complex philosophical arguments, especially those of Philip Rieff, Charles Taylor, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Trueman does the reader a great service in distilling their insights into comprehensible prose and so making their invaluable insights quite accessible.

Finally, though Trueman is a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church he is in no way sectarian and is quite happy to make substantial use of very Catholic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas and even John Paul II. (He calls John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body the best work on the body from a Christian perspective.)

So if, like Trueman, you find yourself asking how is it that our culture accepts as credible that a person can be trapped in the body of the opposite sex, then this book is for you. Incidentally in February 2022, Crossway will publish a shorter, and more accessible work by Trueman on the same topic: Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution.

Fr Gavan Jennings

Rev. Gavan Jennings studied philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He is co-editor of the monthly journal Position Papers. He teaches occasional… More by Fr Gavan Jennings

RELATED ARTICLE: To my daughter’s gender therapist: you were wrong.

EDITORS NOTE: This Mercator Net column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Arab Violence – Root Causes and Red Herrings

If difficult socioeconomic conditions in the ultra-Orthodox community have not produced the rampant crime that afflicts Arab society, why should this be assumed to be the case among Israeli Arabs?


The homicide rate in Israel generally is low by international standards, but what has emerged in Israel’s Arab streets is an alternate universe of lawlessness, where residents can no longer leave their homes without fearing for their lives –New York Review of Books, December 4, 2019.

An Arab citizen of Israel is far more likely to get killed by a fellow Arab than by the Israeli police, and more Arabs have been killed by Arabs in Israel so far this year than have been killed by Israeli security forces in confrontations in the occupied West Bank… The killings — not by Israeli soldiers but by Arab criminals — account for about 70 percent of all Israeli homicides, though Arabs represent just over 20 percent of the population.—New York Times, October 2, 2021.

The soaring Arab-on-Arab crime rate is becoming a major focus of media attention in Israel—and beyond.

Rampant Arab lawlessness

Indeed, in recent weeks, there is some mention of it on virtually every news broadcast, as well as frequent debates, across the full spectrum of current affairs programs, diagnosing the purported causes and prescribing putative remedies for the violence pervading the Arab sector within the pre-1967 frontiers.

The rampant lawlessness in Arab towns and villages across Israel has been long known –and long ignored, or at least long tolerated, for a variety of reasons. However, its recently accelerated rate of proliferation has created a perception that the wave of criminality could soon spill over into Jewish neighborhoods, particularly in the wake of the May 2021 rioting by Israeli Arabs, in which Jews were assaulted—some, killed—and their homes and businesses vandalized, pillaged and torched.

Life for many Israeli Arabs is becoming increasingly—almost intolerably—perilous. Even innocent bystanders, uninvolved in any criminal dispute, have become hapless “collateral damage”, being hit by stray bullets from  nearby gunfights.

The number of homicides within the Arab community has spiraled in recent years—38 in 2016; 44 in 2017; 35 in 2018; 36 in 2019, about 97 in 2020, and over 100 so far this year. In contrast to this over 250% increase in the Arab sector, the number of homicides among the Jewish population has remained relatively stable—typically under 40 per annum.

Arab-on-Arab crime under-reported?

Nation-wide, Arab-on-Arab homicides make up just over 70 % of the total homicides for the country, despite the fact that Arabs comprise little more than 20 percent of the population.

Indeed, an Arab citizen of Israel is far more likely to get killed by a fellow Arab than by the Israeli police, and more Arabs have been killed by Arabs in Israel so far this year than have been killed by Israeli security forces dealing with terror-related events in Judea-Samaria, which receive much greater attention.

In some areas, the statistics are even more perturbing. For example, in the north, 50 percent of the 1.3 million inhabitants are Israeli Arabs. Yet according to police reports, 99 % of the murders, 99% of the shootings, 65% of the arsons, and 80% of the robberies are perpetrated by members of the Arab population.

As chilling as these statistics are, there is reason to believe that Arab-on-Arab crime is still under-reported. Thus, according to Knesset Member, Mansour Abbas, head of the Islamist United Arab List,–which is currently a member of the ruling coalition in Israel—violence extends far beyond the murders that make headlines in the mainstream media.

“Arab lives matter”?

Abbas claimed: “Homicides are just one parameter in the violence: Attempts to gun down mayors, threats, extortion, blackmail, domestic violence, use of weapons in disputes.”

Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising to learn that a Neaman Institute study on the proliferation of crime in Arab towns found that:
For 80.3% of Arab Israeli citizens, “the most worrying phenomenon…is violence”; and

More than a third of Arab citizens (35.8%) feel personal insecurity in their communities because of violence”—almost 300% more than for Jewish Israelis.

The sense of despair and danger generated an “#Arab Lives Matter” campaign—in an evident attempt to mimic the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement in the US. But of course, there are two crucial differences between the two cases. Firstly, unlike the BLM initiative in the US, Israeli Arab leaders are calling for increased—not decreased—police presence. Secondly, unlike the BLM case, in which the protest was against the use of lethal force against Blacks by non-Black (mainly, but not exclusively, White) police officers, in Israel, the opposite is true. The Arab protest is against the killing of Arabs at the hands of their own ethnic kinfolk, other Arabs, involved either in criminal activities or personal/family disputes.

Making matters more malignant?

The generally accepted diagnosis is that the primal cause for the pervasive violence in Israeli-Arab society is the relatively low socioeconomic conditions that prevail in it. Accordingly, the widely accepted prescription to remedy this malign malady is to throw money at it.

For example, in 2015 the Netanyahu-led government initiated a move to invest heavily in the Arab society in Israel. To this end, it adopted a five-year, multi-billion-dollar plan, the “Economic Development Plan for Arab society in Israel for the years 2016-2020”, designated  Government Resolution 922 (GR 922). It called for increased resource allocation and investment in the Arab sector, with particular emphasis on education, public transport, infrastructure, housing, employment, and public safety. It entailed an investment of almost $3billion in Arab communities. In 2020, it was extended for a sixth year—adding an additional $0.5 billion for 2021.

But, almost paradoxically, the abundance of cash in the coffers of Arab communities seems to have created an increased incentive for intensified criminal activity.

According to one Arab lawyer, Rida Jabr: “Municipality heads were always targeted by criminal organizations. But since 922, as more money has been spent on local authorities, the local authorities have become a larger prize.” Indeed, at least 15 Arab mayors were reportedly targeted by gunfire in 2019. Others had their cars set ablaze, Molotov cocktails thrown at their houses, or had family members threatened.

Thus, it seems that the sudden influx of cash has attracted the attention of organized crime groups, which have attempted to muscle in on contracts for various development projects.

Indeed, the efforts of criminal elements to profit from government funds—whether by winning tenders for new infrastructure or construction projects, or extortion of municipal personnel—should serve as a stern caveat for the current coalition, which has pledged between $15-18 billion to the Ra’am party (United Arab List), its Islamist partner in the present government.

“Police part of Israeli oppression”

While a case can be made for the claim that, for an extended period, the Arab sector has not been high on the list of priorities for the Israeli police, with only three police stations being built in Arab towns from 1948 to 2015, this reflected long-held preferences of the Arab leadership, both on the local and countrywide levels.

Thus, according to one study of policing in Israel: “Arab citizens didn’t want police there because they perceived them as oppressive, and police didn’t feel the need to be there because the community was policing itself.

Despite the fact that the deputy-commissioner of the Israeli Police, Jamal Hakrush, is an Arab Muslim, Arab leaders have discouraged young Israeli Muslims from enlisting in the police—as Christian Arabs and Druze do. In contrast to the ingrained Arab resistance to police presence in Arab towns, Hakrush maintains that “You simply can’t have law enforcement in the Arab sector without police stations.

Perversely, Arab lawmakers who bewail police inaction, oppose setting up police stations in Arab towns. Thus, Aayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, asserted: “More police stations are not necessary…”. Another  Joint List parliamentarian (2015-2021), Yousef Jabareen, declared:We see the police as part of the oppression mechanism in Israel..” However, he also bemoaned that, “the fact that the police [are] not doing [their] responsibility is another tool of oppression…” thus—incongruously—claiming that both police action and police inaction reflect “Israeli oppression”.

“You won’t get out of here alive.”

The work of the police in the Arab sector is further hampered by a history of a lack of co-operation from the Arab population. For example, witnesses refuse to talk to police, avoid calling the police to provide information, and even tamper with evidence—such as surveillance footage—thus impeding investigations.  According to the state comptroller’s report, 44 % of Arab citizens, who were victims of crime, did not even file police reports.

In addition to a lack of cooperation, police officers sometimes encounter violence when responding to calls or attempting arrests in Arab towns. Indeed, this month, police were assaulted by private security guards in Kfar Kassem after responding to a report of a violent incident inside the town hall.  Moreover, an internal police report describes several other instances in which officers routinely found themselves in danger from organized anti-police violence in Arab towns — from angry mobs to gunfire on police stations — including in cases when they were responding to calls for help from local residents.

For example, in responding to a call in the town of Umm al Fahm, police faced a mob shouting “You won’t get out of here alive.” Likewise, in the largely Arab-populated Wadi Ara (Iron Valley) area, an officer was shot responding to a call from a resident, saved only by his bullet-proof vest.

The socio-economic argument: Root cause or red herring?

A recurring grievance from Arab Israelis is that for decades they have faced systemic discrimination in housing, employment, and education since the founding of the state. According to this claim, the lack of opportunities to earn a dignified living has made the Arab community fertile ground for the growth of organized crime.

While it is difficult to deny that there may be some truth in this allegation, it provides, at best, an extremely incomplete picture of reality.

Firstly, there is an apparent overstatement of the level of poverty that prevails in Israel, in general, and in the Arab sector, in particular.  Thus, Nehemia Shtrasler, senior economic editor at the far-Left daily, Haaretz, wrote that World Bank research shows that Israel’s underground economy is one of the largest in the Western world, estimated at 23% of GDP. Citing senior government sources, he pointed out that there is significant underreporting of income in the Arab communities with actual poverty much lower than official figures suggest. Indeed, in 2018, according to the Israel Bureau of Statistics, the household expenditures of an Israeli Arab family are systematically higher than those of a Jewish non-Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) family with the same number of children—due to unreported income.

Secondly, this inevitably means diminished tax revenue for Arab municipalities and a commensurately low level of services and amenities for the Arab residents.

Thirdly, despite accusations that they are subject to prejudice and suspicion from their Jewish counterparts, which diminish their chances for advancement and employment, Israeli Arabs attend Israeli universities and other academic institutions in significant numbers, with a particularly steep rise in the last decade. Likewise, they have a similarly marked presence in certain professions and industries such as medicine, pharmaceutics, and construction. Israeli Arabs hold high-ranking positions in the judiciary—including the Supreme Court, in the diplomatic service, the police, and the army. It should be recalled that all this is despite the fact the 77% of the Arab population oppose the very foundational rationale for the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, frequently express—both in words and in actions—support Israel’s most virulent enemies; and vote ,virtually en bloc, for parties, who deny the Jewish character of Israel.

A poor explanatory variable

Accordingly, the socio-economic predicament of Arab-Israeli society is a poor explanation for the widespread violence that pervades it. After all, the Jewish ultra-Orthodox society is also afflicted with a similarly low socioeconomic conditions. Both occupy the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder in Israel, with official levels of poverty that are almost identical.

However, in both societies, it is their own cultural mores—large families, a single breadwinner—rather than systematic discrimination that accounts for much of the depressed economic levels in both societies.

Yet, among the ultra-Orthodox, one does not encounter anything approaching the intra-communal violence or the amassing of deadly weapons that one finds among Israeli Arabs.

Accordingly, if difficult socioeconomic conditions in the ultra-Orthodox community are not caused by structural bias against it, nor have they produced the same rampant crime, why should this be assumed to be the case among the Arab Israelis?

So, while it is true that the violent crime wave in the Israeli Arab society cannot be ignored and requires greater and more muscular intervention by state authorities, it is a problem that is unlikely to be adequately addressed without some profound soul-searching by Israeli Arabs themselves, and greater identification with the state, in which they live, and with the institutions, whose protection they seek.

In the absence of such change, the current criminal surge could easily morph into inter -ethnic conflict and…civil war.

©Martin Sherman. All rights reserved.

Keeping Kids Off Porn

Protect, prepare and empower.


Children’s exposure to porn is one of the top concerns mentioned by parents on the 130,000-plus member parenting and tech Facebook group I recently joined. With a 10-year-old son begging for more gaming time and a 16-year-old daughter hoping to join Instagram, I needed the feedback and support from other parents on the page, who exchange information daily on navigating screens and encourage one another against the “digital empire” that threatens to consume our children.

A recent discussion topic was the Wall Street Journal’s undercover investigation of TikTok, which revealed the popular app pushes hundreds of sexually explicit ads to teen users as young as age 13, including links to sites depicting hard core porn. While some parents seemed surprised by the news, most acknowledged that porn is readily available on popular apps like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and others.

Unfortunately, many of the parents report that their child was first exposed to porn in elementary school via a phone, laptop, or gaming device. The stories include: children shown porn on a classmate’s phone while riding bus or standing in the car pool line; an 8 year-old looking up information on hamsters who accidently clicked the wrong link; tween boys caught looking at a porn site during class; a 10-year-old who accessed a porn site through Discord; an 11 year-old whose parents believe is already addicted to porn—the examples go on and on.

And it’s not just parents who are dealing with these issues.

In a social media post that went viral in 2020, middle school principal, Chris Cochran shared:

In situations where I have to search a student’s cell phone, I often get sick to my stomach at what I find (highly inappropriate photos, videos, messages, social media usage, etc). The things our students are willing to try and be a part of at such a young age gets worse and worse every year.

None of this surprises clinical social worker, Erica Komisar, who works with children and their parents in New York. “In my practice,” she told me, “I have seen an increase in children on the younger side who are able to access pornography online without adult supervision.”

And what kids are seeing should worry every parent.

“Young people [today] are dealing with the challenges of pornography and a hyper-sexualized culture like no other generation in the history of the world,” Clay Olsen, co-founder of Fight the New Drug, wrote in an email to IFS. “Not only is pornography more prevalent and accessible than any other time in history, but the very nature of the content has also evolved to be more aggressive and extreme.”

So how can we protect our children in an online world where pornography is pushed at them at every turn? And how do we help them grow into young men and women who are able to recognize and reject the dangerous messages porn teaches about sex and relationships?

I asked a few experts for some advice, and what they told me is best summed up in three words: protect, prepare, and empower.

1. Protect—guard their innocence for as long as possible by delaying screens and taking advantage of protective technology

Research shows that the earlier children are exposed to sexually explicit content, the more long-term harm it can do to their understanding of sex, women, and relationships, as well as to their own sexual behaviour. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in 5 children have been seen unwanted sexually explicit content online with some experts putting the age of first exposure for most boys around age 10 and a few years later for girls.

That’s why delaying children’s private access to screens is the top piece of advice I heard from experts.

Australian-based author and parenting expert, Dr. Justin Coulson, likes to use a model developed by Dr. Laura Walker at Brigham Young University that begins with “cocooning.”

“When children are young, they are likely to do best when we cocoon them,” Coulson explained. “In the context of sexually explicit content, this means we keep them away from it completely, and we don’t even explain its existence.”

One of the best ways to cocoon children is to delay the introduction of private screens, especially the smartphone until at least after middle school, as groups like Wait Until 8th advocate. In addition to delaying the smartphone, restricting all screen use—including gaming devices, laptops, and televisions—to public areas of the home is also key to delaying potential exposure to sexually explicit content.

“All screens should be in a public area, not in a child’s room,” according to Dr. Lori Langdon, a paediatrician in North Carolina and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “[Sexual] images witnessed stay in a child’s brain and can’t be deleted. Parents need to know what a child is viewing.”

Moreover, protecting children online requires doing whatever we can to block harmful content. As the middle school principal wisely advised parents in his Facebook post: “get in your kids’ way at all times, because the Internet is by far the most dangerous place our students go every day.”

The good news is that it is easier than ever to get in between our children and harmful online content. We have at our fingertips a wide variety of monitoring, blocking, and filtering tools to help us. This includes: the built-in parental controls available on phones, computers, and gaming devices, as well as programs/apps like DisneyCircle or Canopy, which enable parents to control their child’s devices; filtering software, like NetNannyProtect Young Eyes, or CleanRouter; and monitoring apps, like Bark, which alerts parents to inappropriate content and messages. Because there are so many choices, there are a number of excellent digital training resources available to help overwhelmed parents navigate using these tools.

2. Prepare—educate kids early and often about the dangers of porn

Of course, we can’t cocoon our children forever, especially when many kids are exposed to sexually explicit content on another child’s device. Rather than allowing the porn industry to miseducate our children about sex, the experts I spoke to urged parents to provide age-appropriate information on porn as early as possible.

Dr. Coulson describes this as “pre-arming” our children and explained: “as they mature, this means parents explain to a child at a developmentally appropriate time that, ‘There is something called pornography’ and asks, ‘Have you heard of it?’”

Deciding what is developmentally appropriate should depend on the child’s age, curiosity, and level of screen access, he said, emphasizing that: “Parents have the opportunity to provide clear teaching to their child, instructing them on how they would like to see their child behave if pornographic content appeared in their browser or was shown to them by a peer. This pre-arming ideally occurs prior to exposure but can still be helpful after.”

Clay Olsen agrees, stressing that, “Open, shame, and judgement-free conversations” should be parents’ top strategy. “The more natural the conversations are, the easier they’ll be for you or your child to instigate later on,” he said. “This should be an ongoing, age-appropriate conversation that starts sooner than you think and [continues] on into their adulthood.”

A great resource for this first conversation is the book, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, which introduces a family discussion about pornography in an age-appropriate way, including how to be safe online and what to do when sexually explicit content is encountered, such as “look away and shut down the device,” think about something good and beautiful, and immediately tell a parent. There are also a number of free online safety education resources for children and parents to watch together.

Older kids especially need to understand why porn is so harmful.

Dr. Komisar notes that porn “impacts kids in terms of their perception of sexual relationships for the future,” and children “also may have difficulty handling the aggressive and perverse nature of pornography. This can easily overwhelm them emotionally.”

One of the greatest harms is what pornography teaches about sex and relationships. As a Harvard report explained, pornography is: ‘steeped in misogyny and reinforces all sorts of pernicious ideas about sex—that women want what men think they want, that seeking to dominate is a sign of strength rather than fragility, and that women enjoy domination and degradation, and that real intimacy is unerotic.’

Porn use during adolescence has been linked to more sexually aggressive behaviour in boys and the sexual victimization of girls, as well as more sexual risk taking and sexting. And recent articles describe how widespread porn is harming girls in particular, who report that they are expected to act like porn stars and whose bodies are damaged from being pressured to engage in degrading and harmful sexual acts popularized in pornographic content online. Another, more recent, long-term harm is the outright rejection of sex by young people who have grown up with porn as their main sex educator.

Then there is the potential for addiction.

“Adolescents are more susceptible to the stimulation of sexual content because their ventral striatum, or the reward centre of the brain, is more active from ages 9 to 25, and the prefrontal cortex, or the emotional regulation part of the brain, lags behind in development,” explained Dr. Komisar. “There are few checks and balances on the pleasure centres of the brain during these years, which means they are more vulnerable to addictions of all kinds.”

3. Empower children and teens to reject porn when they encounter it

Preventing our children from becoming the porn industry’s next addicts also involves equipping them to reject porn when they encounter it, which starts with pointing them to something better, and then helping them to make wise decisions alone.

Even as we warn them away from harmful content, we should introduce children to the beauty and purpose of healthy sexuality, relationships, and marriage early and often, so they can identify the fraudulent messages of pornography.

“Teach them the good before you warn them against the bad,” Olsen said. “They need to know that sex with the right person at the right time can be beautiful and is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Through our families, faith communities, and schools, we can infuse our children’s minds with beautiful and rich depictions of friendship, love, marriage, and family life from Scripture, good books, movies, music, art, and even social media. Teaching our kids to dwell on the edifying and beautiful things in this world—and how to seek out that content wherever they look—can help them reject harmful content.

Additionally, children and teens should have a rich life outside of the Internet. Along these lines, principal Chris Cochran advised parents to “create opportunities for them to have experiences” so they can see, do, and learn new things. “This not only strengthens their brain development, emotional development and builds resiliency in kids,” he wrote, “but it also strengthens your relationship with them.”

Ultimately, we want to raise our children to become wise and responsible young men and women who recognize the harms of pornography and have the power to reject it. To that end, Dr. Coulson advises parents to use an “autonomy-supportive approach that empowers a child to work through responses to challenging circumstances in a safe, conversational environment before encountering it alone.”

This means we: “defer to the child in a reasoned way, saying something like, ’We’ve talked about explicit content before. You know what pornography is. And by now you’re at an age where your peers are engaging with it. How do you feel about it? What do you see as the best way to deal with explicit content in your environment?’”

When he spoke with me a few years ago about his book, The Tech-Wise Family, Andy Crouch made a similar point, underscoring the power of close, healthy family relationships and accountability. Our goal as parents, he said, should be to: “create an environment where the default is, we’re connected to each other, we know what’s going on in each other’s lives and on each other’s phones. So, we have kind of the relationships that support us when we encounter things that we shouldn’t, that kind of help bring us back to health and sanity.”

Preserving our children’s innocence in a world where violent and degrading sexual content is promoted to them at younger and younger ages can feel like an insurmountable problem. But as Clay Olsen assured me, every step we take as parents to protect, prepare, and empower our children can benefit them over the long term.

“Parents are the tip of the spear,” Olsen said. “Take courage in knowing that even small efforts can have significant influence on your child. I love this quote by Edward Everett Hale, ‘I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.’”

Republished with permission from the Institute for Family Studies blog. 

COLUMN BY

Alysse ElHage

Alysse ElHage is Editor of the IFS Blog, Family Studies, and a freelance writer. Prior to joining the Institute for Family Studies, she served as associate director of research at the North Carolina Family… More by Alysse ElHage

RELATED ARTICLE: Should French priests break the seal of confession to disclose sexual abuse?

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Panorama: Hawaii DoE Paying Zuckerberg Company to Collect Data on Students

The Hawaii Department of Education is funneling student data to a company financed by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.

Under a $478K annual contract with Hawaii Department of Education, Panorama Education, is building a permanent database of socio-political opinions, attendance, academic performance, and disciplinary infractions committed by Hawaii K-12 students.  Panorama’s ‘ Social Emotional Learning Survey’ is a veritable roadmap to manipulate their minds via social media.

Panorama’s CEO states the firm contracts with school districts nationwide comprising about 25% of US K-12 students.

According to Hawaii DoE, the Panorama survey is completed during Grade 3-12 homerooms and imported onto Panorama’s servers. For younger K-2 students, teachers are surveyed about their impressions of each student so your child will have a data profile in Silicon Valley even before he knows how to log on.

Nobody at DoE is mentioning Zuckerberg’s funding of the scheme.  His involvement is of course empirical proof that the data is being misused. And, yes, the DoE is actually paying Panorama to take the data.

Juvenile criminal transcripts are automatically sealed on the perpetrator’s 18th birthday — but what Hawaii DoE refers to as ‘Panorama’s National Dataset’ will continue into adulthood where it could be used to identify political supporters for a future Donald Trump-style campaign, just as Facebook data was used to help Trump in 2016.

Fairfax County Virginia schools, one of the largest districts served by Panorama, explains Panorama measures “how children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

A Hawaii DoE handout titled: “ Social Emotional Learning Survey: Fall 2020” cites Panorama program goals including, “Leverage social and emotional data to deepen the focus on key outcomes….”

Sold to school districts as a convenient way to collate student input, Panorama’s on-line survey system was well-positioned to see  expanded use during COVID-mandated ‘distance learning’ semesters. 

The data from a  June, 2020 Panorama survey was then used to bolster arguments against continuing distance learning, much to the chagrin of HSTA leadership.

Panorama CEO Aaron Feuer, quoted on  TechCrunch, September 2, 2021, explains: “Since March 2020, Panorama has added 700 school districts to its customer base, nearly doubling the 800 it served just 18 months prior.”  Feuer told Tech Crunch Panorama now serves 13 million students in 23,000 schools across the United States–25% of American students.

The  Washington Examiner reports. Alexander “Xan” Tanner,  co-founder  and president of Panorama Education, is married to the daughter of Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, “Those who would give up Privacy, to purchase a little temporary Convenience, deserve neither Privacy nor Convenience.”

Zuckerberg’s financial backing begins with Panorama’s ‘Round A’ in 2013 which garnered $4M from investors including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  Zuckerberg was back in  2017 for ‘Round B’  which deposited $16M into Panorama’s coffers.  Buoyed by its COVID success, Panorama came back for  ‘Round C’ raising $60M from yet another Zuckerberg-led consortium in September, 2021.

Linking Panorama to Google, Apple, and beyond, other investors include:  Owl Ventures Emerson Collective (Steve Jobs widow),  Uncork Capital Spark Capital , and  Tao Capital Partners.

TechCrunch reports: “Notably, Panorama had not raised capital in a couple of years simply because, according to Feuer, it did not need the money.”

That’s what happens when school districts pay Big Data to take big data.

COLUMN BY

Andrew Walden

RELATED ARTICLES:

Panorama: HIDOE Summary

Panorama student survey FAQs

About the Panorama Student Survey

HSTA: Social Emotional Learning Survey: Fall 2020

WE:  Critics question Garland’s school board crackdown after son-in-law revealed as social justice education kingpin

RCP:  AG Garland Has a Conflict of Interest in Debate Over Schools

Parents Defending Ed:  Fairfax County signs five-year contract to pay $1.8 million in COVID emergency funds to a Boston-based consultant to administer intrusive “social and emotional” screening

FOX:  Virginia county directing $20M of COVID relief toward ‘equity,’ ‘social and emotional’ programs

Tulsi Gabbard: The Attorney General is weaponizing federal agencies to intimidate Americans into compliance

EDITORS NOTE: This Hawaii Free Press column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Why Has #EmptyShelvesJoe Gone Viral on Twitter?

“It’s the economy stupid!” – Bill Clinton


The Twitter tag #EmptyShelvesJoe has gone viral. Can anyone guess why?

We are now seeing the real impact of the Biden “Bring Back Better Agenda”, and it’s ain’t pretty.

The “Build Back Better” Agenda is Making Things Worse, Not Better

According to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), “The Build Back Better is 3 Baskets: ‘It’s Climate, Health, Jobs, Security, and Moral Responsibility.” Wait, isn’t that 5 baskets? LOL!

Is what Pelosi says true or just another set of big lies? Let’s take a look.

If you have any doubt about Biden and his administration you can now feel its impact on your collective wallets. Since Biden’s inauguration the American economy has gone down hill.

To understand why the U.S. economy is tanking let’s look at the Biden policies that is causing this catastrophe:

  1. Biden’s anti-fossil fuels and pro-Green agenda (a.k.a. Green New Deal). Hight gas prices are an instant tax on each and every American who drives a car or used electricity. It also increases the cost of every product and service provided in the U.S.A. This is because the increased cost of energy are passed along to every consumer by every company, from Amazon, to your local super market to every retailer and service provider in you city, county and state.
  2. Biden’s vaccine mandates are killing jobs by the thousands. The new mantra of Building Back Better is if you work for a company with 100 or more employees the mandate is: Get vaxxed or lose your job. When people lose their jobs the economy takes a major hit. Vaxx Mandates divide the nation. Watch this video of Governor Ron DeSantis to Biden on Vaxx Mandates: “YOU Are The One That’s Being Divisive About This!”
  3. Stagflation. In a NewsMax column Peter Navarro writes, “If it was just inflation affecting the United States, that would be “manageable,” but instead a “stagflation” problem like the one that hit the nation in the 1970s is occurring under President Joe Biden, former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Newsmax on Saturday. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is “printing money,” Navarro told “The Count.” “That’s driving us to what we call demand-pull inflation. But then at the same time, we have the pandemic, coupled with the effects of the Biden administration cracking down on fossil fuels, giving us what’s called cost-push inflation.” Read the full article by clicking here.
  4. More Government Regulation. Bloomberg Law in a June 11, 2021 article titled “Biden Regulatory Playbook Revives More Active Government” warned, “The list, typically issued twice per year, marks a stark departure from the Trump administration’s focus on reducing the size, cost and scope of federal regulations. With Congress narrowly divided, it offers a window into how Biden wants to leverage the federal agencies he oversees to advance his ambitious agenda through regulation. The last four years offered a clear lesson on what happens when the executive branch fails to uphold its responsibility to protect the American people,” said Sharon Block, acting administrator of the White House regulations office, in a statement. “Our first regulatory agenda demonstrates our commitment to reversing this trend.” More government regulation always leads to more costs for businesses and individuals. More costs more harm done to the U.S. economy. Regulations make American products and services uncompetitive.
  5. More taxes and spending. Biden has said that his agenda and the $3.5 trillion dollar spending bill being considered by Congress will not cost a single cent. More government spending always leads to two things: more taxes and increasing the U.S. debt ceiling. Both are happening now as I write this column. Both harm the U.S. economy and burden each American citizen and future generations.
  6. The U.S. Supply Chain is Severely Damaged, if not totally Broken. America depends of the free movement of goods and services across the country. Wither by ship, train, truck or automobile America’s life blood supply chain cannot be interrupted or there are serious economic consequences. The Business Insider’s wrote, “President Joe Biden wants to clear traffic jams at US ports and save the holiday shopping season, but experts say his current plan won’t completely solve the problem…Former US trade negotiator Harry Broadman told Insider the administration’s plan addresses the more “glamorous” aspect of the supply chain — hulking cargo ships stuck at sea — while failing to look at the issue “holistically.” Backlogs at US railroads and warehouses are also contributing to the delays. Shortages of warehouse workers, truck drivers, shipping containers, and chassis are also major issues that the White House failed to address. Read the full article here. With Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, on a 2 month long maternity leave with his homosexual partner, what could possibly go wrong with the supply chain?

Conclusion

As we approach the major holiday season with Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and Christmas many wonder if the shelves will be bare. Will the New Year’s Eve parties be barren of food and drink? Will we have fireworks to ring in 2022? Will we have jobs? Will we become poorer? Will there be greater uncertainty?

We are beginning to see civil disobedience to the Biden agenda across the U.S. and even across the world. Bill Clinton’s statement that, “It’s the economy stupid” has yet to get thru the thick skulls of Biden, his handlers and Democrats in Congress. It seems they are hell bent on destroying the economy, a stupid idea in every way.

As we approach the 2022 mid-term elections we wonder what shape the American economy will be by then. People who work vote their wallets. However, it appears that Biden is building a larger and larger group of those who vote for a living rather than work for a living.

Doom and gloom, and it isn’t even Halloween yet.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

RELATED TWEET:

Cities Lead the Way in (Another) Massive Fall Exodus from US Public Schools

Many parents pulled their children out of school last year for homeschooling and other private options, as schools remained shuttered due to the coronavirus response. Nationwide, homeschooling numbers tripled last year from their pre-pandemic levels, driven largely by black families who left district schools for homeschooling at the highest rate of any demographic group and are now over-represented in the homeschooling population compared to K-12 public schools. With most schools open for full-time, in-person learning this year, it seemed reasonable to assume that parents would eagerly re-enroll their children in their local district school, tabling last year’s alternative education plans.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, some school districts, such as Los Angeles, have seen a larger public school enrollment drop this fall compared to last fall. L.A. public school enrollment declined by 4.76 percent in the 2020/2021 academic year, while new data show that enrollment is down another 27,000 students this fall compared to last year, or a drop of nearly 6 percent.

The enrollment decline for L.A. public schools was captured as of September 17, which was the fifth Friday of the new school year, or the day the district annually counts student enrollment. This was just after the Los Angeles school board mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all eligible public school students, and before California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all students in the state would be required to be injected with the new vaccine.

As I wrote last month, these COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children and adolescents will likely lead to more parents fleeing public schools for private learning models, particularly as new data emerges about the link between the COVID-19 vaccine and higher rates of myocarditis in teenage boys and young men.

“Boys between 16 and 19 years of age had the highest incidence of myocarditis after the second dose,” The New York Times reported last week, so it’s understandable that many parents may be reluctant to have their children get the COVID shot. “The risk of heart problems in boys of that age was about nine times higher than in unvaccinated boys of the same age,” added the Times.

With 20-30% of Los Angeles teachers and staff currently not on track to meet the district’s October 15 vaccination deadline, fewer students may alleviate some of the pending staffing shortages resulting from those who are terminated for not getting vaccinated. The district is already contending with 2,000 unfilled positions and a dearth of applicants.

L.A. isn’t the only large school district seeing dwindling numbers of students. New Chicago data reveal that district enrollment is down by 10,000 students this year, on top of the 14,500 students the school system lost last year.

According to Chicago NPR: “The reasons for the declines are many, experts say, including demographic changes in the city as well as the pandemic and the upheaval it caused, which may have motivated some parents to pull their children from the school district.”

More Chicago parents are continuing to homeschool their children, and local Catholic schools and other private schools are experiencing enrollment boosts, NPR reported.

Last year, public school enrollment dropped an average of 3 percent nationwide, as parents turned to homeschooling and private schools, or delayed kindergarten entry. Most districts were given an enrollment reprieve, freezing school funding at 2019/2020 spending levels in the wake of the pandemic response. But this year, headcount matters. In Detroit, “count day” occurred last Wednesday and will determine how many students are currently attending the city’s public schools and how much funding they will get. District officials resorted to bribery, offering Detroit Pistons basketball tickets to students to make sure they were in attendance so as to secure higher funding levels.

Last year, Detroit district enrollment fell 3 percent, while statewide public school enrollment declined more than 4 percent. According to a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper, which analyzed 2020 student enrollment trends in Michigan, the majority of families who left public schools last year chose homeschooling while most of the remaining families selected private schools. The researchers also found that low-income households and families of color were more likely to flee district schooling.

“At a high level, our main results are in line with a growing set of reports that the pandemic caused an unprecedented shift away from the public education sector, particularly for Black, low-income and kindergarten students,” researchers concluded.

In Seattle, the 1,300 fewer students enrolled in the district this fall will likely cost the public schools approximately $28 million in state funding. Smaller school districts are also experiencing enrollment declines along with a corresponding dip in funding. In West Virginia, Marion County student enrollment is down 230 students this year and the district is set to lose $1 million in school funding as a result. Many students in the district shifted to homeschooling, which has grown to 730 students from about 500 students in a typical year.

The NBER researchers suggest that the pandemic-induced shift away from public schooling is likely to be long-lasting and will have enduring effects on funding.

“These enrollment changes also have clear longer-term fiscal implications for the public school sector and educational consequences for students. To the extent that a large percentage of students remain enrolled in alternative sectors, public school systems will face unprecedented drops in funding,” the researchers conclude.

This is an ideal time for state legislatures to implement school choice policies, such as education savings accounts, vouchers, and tax-credit scholarship programs, to enable education dollars to follow students instead of funding bureaucratic school systems. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of US taxpayers now support education choice policies, and it has been a banner year for school choice, with many states introducing or strengthening choice policies.

These policies make it easier for parents to access the best education option for their children, extending learning choices beyond a district school assignment.

Some commentators look upon the current public schooling exodus with dread and criticize the ongoing privatization of education. This sense of doom is misguided. We don’t have government-run grocery stores assigned to families by their zip code, and food is even more important than education from a survival standpoint.

What we do have is a wide assortment of private grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other private, commercial spaces from which consumers choose to buy food. For families in need, taxpayers fund food stamps and similar food-assistance programs that enable consumers to use taxpayer dollars in the form of vouchers to purchase food at the private market of their choice. This is a widely accepted model as it relates to food, but is somehow excoriated when applied to education.

The current momentum away from government-run schools and toward private education options should be welcomed and embraced. Weakening the government’s monopoly position on education and enabling a flourishing free market of learning opportunities will expand choices for families in much the same way as it does in all other areas of our lives. We don’t have government-run car dealerships, or hair salons, or shoe stores, and yet we are able to buy a car, get our hair cut, and purchase shoes that meet our preferences thanks to a vibrant free market.

As FEE’s founder Leonard Read wrote in his 1964 essay, a truly free market in education would unleash creativity, possibility, and efficiency, just as it has in all other sectors. According to Read: “Creative thought on education would manifest itself in millions of individuals. Such genius as we potentially and compositely pos­sess would assert itself and take the place of deadening restraints. Any person who understands the free market knows, without any qualification whatsoever, that there would be more education and bet­ter education. And a person with a faith in free men is confident that the costs per unit of learning accomplished would be far less.”

Far from being worrying, the current exodus from public schools is a positive educational change that is good for families, students, and taxpayers alike. As the government’s grip on education loosens, entrepreneurs are stepping in to create new learning models and schooling alternatives that provide the personalization, flexibility, and variety that we expect in all other parts of our lives. Prompted by the pandemic response that exposed the glaring inadequacies of government schooling, more parents now demand more education choices. Buoyed by an expanding free market in education, these parents and their children will enjoy an abundance of educational solutions in the years to come.

COLUMN BY

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor. Kerry has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Transgenderism Is The Tip Of The Spear!

Never underestimate how far the Left will go to protect their phony narratives.


In May, a boy said to be wearing a skirt went into a girls’ bathroom at a high school in Virginia and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl inside.  The boy was charged with forcible sodomy and arrested again later for a second sexual assault at a different school.  It’s being reported the local school board covered up the first incident because it was trying to pass a transgender bathroom policy at the time.

The girl’s father showed up at a school board meeting in June to talk about the incident.  A liberal activist told him the assault never really happened.  This is called ‘gaslighting’, something the Left does all the time.  The school board behaved no better, calling his story a ‘red herring;’ looking away, reading magazines, and scolding parents for clapping and booing.    The father said he was told to keep quiet and was misled about how the boy was being monitored by law enforcement.   The father was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.  Other parents complained they were not allowed to speak.  The school board shut down the meeting and cleared the room.

I wish that were the end of it, but the father’s story ended up in the letter the National School Boards Association sent to the White House two weeks ago [at ftn. 13] which resulted in the Attorney General siccing the FBI on ordinary parents as ‘domestic terrorists’ for objecting to school board policies.

Much of the apparatus of the Left and the state is now arrayed against parents who object to the transgender narrative.    If things stay on their present course, here’s what you can expect:  Courts will throw out the First Amendment and require you to use transgender preferred pronouns.  In other words, courts will control your thoughts and compel speech.  This just happened in Canada where a tribunal ruled the government can punish people with huge fines if they don’t use preferred pronouns.  A federal appeals court in the U.S. recently decided the other way, but you can bet the issue will be back.  The Left never quits.

Here’s what else you can expect:  more cover-ups of more rape cases so the transgender agenda can proceed unimpeded.  It reminds me of England, where the police and complicit politicians routinely cover up rapes because the perpetrators are Muslim, giving women nowhere to turn for justice.

In the U.S., the transgender narrative is being protected, but to what end? California just passed a new law allowing children to get sex changes without telling their parents, so the transgender agenda is being used as a weapon to cut parents out of the picture and tear down the family. Then there’s the whole move to erase biological sex designations from official records, like driver’s licenses and even birth certificates. It’s to the point where even medical schools apologize for differentiating between male and female patients.

But the insanity doesn’t stop there.

According to transgender doctrine, men can get pregnant and need abortions. The point of all this insanity is to tear society down to ‘build it back better’ with totally new concepts that just so happen to serve a tiny subversive elite that seeks to control our thoughts and rule over us. This is a communist technique. In Russia, it was called ‘the New Soviet Man.’ It comes straight out of Marx who preached the utter destruction of absolutely everything with a constant barrage of new ideas that contradict previous ideas, including our founding principles. The process is called dialectical negation and it is the Left’s weapon of choice to destroy America as we know it. They will keep sending guided missiles like transgenderism into society until there’s nothing left and they can take over because people are confused and don’t know what they stand for, any longer.

That makes transgenderism a giant con job.  The issue is never the issue.  The issue is always wealth and power for a tiny elite.    Women, you’ve especially been conned by transgenderism.  You’re getting a rotten deal under the new orthodoxy.  Your sports have been destroyed, your battered women’s shelters are no longer safe, and you can’t get justice if you’re raped by a transgender biological male.  The authorities will cover it up, just like in Virginia.  The patriarchy strikes again.

And we’re ALL being conned by transgenderism into believing male is female, up is down, and nothing that has been built in society up to this point is worth preserving.  But it is possible to fight back and win, and that’s exactly what I encourage you to do, at school boards and everywhere else the Left is trying to control our thoughts and destroy life as we know it.

Visit The Daily Skirmish

A member of the same group I belong to, Jeff, also added the following:-

We also have to stop letting The Radical Left define this issue on their terms. The trans movement can be broken down like this:
Gender reassignment surgery – Or as they are even more sinisterly (is that even a word?) referring to it “Gender Affirmation Therapy” should never be referred to it as anything else by our side except for “Child Mutilation.” Bonus question – A creep who tries to touch a child’s genitalia, he goes to jail. But now drugging and mutilating them while threatening kidnapping if parents don’t consent is the new Civil Rights movement?

Transgender bathroom laws – Part of The Radical left’s ongoing War on Women (use thier own words agaisnt them), forcing teenage girls to have to get undressed in front of boys.

And if you don’t mind being crude (language warning), when you find that the conversation going into Leftist fever pitch territory where intelligent conversation is no longer possible, just say, “Look. I support every young woman’s Right to Choose the first situation in her life where a hairy, sweaty d*ck is dangled in front of her face. You’re entitled to your ant-choice position”
As I’ve finally learned over the years, try to engage Lefties, but as their tone gets nastier and more personal don’t feel the need to continue to be polite.

As Patrick Swayze said so well in Road House, “Be nice. Until it is no longer time to be nice.” Yeah, we’re probably well past that time!

©Fred Brownbill. All rights reserved.

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