FLORIDA: County Citizens Defending Freedom Leads Charge to Change Policy on Sexually Explicit Books in School Media Centers

Please read the EPOCH TIMES  article below, We now have forty Winter Haven 912 members who have submitted police complaints against the Polk County School Board as part of the County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) initiative to eliminate sexually explicit books in Polk County school media centers.

Among the four paths Polk County Sheriff Judd suggested in his letter to us the first one was:

“Request the School Board revote on the recommendations I proposed, and Superintendent Heid agreed. This would put in place an opt-in and opt-out policy mandating that parents are the only ones who can authorize their children access to the instant books which contain shocking, inappropriate language anytime the child is under the legal adult age of 19.”

Since the Polk County School Board refused to vote on the policy to be put into place choosing to shirk their responsibility and delegate the decision to Superintendent Heid, we don’t understand why Heid later changed the policy to opt-out based under pressure from four of the same school board members who refused to vote in first place, e.g. Kay Fields, Sarah Fortney, Sara Beth Wyatt and Lisa Miller.

This is just WRONG and he should be urged by Sheriff Judd to reconsider which is what CCDF is doing in their appeal mentioned below.


Florida Citizen Group Leading Charge Against Sexually Explicit Library Books in Schools

Parents file more than 100 police complaints

By Darlene McCormick Sanchez • September 8, 2022

A Florida group isn’t giving up on their fight to stop the Polk County Public Schools from allowing students access to sexually explicit books in school libraries.

County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) filed an appeal with the Polk County School Board on Sept. 6 over “pornographic” titles available to middle and high school children that include graphic descriptions of gay sex and child rape.

“Putting these quarantined books back on the shelves with unfettered access to minors is a blatant violation of Florida statutes and does not put students first,” the group’s complaint said.

In January, the group approached Sheriff Grady Judd—known nationally as a tough, no-nonsense lawman—concerning the books. That same month Superintendent Frederick Heid ordered the books pulled off the shelves for review.

Read more. 

©Royal A. Brown III. All rights reserved.

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Reproductive Health Care—What It REALLY Means

The US Supreme Court recently overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, thus sending the control over a woman’s “right” to an abortion back to the various states to decide. As was expected, that decision  brought a huge uproar and started multiple protests from the pro-abortion crowd. Now, amidst all the uproar resulting from that ruling, we are hearing from groups who are demanding that all women be given ‘reproductive health care’ as a ‘right’, usually paid for using public funding.

What does that mean, exactly? Which crowd is now which and what exactly are they ‘demanding’?

Let’s start by examining their words, individually.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

  • Reproductive means, “of, relating to or capable of reproduction”
  • Reproduction (from Dictionary.com), means “the natural process among organisms by which new individuals are generated and the species is perpetuated” (emphasis mine)
  • Health means, “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit”
  • Care means, “painstaking or watchful attention”
  • Healthcare means, efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals

If we take these words literally as defined in Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, it seems the protestors demand is for “efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being by trained and licensed professionals through painstaking or watchful attention over the physical human components that relate to the capability of reproduction, resulting in the perpetuation of the species  and a condition of being sound in body, mind or spirit”. 

Sound about right?

The very process of ‘human reproduction’ indicates there is a being who is a ‘reproducer’, a biological woman who, after uniting with a biological man, is able to bring forth a being that results from the act of reproduction (perpetuation of the species). This would be an infant who has grown inside the womb of the biological woman for approximately 270 days.  So, by its very definition, Reproductive Health Care is the process whereby two biological beings, a man and a woman, actually ‘reproduce’ a living being in their likeness, thus ensuring the species is perpetuated.

Based on these definitions, these ‘conscientious people’ are now demanding that the utmost care be provided ensuring that the reproductive process is successful, and the human race can be obedient to the commandment of God, given to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth”.

Wow. These ‘demanders’ are actually saying they want people to be treated for any physical conditions that are detrimental to overall good physical and mental health and ensure that more and more healthy infants are born into our world, a direct result of women receiving the healthcare they’re demanding.

Did I miss anything?  No? Wow! I am now truly impressed that there are so many groups that care so much about the American people, about women, unborn and newborn infants and their health. Who knew there were so many beautiful people who truly DO care?

Whoa, hold on. I have just been informed that the latest protests demanding ‘Reproductive Health Care” are being promoted by the same people demanding abortion on demand. Are they changing their thinking regarding abortion on demand, or are they really interested in making sure all American women are assured they get proper reproductive health care, so that they can carry their unborn children to term and introduce a new human being into the world? If that’s the case, I am now 100% in agreement with their demands. But they should not even need to make such demands since the world’s most expensive health care system, the Affordable Care Act, ushered in by the Obama/Biden administration and signed into law in 2010, has long been touted as the best possible solution to every healthcare issue in the US.

So then, why are these demands being issued and why is the media even talking about it? Could it possibly be that we have misunderstood the demands being made for “Reproductive Healthcare”? Or is it possible they’re demanding something other than “Reproductive Health Care”?

After doing some research, to my horror, I discovered that the ‘concerned citizens’ making these loud demands for “Reproductive Health Care” are the same people who have been demanding unlimited abortion access, but using different words now and trying to deceive people into believing that allowing abortions on demand is equivalent to “Reproductive Health Care”. Perhaps they should research their own words and realize that the definition of reproductive healthcare INCLUDES the health of the child being reproduced as well as the woman who carries that child. There is nothing in the definitions given earlier that mention one, or more, of the participants in the reproductive process ending up dead. Perhaps they just forgot about the child?

Now I must backtrack and try to determine  if, or where, I missed it. Here goes:

  • OK, go back and read the demands of those who loudly protest ‘for’ their Reproductive Health Care: check!
  • Once more, determine the Dictionary definition of “Reproductive Health Care : check!
  • Re-read those definitions once more just to make sure I did not screw up: check!

My goodness, am I now confused by their demands. It appears those loud voices actually ARE twisting their words to make it sound as though they’re concerned about Reproductive Health Care when they simply want the world to not only approve their demands for abortion on demand,  but get the public to pay all associated costs of the procedures through the Affordable Care Act (think our taxes).

If my last take on their words is correct, I am beginning to see the real purpose of these loud demands and it has more to do with ‘money’ (think VERY large amounts of money) than any presumed concerns for the women and children.

The poor misguided pregnant woman who truly believes she would be better off killing her own unborn child is told by those ‘experts’ who so adamantly want good ‘Reproductive Health Care’, that her mental health will be impaired by bringing an ‘unwanted’ child into the world, and she buys it based on…what? That lone statement? Does she seriously believe the ‘experts’ truly care about her mental health? Or is she just relieved that she will not have to assume any responsibility for what amounts to her lack of self-control when it comes to having unprotected sex? Is it possible that the average pregnant, unmarried woman who desires to end her pregnancy is that shallow or easily deceived? Or could it be that she has never given  any consideration to what happens to an aborted fetus, or an aborted near-full-term infant?

I stated that abortion, from the perspective of those who perform them and those who receive the baby parts after the procedures are complete, seems to be more about money than protecting the health of the mother and child. The status of the ‘remains of the aborted fetuses’ were not commonly known in years past but now with the uproar over abortion, reports of the status of these murdered beings are quite well-known, and the knowledge is horrifying.

There are now many reported, and confirmed, incidents of what the ‘abortion mills’ do with the bodies of these aborted human beings and there is not one that paints a pleasant picture. If the bodies are whole when removed from the uterus, which is occurring more frequently, they will not be for very long and will be dissected (think butchered) in horrific ways depending on what the “Baby Parts Procurement” system needs at any given time. And for those who think Planned Parenthood and the other baby butcher shops agree to donate these parts, think again. Huge price tags are assigned to them, depending on how valuable they are to those who purchase them.

Is it possible that the pregnant women who, for whatever reason seems to make sense to them, are unaware of what the aborted child experiences during the butchering process? Or are these persons so sociopathic that they really don’t care? Are they just as happy to enter the abortion clinic, allow the child to be ripped from their bodies and then spend a few days of recuperation so that they can repeat their previous “wash, rinse, repeat” behavior that led to an ‘unwanted pregnancy’? Could it be that they’re just happy to have a “right” to use the ‘abortion on demand’ process, paid for by someone else, to facilitate their sociopathic lifestyle? Are they unaware that their so-called ‘rights’ are truly evil in nature?

Reproductive Healthcare and Demanded Rights – Conclusion

Abortionist advocates, pregnant women claiming their evil desires as ‘rights’  want the ‘freedom’ to use sexual intercourse as a means of their personal entertainment instead of what God intended it to be. Sadly, it now appears there are a large number of people, both those desiring to end the life of their unborn infants, and those who, while not married or even pregnant, still shout about their ‘reproductive rights’ to the world, who would put aside any concern about the future of humanity, that future that God has planned for their babies, in exchange for their ability to engage in unprotected sex, from which the physical pleasure derived is very short-lived.

The abortion clinics, mostly funded by public taxes, are most certainly promoting abortions due to the huge amounts of money they realize when the butchered baby parts are bought from them. The main problem with the whole process is that the ‘rights’ they demand by allowing and legalizing the murder of unborn children would remove ALL rights that the Constitution affords to ALL citizens, namely those unborn human beings who have no means, certainly no voice, to protest the decisions made for them by others.

When God instituted marriage, between one man and one woman, the main purpose of human sexual intercourse, the ‘eros’ kind of love within the bounds of marriage, was ordained by Him to ‘reproduce’ and re-create the human race. No matter how many ‘genders’ the insane of the world claim exists, the fact is that, without the physical union of a biological man and a biological woman, the human race would die out within a hundred years.

It is truly bad enough that so many regard that brief sexual encounter as more important than the human life that would have resulted had it not been for that soul-less decision to murder their own child in the womb. Even worse is having a government that actively promotes the barbaric process and demands that we all pay for it. Perhaps the most despicable of all are those who are supposed to be the elected representatives of ALL the people, but who jump onto the abortion-on-demand protest wagon and try to convince the public they’re simply “concerned about the ‘rights of the people’” when, in most cases, they are simply trying to drum up votes for themselves and their parties. I would bet that most of these lowlife politicians are strong supporters of the groups who buy and sell the aborted baby parts.

A nation that approves, supports and promotes this behavior is extremely short-sighted and has very little, possibly NO future.

For those who have this short-sighted view, they may enjoy their perverse ‘rights’, and/or their filthy money, for a brief time, but there is STILL a God who will demand an explanation from each one as to why they chose so poorly.

May God help us as we try to counter this abominable and perverse behavior and may He have mercy on the souls of those who made, and are STILL making, the wrong decisions.

Blessings and Maranatha!

budaroo@twc.com

©Bud Hancock. All rights reserved.

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The Real Gatekeepers Of The Internet

I was literally talking to an empty room.

After high school (2013), I set to the internet because I thought that the mainstream press, schools, and colleges would never let me get my ideas out. I started a WordPress blog. I would share my content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Experience Project. I thought I would bypass the gatekeepers of information and have the last laugh. In 2014, I joined Brian Johnson’s Entheos. Experience Project and Entheos shut down down the line. In 2016, I started posting on Instagram. In 2017, I joined LinkedIn. In 2019, I joined Medium. In 2020, I started this blog. And nothing came out of any of it. No one even knows I did all this. I got little to no views across all the platforms. I was literally talking to an empty room. Now, I have finally understood why.

The Internet is not free of gatekeepers. The gatekeepers are people who write the algorithms.

The algorithms do not look for quality but for engagement. You see a post not because it is good but because it has already been liked by others. This system soon turns into a popularity contest. Since average minds like average ideas, most of what you see trending on social media has to be average. This is why Marianne Williamson has 554K followers on Instagram while Taylor Swift has 210M. In comparison to M. Williamson, T. Swift posts nothing valuable. If you are above average, social media is bound to make you sick. Since quality content is liked by quality people only, who are less in number, you are unlikely to see posts from top scientists, poets, authors, and philosophers. Their content would never rise to the top. This system is very similar to democracy. The popular choice is seldom the wisest one.

Today, I have already deleted most of my social media accounts. I still have Instagram and LinkedIn but no longer post anything. I have accepted the reality that social media will never work for me. I am not what social media algorithms are looking for. I can’t post vain comments on other people’s stupid posts. I can’t like my own posts, nor can I aggressively like other people’s comments on my posts. I can’t make small talks in dm. I don’t care to search for hastags. I am not autistic. It is very similar to accepting that I would not succeed in college as a non-liberal.

Every system is designed to produce what it does, via the means of its algorithm. The algorithm at Harvard selects and promotes talent. TED’s algorithm promotes people who have great ideas. Social media algorithms promote vain, empty, and stupid people, which is why Kim Kardashian is more famous on social media than Jordan Peterson. Social media is not designed to promote thinkers and philosophers.

In other words, if your content is getting a lot of organic exposure on social media, it might just be mediocre. On LinkedIn, I almost never see good content, because good content does not get enough engagement from average minds. Being on LinkedIn is a very draining and exhausting experience because 9/10 posts are mediocre or stupid. I feel as if the number of followers a person has on LinkedIn is inversely proportional to his intelligence. I would personally never hire a writer/proofreader/editor from LinkedIn if his/her content is getting a lot of engagement. It might be a testament to his/her mediocrity.

Where will I be heading? I am looking for gatekeepers that look for quality, not clickability or popularity.

Internet does not and can not give everyone a voice. It can definitely give everyone the illusion that they have a voice. They have only as much voice as they have in an empty room — complete freedom to say whatever they want. No one’s listening though. Now, get off the internet.

The Real Gatekeepers Of The Internet II

The gatekeeping is not done at the production stage. It is done at the exposure stage. You are free to create whatever you want to. It is just that no one will ever get to see it unless you are already famous.

On LinkedIn, my last post had 408 views, 3 likes, 1 comment, and a share. LinkedIn already deplatformed the person who had commented. 5 people engaged out of 408 (1.2% engagement).

Another post had 322 views, 5 likes, 2 shares, and 4 comments. 11 people engaged out of 322 (3.4% engagement).

My view count has been in the same range since I got on Linkedin five years ago. On one of my posts, a commenter asked why I wasn’t getting more likes.

Exposure primarily depends on how many people you have in your network. It increases with engagement. Engagement depends on the product-market mix. Critical thinkers and intelligent people are more likely to engage with me than are average minds. But LinkedIn keeps removing intelligent people, so we are left with average minds and average content. At the same time, many refrain from interacting with me because their insecure bosses may be looking.

To increase initial exposure, most people add more users. Most LinkedIn users are so socially inept that they don’t even attach a personalized note with connection requests. New connections like to be added too so they can have exposure for their content. This is why most people are likely to accept your connection requests, including famous professors and business leaders, but they will likely never respond to your messages or anything you ever post. I have previously disconnected with some users because they did not reply to my messages.

I was and still am totally incapable of doing this. It is completely autistic to gather someone’s attention only to direct it to my posts. It is like feeding on his/her time and energy. I wonder how many feel as if influencers, brands, and famous people are using them as energy sources. No wonder people feel drained on social media. I never added strangers on social media until 2019. Most people in my online circles were folks I met in real life. In 2019, I started interacting more on LinkedIn, which led me to meet new people in the comment area. I started adding more people but still was not able to add the way others do. After 5 years on LinkedIn, I still have only 800 connections. Most LinkedIn experts advise having at least 1000 or 5000 connections. Imagine having vain relationships with 5000 people. You are bound to be depressed. There is no way you can keep up with 5000 people. I can’t keep up with 800. This is why I am leaving social media.

In a nutshell, I never got started on social media, because I was unable to add strangers and use their attention as energy for my machine. I can’t take advantage of people like that. I don’t even think that people should waste time on social media. None of my profiles ever took off. I never got the initial exposure, which is needed to get initial engagement. To this day, my Instagram posts and stories get very few views.

Growing on social media without meaninglessly adding people and posting vain comments on their posts is pretty much impossible. I would rather leave social media than do things that are vain and superficial. And no, you cannot have deep meaningful connections and conversations on social media. The internet is a virtual world. Virtual means not real. Nothing on the internet is real.

©Anand Ujjwal. All rights reserved.

Don’t Believe The Hype About Democrats in the Mid-Terms

“Mr. Biden’s attack on 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump in the last election, new polls show these speeches were a disaster.”Lawrence Kudlow, NY Sun


Biden faces growing backlash over attacks on Republicans

The Democrats’ are on a treasonous rampage to disprove President Lincoln who said, ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of time.” The Democrats believe you can fool all of the people, all of the time by declaring war on reality.

Why We Can’t Believe the Hype About Democrats in the Midterms

Americans are a lot smarter than President Biden thinks. They will reject his perverse vision of America.

By: Lawrence Kudlow, NY Sun, September 7, 2022

There’s a growing view inside the mainstream media that President Biden’s recent legislative victories and statements that MAGA Republicans are a threat to democracy and are “semi-fascists” are going to give the Democrats some midterm momentum, that they’re going to overtake the GOP by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

I’m not buying it, and here’s why you shouldn’t either.

First of all, the new legislation is not popular. By 36 percent to 12 percent, an Economist-YouGov poll shows that voters believe the IRA legislation will actually increase inflation. As for the student loan cancellation, a poll from another network shows, by 59 percent to 38 percent, that voters believe that too will increase inflation.

By the way, the latest inflation report for July was 8.5 percent year-on-year and the inflation tracker from the Cleveland Fed predicts an 8.2 percent CPI for both August and September.

As far as Mr. Biden’s attack on 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump in the last election, new polls show these speeches were a disaster. The Trafalgar Group polling of likely voters shows 56 percent believe it was “dangerous rhetoric.” That’s more than 20 points more than those who believe it was “acceptable campaign messaging.”

Just today, Rasmussen Reports also finds that 46 percent say the upcoming midterm election is a “referendum” on Mr. Biden’s agenda. Only 40 percent think it’s more about “individual candidates.”

These early returns on Mr. Biden’s outrageous, hateful, and divisive rhetoric, alongside huge new tax-and-spend Democratic legislation, suggest the Republican cavalry is in very good shape here 61 days before the midterms.

Another lesson: Never believe the mainstream media. Of course voters are going to cast ballots against Mr. Biden’s authoritarian, dictatorial, big-government socialism.

Mr. Biden took a booming economy without inflation and turned it into a high-inflation bust in a little more than a year. His war on fossil fuels has driven gasoline, oil, natural gas, and coal prices sky-high. Ditto for food prices. He can’t even get proper baby formula on store shelves.

He has spent massively, raised taxes, and launched the biggest regulatory assault on business we have ever seen. Real wages for working people have fallen steadily.

He is not only obsessed with climate change, without ever providing any alternate energy replacement, he is similarly maniacal about repealing all the successful Trump tax cuts that gave us the lowest poverty and highest family wages in 50 years.

He wants a battery-powered economy, but won’t let people mine the resources to develop it. His allies want to end gas-powered cars, but are now telling EV owners they can’t recharge their batteries. Why? No electricity. Why? Not enough fossil fuels.

He has weaponized the justice department and the FBI against his arch-enemy, Donald Trump. He lied about the miracle of Operation Warp Speed. He has stifled free speech, calling parents “domestic terrorists” and pressing social media to evaporate the Hunter Biden laptop story. That story, by the way, could’ve changed the 2020 election.

He lied about the Afghanistan exit being a great success. He lies about the open southern border, the millions of illegals crossing it and the scourge of fentanyl that has come with them.

Not only has his economic version of central planning been a complete failure, but he has resorted to an authoritarian, dictatorial, divisive approach that is devoid of truth

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Top Medical School Puts Wokeism Ahead of Giving America Good Doctors

The final nail in the coffin the once greatest medical system in the world. Obamacare was the deathblow – the covid hammer and medical wokeism its poison fruit.

Top med school putting wokeism ahead of giving America good doctors

By Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and Laura L. Morgan, NY Post, September 2, 2022:

Harvard’s application question encourages applicants to discuss their challenges and struggles with identity.

Elite medical schools are deliberately recruiting woke activists, jeopardizing their mission of training physicians.

That’s what our organization found in a review of the application process for America’s top 50 medical schools. Nearly three-quarters of these institutions — and 80% of the top 10 — ask applicants about their views on diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism and other politicized concepts. The clear goal is to find the students who will best advance divisive ideology, not provide the best care to patients.

We based our review on the 2023 “Best Medical Schools” rankings by US News and World Report. We then looked at the secondary essay questions each school asks applicants, using a database compiled by Prospective Doctor. (Despite the name, secondary questions play a primary role in each institution’s selection process.)

Many schools explicitly ask applicants if they agree with statements about racial politics. Others gauge applicants’ views on or experience with woke concepts.

Harvard Medical School, the top-ranked institution, takes the latter approach. It asks applicants to share their “significant challenges in access to education, unusual socioeconomic factors, identification with a minority culture, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.” It then encourages applicants to “explain how such factors have influenced your motivation for a career in medicine.”

Translation: Tell us how you want to solve social and political problems.

The curriculum centers around the idea of privilege in medicine.

We must fight back against health care’s terrifying conquest by the radically woke

The same holds true for Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, which is tied for third. It states its commitment to “diversity,” then asks applicants to prove how their “background and experiences” will “contribute to this important focus of our institution.”

Other medical schools are more direct. Duke University School of Medicine, tied for sixth place, asks applicants to describe their “understanding of race and its relationship to inequities in health and health care.” Before doing so, they’re told about “Duke’s collective stand against systemic racism and injustice.”

Duke further states that it expects students to go beyond “passive moments of reflection and becom[e] more active as we build to make lasting change.”

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, ranked 14th, is even more blunt. It tells applicants: “We are interested in combating all forms of systemic barriers, and would like to hear your thoughts on opposing specifically: systemic racism, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, and misogyny.” It then doubles down with the ask: “How will you contribute?”

Similarly, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (#25) wants applicants to demonstrate “how you have committed yourself to understanding and aiding in the pursuit of equity and inclusion in your academic, professional or personal life.” How such activism relates to medicine is never stated.

Ditto at #43-ranked University of Miami Miller College of Medicine, where applicants must answer: “What have you done to help identify, address and correct an issue of systemic discrimination?” The answer can come from any facet of life, not just medicine.
The school says its mission is to end all forms of discrimination and marginalization.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine asks applicants how they will help end discrimination.

Read the rest.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

U.S. Funded Study: Physics is Racist

“A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation funded a 22-page “study” that used Critical Race Theory to argue that physics was racist, in part because it rewards students for getting the right answer and uses whiteboards.” — Luke Rosiak, Daily Wire


US Funded Study Claims Physics is Racist Because Students Are Rewarded for Being Correct

By  Luke Rosiak •  •  DailyWire.com

A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation funded a 22-page “study” that used Critical Race Theory to argue that physics was racist, in part because it rewards students for getting the right answer and uses whiteboards.

The paper was funded through National Science Foundation Grant No. 1760761, which gave $500,000 to Seattle Pacific University for “understanding centrality and marginalization in undergraduate physics teaching and learning.”

“Critical Race Theory names that racism and white supremacy are endemic to all aspects of U.S. society, from employment to schooling to the law,” the paper reads. “We see the outcomes of this in, for example, differential incarceration rates, rates of infection and death in the era of COVID, and police brutality. We also see the outcomes of this in physics.”

In exchange for the hefty government funding, two scholars — a “chronically ill and disabled, physics-Ph.D.-holding, thin wealthy white woman” and a black man — watched videos of four science lessons, and spoke to two students and the teacher over Zoom.

[ … ]

Ironically, while the paper’s only finding of “whiteness” in a classroom was a Middle Eastern student supposedly oppressing his peers by helping them, it is the researchers themselves who seem to have the white person take up most of the space, with the white researcher conducting the Zoom interviews, referring to herself in the first-person in the text, and placing her name first.

Anticipating the rebuttal that cherry-picking a single exchange in one class lesson and turning it into a far-reaching metaphor is not rigorous research, the federally funded academics simply say anyone who said so would be “engaging in bad faith argumentation.”

Justifying how a Middle Eastern male working hard, getting the right answer, and helping his peers represents a negative trait called “whiteness” that is allegedly everywhere, they reason that “whiteness is pervasive, insidious, and complex.”

Yet they also could not describe it. “Part of the difficulty in characterizing whiteness lies with its having no genuine content,” the paper says.

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden’s Climate Czar John Kerry’s Carbon Footprint is 300 Times That of the Average American

“In his role as President Joe Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry has flown more than 180,000 miles—flights that emitted more than 9.5 million pounds of carbon.” — Washington Free Beacon


The whole climate ruse is a hoax, of course. But the point here is clearly those hawking it don’t believe it either. But they do believe in the money and power it gives them.

As Biden’s Climate Czar, John Kerry Has Flown More Than 180,000 Miles, Emitting 9.5 Million Pounds of Carbon

Other prominent climate activists have given up flying to combat climate change, which Kerry has called an ‘existential crisis’

 • September 8, 2022 12:00 pm

In his role as President Joe Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry has flown more than 180,000 miles—flights that emitted more than 9.5 million pounds of carbon, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found.

The Free Beacon reviewed 75 of Kerry’s official travel announcements from March 2021 to July 2022, which show Kerry has flown roughly 180,100 miles—the equivalent of traveling around the world more than seven times—to discuss climate change with various world leaders. Planes on average produce 53.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile traveled, according to carbon emissions modeling website BlueSkyModel, meaning Kerry’s flights have produced 9.54 million pounds, or 4,772 tons, of carbon—roughly 300 times the average American’s carbon footprint for an entire year. From May 13, 2021, to May 19, 2021, for example, Kerry traveled to Rome, London, and Berlin before returning stateside. Those flights total roughly 10,100 miles and 538,000 pounds of carbon.

It’s unclear how many miles Kerry will have to fly to solve climate change, an issue he’s called an “existential … crisis.” It’s also unclear exactly how Kerry flies to each location to perform his official duties as climate czar. His office told Fox News that he flies “commercially or via military air in his role as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate,” but Kerry’s press releases do not reveal which option is utilized for each individual trip. The top Biden official’s government Twitter account has posted photos of Kerry using electric buses and scooters but has not shared snapshots of his plane travel.

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

A Lawsuit Exposes the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Lies

The SPLC “shows reckless disregard for the truth and does not appear to perform any fact finding at all.”


Twenty-one years ago, Dustin Inman, a sixteen year old boy, lost his life to a Mexican illegal alien. That alien is still a wanted fugitive. Under the Trump administration, the ICE VOICE office was established to help victims of illegal aliens and Dustin’s killer appear on its most wanted list. In one of his numerous acts of calculated cruelty, Biden shut down ICE VOICE.

And two decades later Dustin’s killer is still out there.

There are tragically a thousand cases like this. But some of them make people step up. That’s how D.A. King founded the Dustin Inman Society. The former Marine financed it with his life savings, borrowed against his house and sold his inheritance. Since then he has fought a tireless campaign in Georgia against an illegal alien crisis that only keeps getting worse.

And now he’s fighting one against the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A decade ago the Southern Poverty Law Center called him a “nativist,” but admitted the Dustin Inman Society wasn’t a hate group. “Because he is fighting, working on his legislation through the political process, that is not something we can quibble with, whether we like the law or not,” Heidi Beirich, the woman behind the SPLC’s infamous hate labeling, conceded.

Now, the SPLC lists the Dustin Inman Society and D.A. King as an “anti-immigrant hate group” because he favors enforcing the nation’s laws. King responded by suing the SPLC.

D.A. King’s adopted sister is Korean. The board of the Dustin Inman Society includes black and Hispanic, as well as immigrant, board members. The SPLC chose to disregard all of that by smearing the organization as a bigoted hate group anyway.

The complaint notes the past history of violent assaults triggered by SPLC hate group designations and hate map listings including the Family Resource Council terrorist attack. The complaint demonstrates the sloppiness that the SPLC is known for by listing a series of basic factual errors about the year when the Dustin Inman Society was incorporated, where King was employed and what year he got involved in activism against the illegal alien crisis.

“These admissions taken together show that Defendant SPLC not only fails to investigate or have expertise at all on groups it monitors but instead shows reckless disregard for the truth and does not appear to perform any fact finding at all,” the complaint charges.

The Southern Poverty Law Center either knew that the Dustin Inman Society “did not meet its own definition of ‘hate group’ and maliciously published the designation anyway or was so grossly incompetent and reckless as to be malicious in publishing the designation without doing any due dillegence as they repeatedly hold out to the public.”

The SPLC’s response essentially acknowledged that its hate group labels are a matter of opinion and cited a previous judicial ruling arguing that King had failed to allege facts “plausibly demonstrating, by clear and convincing evidence, that SPLC subjectively knew that its characterization of DIS was false.”

You can’t prove we’re lying on purpose.

The Southern Poverty Law Center wants its smears to be treated as facts. And companies fire people, Big Tech monopolies deplatform organizations, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center, based on those smears. The SPLC provides training to law enforcement and politicians use its lists as a basis for government action. Guidestar, a non-profit information source, at one point added SPLC ‘flags’ on organizations that it had listed as hate groups. That goes beyond merely offering “opinions”. And yet when cornered, the SPLC’s lawyers counter that it’s just offering “constitutionally protected opinions” no different than any pundit.

The SPLC legal filing contends that, “nor does it matter whether SPLC keeps track of and publicizes how many organizations it has designated as hate groups. This does not somehow mean that any of the individual hate group designations themselves are factual.”

So much for what the Washington Post had described as ”a golden seal of disapproval, considered nonpartisan enough to be heeded by government agencies, police departments, corporations and journalists.”

Even mainstream media coverage at Politico and other outlets had reported on the SPLC’s casual disregard for the facts, baselessly putting entire towns on its “hate map”. Front Page Magazine has had its own brushes with the leftist hate group and knows how little in the way of anything factual is involved in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s listings.

At one point, the Southern Poverty Law Center had listed my single author blog as one of its “Active Anti-Muslim Hate Groups” alongside “Casa D’Ice Signs,” the signs on a bar located on K-Mart Plaza in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In one year it claimed that the “number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold” by counting Act for America as one group in one year and then counting all of its chapters separately the next year.

As sleazy and dishonest as you think the SPLC might be, it’s actually much worse.

There’s no question that the SPLC’s listings are comprehensive. They included, at one point, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz’s father, and the African-American former Secretary of State of Ohio. The SPLC attacked former Homicide star Richard Belzer who was unhappy to be implicitly associated with Nazis. “As a Jewish person whose grandfather represented Israel at the United Nations before it was a state and an uncle, who as a member of the Resistance, fought the Nazis in World War Two, I am deeply hurt and offended,” he wrote.

Last year, the SPLC announced that it would stop monitoring black racial separatist groups because “black separatism was born out of valid anger against very real historical and systemic oppression” and the SPLC was adopting “an understanding of racism grounded in nuance and the realities of racial power dynamics.” What that meant was that black racism wasn’t racist.

Under these circumstances, it’s understandable that the SPLC isn’t even pretending that its smears have anything to do with the facts. At least not in a court of law. To its leftist donors, to law enforcement and corporations, the SPLC claims to be providing expert analysis and facts. But when sued over those same claims and the numerous sloppy errors that show no serious investigation ever took place, suddenly the SPLC’s opinion is no different than yours.

Except that it’s not.

A few years ago the House Democrat majority on the Ways and Means Committee presented a list of “hate groups” that it wanted to see lose their tax exempt status. The Democrat IRS hit list seemed to overlap with a list assembled by the SPLC and curated by Philanthropy Magazine. It included the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the American College of Pediatricians, the Center for Security Policy, the Family Research Council, and many others.

When government officials are using your list to target organizations, that’s not just an opinion.

D.A. King knows something about that. The Dustin Inman Society was never able to receive true non-profit status. Instead it’s been forced to operate as a 501(c)(4). Taking on the SPLC is another way of trying to even the score. Two decades later, illegal migration, like so many of the other crises that the organizations targeted the SPLC were created to fight, have grown worse. And so has the suppression of the political opposition. King has spent nearly a generation fighting an endless fight against open borders. And open borders is what the SPLC wants.

“With the full knowledge that we are a coalition made up of Americans of diverse descriptions – including proud immigrants – the SPLC has repeatedly spread false and libelous accusations that DIS is somehow an “anti-immigrant hate group,” D.A. King stated. “While we educate Georgians on the need for state legislation aimed at deterring the organized crime of illegal immigration in Georgia, the SPLC has worked against passage of such measures as anti-enforcement lobbyists in the Georgia Capitol.”

The SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project claims that “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have illegally and unfairly apprehended immigrants with disregard for their rights.” Even while the SPLC fights for illegal aliens, it also uses its false claims of expertise to denounce those who disagree and arranges to have them blacklisted and subjected to government action.

That’s not debate. Nor is it an opinion. It’s political repression.

AUTHOR

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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

Survey Says Muslims More Islamophobic Than Americans

“Islamophobia has declined among other groups but has increased among Muslims.”


“We find that over time, Islamophobia has declined among other groups but has increased among Muslims,” the latest scaremongering report on Islamophobia warns.

The claim comes from Dalia Mogahed, a former Obama adviser and Islamist ally, at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Like its Islamist allies, the ISPU’s reports exist to clamor that Islamophobia is an overriding threat from bigoted Americans still upset over 9/11.

But the latest report has to admit that there’s hardly any imaginary ‘Islamophobia’ to be found.

Except among Muslims.

Alongside all the good news that 6 out of 10 Muslims support Biden, critical race theory and gun control, there was some unhappy news for ISPU to reveal. The report’s “Islamophobia index” asked questions such as are Muslims especially violent and do they hate America?

Americans only scored 25 out of 100 on the Islamophobia Index. Muslims however scored 26.

Religion News Service article headlined the story, “US Muslims have negative stereotypes about themselves.”

This puts Muslims far ahead of Jews (17) and Protestants (23) in the Great Islamophobia Race.

Do Jews and Protestants know Islam better than Muslims do? Mogahed is reduced to arguing that Bob Cohen and Dave Andrews are more credible than Mohammed Al-Masri.

24% of Muslims believe that Muslims are more prone to violence. 35% of Arab Muslims believe that to be true. 19% of Muslims say that “most Muslims living in the US are hostile to the US.” Among Muslim men that number rises to 23% and among Arab Muslims to 31%.

Only 5% of Americans, 5% of Jews, 6% of Catholics and 7% of evangelicals believe Muslims are less civilized than others. 19% of Muslims however say that it’s true. 11% of Muslims strongly believe that it’s true. 23% of Muslim men agree that Muslims are less civilized. 29% of young Muslims believe it, and 34% of Arab Muslims think that Muslims are less civilized.

Islamic activists have spent two decades falsely accusing Americans of Islamophobia for being concerned about Islamic violence.

What does it mean that more Muslims believe that Muslims are violent than Americans do?

ISPU’s survey blames what it calls Muslim Islamophobia on Americans. But that doesn’t explain why a third of Arab Muslims believe something that only one in twenty Americans believes.

In 2018, the ISPU survey found that 18% of Muslims believe that Muslims are “more prone to violence”. Since then the number of Jews who agree that Muslims are more prone to violence fell from 15% to 9% and the number of Catholics who think so declined from 12% to 8%.

This drop was likely driven by the shortage of recent successful Islamic attacks in America.

But the number of Muslims who believe that Muslims are more prone to violence shot up from 18% to 24%. Why would Muslims become more likely to think that they’re violent even as Americans come to believe the opposite? Americans are paying attention to the national news, while Muslim immigrants are more likely to be tracking the news in their own home countries.

While Islamists are prone to blaming everything on America, this has nothing to do with us. Islamic violence in America and other western nations is a spillover from the Muslim world.

Muslims know it even if Americans willfully deny it.

Last month, Salman Rushdie, born into a Kashmiri Muslim family, was brutally stabbed by a Shiite Lebanese Muslim over a novel from the 80s mildly tweaking Islam. Rushdie was the most famous of the many Muslim immigrants who left Islam behind only to live in fear.

Bosch Fawstin, a regular artist and writer at Front Page Magazine, made the journey from being raised as a Muslim to becoming the first target of ISIS in America when its terrorists attacked the Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, TX.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the  ex-Muslim dissident who had to flee the Netherlands for America, responded to Rushdie’s stabbing by writing, “When Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the death of ‘The Satanic Verses’ author, I thought he was standing up for Islam — and for me. So, a group of us did the best we could: We scribbled the book’s title on a piece of cardboard and burned that. If Rushdie had been murdered then, I would have been happy.”

Many Muslims living in America have come out of bloody war zones like Syria, Iraq and Yemen marked by brutal internecine Muslim violence. They might have very good reasons for recognizing the innate connection of Islam to violence because they actually lived through it.

They’re just not allowed to talk about it.

‘Islamophobia’ was a term coined by Islamists to silence experts on Islamic terrorism. But it did not take long for them to casually deploy the term against Muslims willing to condemn terrorism.

Their idiotic lies were quickly picked up by leftist allies who proceeded to libel Zuhdi Jasser as an “Islamophobe”. The Southern Poverty Law Center was forced to pay out millions in a settlement to Maajid Nawaz after listing him as one of its “anti-Muslim extremists.”

Now the Islamists have convincingly demonstrated that Muslims are the real “Islamophobes”.

If recognizing that Islamic terrorism is a problem makes you an Islamophobe then according to the Islamists a third of Arab Muslims and a quarter of Muslim men are Islamophobes.

When Muslims are more likely to be “Islamophobes” than Americans, that exposes the big lie of the label. What does it even mean that Muslims are afraid of other Muslims? Are they all bigots?

Stuck with her own statistics, Dalia Mogahed borrows from intersectionality to emphasize that, what she calls, “white Muslims”, are much more likely to admit the reality of Islamic violence. Generally Arab Muslims are the ones who identify as white. They also come from the epicenters of Islamic violence. Mogahed, who is Egyptian, doesn’t bother trying to explain what it is that would make Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis or Jordanians more ‘Islamophobic’ than Indonesians.

And if the descendants of Mohammed are more likely to be Islamophobic than converts and the African and Asian peoples their ancestors conquered, what does that say about Islam?

By the end Mogahed is reduced to arguing that Muslims suffer from “internalized Islamophobia” after September 11 because 27% of Muslims, as opposed to only 11% of Muslim converts (even if they’re white), believe that members of their ideology are more prone to violence. That’s an argument that a white female convert like G. Willow Wilson has a more credible take on Islam than actual Muslims who were born into the religion and lived as a part of the culture.

The invention of Islamophobia was a means of shutting down important conversations about Islamic violence. But the violence is very real, even if we are currently experiencing less of it.

Over the last decade, Islamists successfully weaponized false claims of ‘Islamophobia’ to suppress most research and reporting on Islamic terrorism. Law enforcement and intelligence training was shut down. Experts were deplatformed and marginalized. Having run out of counter jihadists to persecute, Islamists are busy accusing Muslims of Islamophobia.

The underlying pattern is the same one driving Muslim violence across the Middle East. When the infidels have been purged or subjugated, the Jihad turns on itself. Sunnis battle Shiites. Salafis fight it out for the claim to absolute power. Terrorist groups splinter. Islam was born out of violence, derives its moral authority from violence and cannot exist in the absence of violence, physical or ideological, against an ‘other’ as its most fundamental form of self-definition.

Politicians initially attributed the mysterious killings of Muslim men in Albuquerque to ‘Islamophobia’. But then the real killer, an Afghan Muslim, was caught. The perpetrator of the worst ‘Islamophobic’ killings in America had been a Sunni Muslim targeting Shiite Muslims.

Muslims know a whole lot more than Americans about the violence inherent in Islam. They might have more to say about it if the Islamists weren’t calling them Islamophobes.

AUTHOR

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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

Dems Blame Sexism, Racism For Abrams’ Floundering Campaign

Democrats are “increasingly pessimistic” about voter fraud enthusiast Stacey Abrams’ prospects of unseating Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), according to a report from the leftist propaganda outlet New York Times.

“Some of Ms. Abrams’s supporters say her struggles are more rooted in sexism than any strategic misstep,” the Times reported. “She is running in the Deep South for an office that has long been elusive to women and candidates of color.”

“We have to work harder as women, as African American women. … [We] just have a harder time capturing the imagination as executives,” former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said.

Democrat donor Steve Phillips dismissed Abrams’ stagnant poll numbers as “just sexism” and said her “identity as a black woman” generates enthusiasm for her candidacy but also “explains the depth of the resistance” to her.

Or maybe she’s just completely unlikeable.

“Stacey Abrams’ campaign isn’t connecting with Georgia voters, and people across the country and here in Georgia know it,” Kemp spokesman Tate Mitchell said.


Stacey Abrams

37 Known Connections

George Soros Backs Abrams’ 2022 Gubernatorial Bid with $1 Million Donation

In March 2022, multibillionaire George Soros, through Democracy PAC II — a federal political action committee which was created to promote Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections — donated $1 million to Abrams’ second campaign for Georgia governor. Moreover, Soros and his family members personally contributed approximately $60,000 directly to Abrams’ campaign.

Vast Majority of Donations to Abrams Come from Out-of-State

A July 14, 2022 Axios.com report stated that just over 14 percent of the money — $7 million out of nearly $50 million — which had been donated to Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign, had come from donors inside the state of Georgia. The $43 million in out-of-state contributions included $10 million from California, $3.6 million from New York, $2.5 million from Delaware, and $6.4 million from Washington, D.C.  Among the individual out-of-state funders of Abrams’ campaign were such notables as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Melinda Gates ($200,000). A key organizational donor was George Soros’ Democracy PAC — based in the District of Columbia — which delivered $2.5 million.

Of the $7 million in donations to Abrams that originated in Georgia, $1.5 million came from Fair Fight, an organization founded by Abrams herself.

To learn more about Stacey Abrams, click here.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Where Does Your State Rank in Education Freedom?

Florida ranks highest among the states in education freedom, while the District of Columbia trails behind all of them, according to a new “report card” from The Heritage Foundation.

The leading think tank’s 2022 Education Freedom Report Card, released Thursday, measures all 50 states and the District based on four broad categories: school choice, transparency, regulatory freedom, and spending. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

Rounding out the top five states after Florida in overall education freedom are Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota.

The bottom five states, coming in just before the District in descending order, are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

The authors write:

This report card sets a high bar for achieving and maintaining education freedom in the states. Our goal is that this annual ranking of states will not only inform parents and policymakers of what their states do well and where they need improvement, but that it will spur necessary and lasting reform.

The first of what will be a series of annual report cards from Heritage further divides categories into discrete factors that together determine the level of education freedom in each state.

Arizona ranks first in school choice as well as second in overall education freedom in Heritage’s analysis.

In July, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed into law a bill extending education savings accounts to all K-12 students. Eligible students may use these accounts to pay for almost any schooling option—including private and charter school tuition as well as homeschooling expenses.

Florida and Indiana are among 13 states that also expanded existing school choice programs. Other states passed new school choice policies.

Real Clear Opinion poll found in June that 71% of Americans surveyed, an all-time high, said they support school choice.

But simply giving parents the freedom to choose their child’s private school isn’t enough, the authors of Heritage’s report write:

Although education choice is critical for the future of education freedom in this country—and some would argue that it is the reform that catalyzes all other necessary reforms in K–12 education today—it is one of many factors we assess in this report card.

As Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, a contributor to the Education Freedom Report Card, previously has written:

When COVID-era remote learning began in 2020, parents gained an unprecedented view inside their students’ classrooms and their counties’ school board meetings. What they saw—fraudulent, woke propaganda disguised as curricula; union-driven closures; punitive mask and vaccine mandates; and the Democratic Party’s crackdown on objections to any of the above—has changed the moral and political foundations on which our education system rests.

With Americans’ trust in the public school system dropping by over a third in the past two years, according to Gallup Poll tracking, academic transparency is another growing priority.

New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts are among states that Heritage’s report card ranks low in transparency as well as in overall education freedom. These states, it says, have failed to bar or limit the teaching of critical race theory to K-12 students.

Florida ranks first for academic transparency, followed by Montana and South Dakota.

In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed into law a requirement that school districts share course materials and library books with parents.

“In Florida, our parents have every right to be involved in their child’s education. We are not going to let politicians deny parents the right to know what is being taught in our schools. I’m proud to sign this legislation that ensures curriculum transparency,” DeSantis said during a signing ceremony in March.

A month later, DeSantis signed another bill into law that bars Florida’s K-12 schools from teaching critical race theory, which views all interactions through the lens of race.

Florida ranks second for regulatory freedom, following Mississippi with its perfect score because of low barriers to teaching, no chief diversity officers in school districts, and no testing based on Common Core education standards.

Jay Greene, senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, has argued that chief diversity officers “may be best understood as political activists who articulate and enforce an ideological orthodoxy within school districts.”

Greene writes:

In recent decades, the role of parents in determining the education of children has increasingly been displaced by a professional class of experts. The fact that these experts have pushed schools through a revolving door of failed educational fads, from whole language reading instruction to open classrooms to Common Core, has done nothing to diminish their confidence. This time they have it right, we’re told, so parents just need to get on board and hand their students over.

Return on taxpayer investment in K-12 education also contributes to a state’s overall education freedom ranking on the report card.

The District of Columbia ranks among the lowest for return on investment. The nation’s capital spends more per pupil than any state, yet takes 48th place in students’ average reading scores.

Idaho ranks first place in return on investment, spending almost the least per student to get the greatest academic returns.

Below is a list of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, ranked highest to lowest for overall education freedom, according to Heritage’s report card:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. Idaho
  4. Indiana
  5. South Dakota
  6. Mississippi
  7. West Virginia
  8. Montana
  9. Louisiana
  10. Tennessee
  11. Utah
  12. Texas
  13. Arkansas
  14. Georgia
  15. North Carolina
  16. Alabama
  17. Missouri
  18. Oklahoma
  19. New Hampshire
  20. Virginia
  21. Wyoming
  22. Iowa
  23. South Carolina
  24. Vermont
  25. Nevada
  26. Maine
  27. Michigan
  28. Nebraska
  29. California
  30. Kentucky
  31. Delaware
  32. Wisconsin
  33. Colorado
  34. Ohio
  35. North Dakota
  36. Kansas
  37. Pennsylvania
  38. New Mexico
  39. Minnesota
  40. Oregon
  41. Hawaii
  42. Illinois
  43. Washington
  44. Rhode Island
  45. Alaska
  46. Connecticut
  47. Massachusetts
  48. Maryland
  49. New Jersey
  50. New York
  51. District of Columbia

AUTHOR

Gillian Richards

Gillian Richards is a journalism fellow at The Daily Signal. Twitter: @gn_richards

RELATED ARTICLE: Back To School: If You Can’t Change Your School, Do These 5 Things Instead

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

Voting Booms in 5 States That Passed Election Reforms

A left-leaning New York think tank sounded a familiar warning about Arizona’s “voter suppression bills” being “dangerously close to becoming law.”

The Brennan Center for Justice added in a press release that Arizona was “taking center stage in the relent­less effort to rein in voter parti­cip­a­tion in the name of ‘elec­tion secur­ity.’” Pending bills, the think tank claimed, were “aimed at making voting by mail harder.”

That was in April 2021, before Arizona passed several reform measures that state legislators said they crafted to ensure secure and honest elections.

Little more than a year later, in August 2022, Arizona notched a record for high turnout in a primary election as 1.45 million voters participated, or 35.1% of those registered, surpassing the previous record in a 2000 primary by 7,000 ballots.

Voter turnout in Arizona for 2018, the last primary in a non-presidential election year, was 1.2 million voters, or 33.4%.

In 2021, Democrats and pundits attacked election reform laws enacted in 19 states as attempts at “voter suppression.” The five states that appeared to come under the most attack were Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Iowa—all of which saw boosted voter turnout so far in 2022 compared to the 2018 primaries.

As a rule, non-presidential elections and primary elections attract lower turnout than presidential elections or general elections.

But voter turnout was significantly higher in the 2022 primaries in Georgia, Texas, and Arizona and nominally higher in Florida than in the comparable 2018 primaries.

So new election laws in these states did a lousy job of suppressing the vote, if that’s what Republican lawmakers designed them to do.

Florida’s new law, known as Senate Bill 90, is working its way through the courts. One litigant, Cecile Scoon, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, said the law “was clearly an anti-voter measure that raised barriers to voting with specific impacts on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students, and communities of color.”

Florida, which also had an August primary, saw voter turnout go up slightly, Newsweek reported. The article quoted Andrea Mercado, executive director of the left-leaning advocacy group Florida Rising, as saying that overall 2022 turnout equaled that of 2018.

Voter turnout was expected to be lower because both parties had major competitive primaries in 2018 and only Democrats had state primaries this year. Still, Mercado said there is a “need to energize black communities to get out to the polls in November.”

After lititigation with varying decisions, most of Florida’s law was kept in place by courts pending the resolution of lawsuits. The U.S. Justice Department joined the lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters, calling the law discriminatory.

In March 2021, Mark Stringer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, criticized Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, for signing an election reform bill.

“This law is nothing less than voter suppression, pure and simple,” the ACLU leader said.

However, Iowa logged its second-highest primary turnout on record in June with 356,000 voters, or 22.6%. The record from 1994 still stands. But the 2022 turnout marked a 123% increase from 2018, when primary turnout was 17%.

“The turnout should dispel the narrative that states are restricting voting,” Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, told The Daily Signal, adding:

The left has made it an article of faith that there is systemic voter suppression. Some politicians are happy to do that to, one, demonize their opponents and, two, score points with their base. Ironically, they often use voter suppression as a turnout tool.

Among the laws that President Joe Biden took the most swipes were those of Georgia and Texas.

In May 2021, Biden said: “Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote. It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year.”

Texas held its primary election in March, one of the year’s earliest. Turnout was 17.7%, with 3 million ballots cast, up from  the 2018 primary turnout of 17.2% and 2.6 million ballots cast.

Texas election officials did reject about 18,000 mail-in ballots for failing to meet the new voter ID requirements. However, the state took action to educate voters on how to add an ID number to an absentee ballot in subsequent runoffs and special elections after the initial primary, Snead said.

The later elections in Texas had minimal problems, he said, while Georgia, which enacted the same voter ID requirements for mail-in ballots, reported virtually no problems.

Of the Georgia voting law, Biden had said: “It makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.”

Turnout for this year’s May primary in Georgia hit a record high with about 850,000 ballots cast—a 168% increase from the 2018 primary.

“The incredible turnout we have seen demonstrates once and for all that Georgia’s Election Integrity Act struck a good balance between the guardrails of access and security,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said in a prepared statement.

AUTHOR

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal. Lucas is also the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter:

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

No, Slavery Did Not Make America Rich

The historical record of the post-war economy demonstrates slavery was neither a central driving force of, or economically necessary for, American economic dominance. 


In 1847, Karl Marx wrote that

Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry…cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations.

As with most of his postulations concerning economics, Marx was proven wrong.

Following the Civil War and the abolition of slavery in 1865, historical data show there was a recession, but after that, post-war economic growth rates rivaled or surpassed the pre-war growth rates, and America continued on its path to becoming the number one political and economic superpower, ultimately superseding Great Britain (see Appendix Figure 1).

The historical record of the post-war economy, one would think, obviously demonstrated slavery was neither a central driving force of, or economically necessary for, American economic dominance, as Marx thought it was. And yet, somehow, even with the benefit of hindsight, there are many academics and media pundits still echoing Marx today.

For instance, in his essay published by The New York Times’ 1619 Project, Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond claims the institution of slavery “helped turn a poor, fledgling nation into a financial colossus.”

“The industrial revolution was based on cotton, produced primarily in the slave labor camps of the United States,” Noam Chomsky similarly stated in an interview with the Times. Both claims give the impression that slavery was essential for industrialization and/or American economic hegemony, which is untrue.

The Industrial Revolution paved the way for modern economic development and is widely regarded to have occurred between 1760 and 1830, starting in Great Britain and subsequently spreading to Europe and the US.

As depicted in Figure 1., raw cotton produced by African-American slaves did not become a significant import in the British economy until 1800, decades after the Industrial Revolution had already begun.

Although the British later imported large quantities of American cotton, economic historians Alan L. Olmstead and Paul W. Rhode note that “the American South was a late-comer to world cotton markets,” and  “US cotton played no role in kick-starting the Industrial Revolution.”

Nor was the revolution sparked by Britain’s involvement with slavery more broadly, as David Eltis and Stanley L. Engerman assessed that the contribution of British 18th-century slave systems to industrial growth was “not particularly large.”

There is also the theory that the cotton industry, dependent on slavery, triggered industrialization in the northern United States by facilitating the growth of textile industries. But as demonstrated by Kenneth L. Sokoloff, the Northern manufacturing sector was incredibly dynamic, and productivity growth was broad-based and in no way exclusive to cotton textiles.

Eric Holt has further elaborated, pointing out that

the vast literature on the industrial revolution that economic historians have produced shows that it originated in the creation and adoption of a wide range of technologies, such as the steam engine and coke blast furnace, which were not directly connected to textile trading networks.

The bodies of the enslaved served as America’s largest financial asset, and they were forced to maintain America’s most exported commodity… the profits from cotton propelled the US into a position as one of the leading economies in the world and made the South its most prosperous region.

This is the argument made by P.R. Lockhart of Vox.

While slavery was an important part of the antebellum economy, claims about its central role in the Industrial Revolution and in America’s rise to power via export-led growth are exaggerated.

Olmstead and Rhode have observed that although cotton exports comprised a tremendous share of total exports prior to the Civil War, they accounted for only around 5 percent of the nation’s overall gross domestic product, an important contribution but not the backbone of American economic development (see Appendix Figure 2).

One can certainly argue that slavery made the slaveholders and those connected to the cotton trade extremely wealthy in the short run, but the long-run impact of slavery on overall American economic development, particularly in the South, is undeniably and unequivocally negative.

As David Meyer of Brown University explains, in the pre-war South, “investments were heavily concentrated in slaves,” resulting in the failure “to build a deep and broad industrial infrastructure,” such as railroads, public education, and a centralized financial system.

Economic historians have repeatedly emphasized that slavery delayed Southern industrialization, giving the North a tremendous advantage in the Civil War.

Harvard economist Nathan Nunn has shown that across the Americas, the more dependent on slavery a nation was in 1750, the poorer it was in 2000 (see Appendix Figure 3.). He found the same relationship in the US. In 2000, states with more slaves in 1860 were poorer than states with fewer slaves and much poorer than the free Northern states (see Appendix Figure 4.)

According to Nunn,

looking either across countries within the Americas, or across states and counties within the U.S., one finds a strong significant negative relationship between past slave use and current income.

Slavery was an important part of the American economy for some time, but the reality is that it was completely unnecessary and stunted economic development, and it made Americans poorer even over 150 years later.

The historical and empirical evidence is in accordance with the conclusion of Olmstead and Rhode—that slavery was

a national tragedy that…inhibited economic growth over the long run and created social and racial divisions that still haunt the nation.

Figure 1. US share of British Cotton Imports over time

Figure 2. Cotton Exports and Gross Domestic Product

Figure 3. Partial correlation plot between the slave population as a share of the total population in 1750 and national income per capita in 2000 of countries of the Americas

Figure 4. Bivariate plot showing the relationship between the slave population as a share of the total population in 1860 and state incomes per capita in 2000

AUTHOR

Corey Iacono

Corey Iacono is a Master of Business graduate student at the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a minor in Economics.

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

Pandemic ‘Learning Loss’ Actually Reveals More About Schooling Than Learning

The alleged “learning loss” now being exposed is more reflective of the nature of forced schooling rather than how children actually learn.


There are mounting concerns over profound learning loss due to prolonged school closures and remote learning. New data released last week by the US Department of Education reveal that fourth-grade reading and math scores dropped sharply over the past two years.

Fingers are waving regarding who is to blame, but the alleged “learning loss” now being exposed is more reflective of the nature of forced schooling rather than how children actually learn.

The current hullabaloo over pandemic learning loss mirrors the well-worn narrative regarding “summer slide,” in which children allegedly lose knowledge over summer vacation. In 2017, I wrote an article for Boston NPR stating that there’s no such thing as the summer slide.

Students may memorize and regurgitate information for a test or a teacher, but if it has no meaning for them, they quickly forget it. Come high school graduation, most of us forget most of what we supposedly learned in school.

In his New York Times opinion article this week, economist Bryan Caplan makes a related point: “I figure that most of the learning students lost in Zoom school is learning they would have lost by early adulthood even if schools had remained open. My claim is not that in the long run remote learning is almost as good as in-person learning. My claim is that in the long run in-person learning is almost as bad as remote learning.”

Learning and schooling are completely different. Learning is something we humans do, while schooling is something done to us. We need more learning and less schooling.

Yet, the solutions being proposed to deal with the identified learning loss over the past two years promise the opposite. Billions of dollars in federal COVID relief funds are being funneled into more schooling and school-like activities, including intensive tutoring, extended-day learning programs, longer school years, and more summer school. These efforts could raise test scores, as has been seen in Texas where students receive 30 hours of tutoring in each subject area in which they have failed a test, but do they really reflect true learning?

As we know from research on unschoolers and others who learn in self-directed education settings, non-coercive, interest-driven learning tends to be deep and authentic. When learning is individually-initiated and unforced, it is not a chore. It is absorbed and retained with enthusiasm because it is tied to personal passions and goals.

Certainly, many children have been deprived of both intellectual and social stimulation since 2020, as lockdowns and other pandemic policies kept them detached from their larger communities. I wrote back in September 2020 that these policies were damaging an entire generation of kids, and urged parents to do whatever possible to ensure that their children had normal interactions with the wider world.

Children who were not able to have those interactions will need more opportunities now to play and explore and discover their world. It is through this play, exploration, and discovery that they will acquire and expand their intellectual and social skills. This is best facilitated outside of a conventional classroom, not inside one.

“What we need is less school, not more,” writes Boston College psychology professor Peter Gray. “Kids need more time to play and just be kids. Mother nature designed kids to play, explore, and daydream without adult intervention because that is how kids develop the skills, confidence, and attitudes necessary for mental health and overall wellbeing.”

Fortunately, non-coercive schooling alternatives are becoming more widely available. My latest Forbes article describes an Illinois public middle school science teacher, Josh Pickel, who quit his job this summer to open a new self-directed microschool. As Pickel wondered: “What if we removed coercion and those kids were allowed to focus their energy and their intellect on things they care about?”

The start of this new school year brings with it greater education possibilities, including those like Pickel’s that enable children to joyfully explore content they care about, in pursuit of goals that matter to them, leading to genuine learning retained for years to come.

We can criticize school shutdowns and affirm that they never should have happened, while also recognizing that imposing more schooling is not the solution to presumed pandemic-era learning loss. It might raise test scores, but it’s unlikely to lead to true learning. Only freedom can do that.


Like this story? Click here to sign up for the LiberatED newsletter and get education news and analysis like this from Senior Education Fellow Kerry McDonald in your inbox every week.


AUTHOR

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and host of the weekly LiberatED podcast. She is also the author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019), an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, education policy fellow at State Policy Network, 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 email newsletter here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Heritage Foundation Ranks Florida No. 1 in Education Freedom

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We Need Fewer Rulers and More True Leaders

“The beginning of wisdom,” said Confucius, “is to call things by their proper name.” 


With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the British Commonwealth is entering a time of transition not seen in 70 years. What’s clearly mapped out is who will get the crown. What’s not so clear is the future of the monarchy as an institution.

At times like these, questions inevitably arise that are otherwise deemed too inconsequential to ask. What practical purpose does the monarchy fulfill, exactly? What are the powers of the head-of-state, and why should one person be given these powers?

But perhaps we should step back and ask a more preliminary question first: why should we care?

My gut response is to say we shouldn’t care. In fact, at first I wanted to ignore this story. I don’t think it’s healthy for a culture to be so fixated on political figures.

Having thought it through, however, I realized there’s an important point to be made here, and that this is the time to make it. After all, times of transition present opportunities to reflect and rethink things—not just the little things, but the big things too.

One of the primary points of discussion is of course whether there should even be a monarchy. Many people (rightly) point out that the institution no longer serves any practical purpose, and that it’s about time we finally did away with the vestigial elements that remain to this day. At the very least, the taxpayers could surely use the break.

But others say it still serves an important purpose. The monarch is a figurehead, they say, even if only ceremonially. Society needs a leader that we can look to and rally around, and the monarch fills that role.

Now, it’s true that society needs leaders. But monarchs are not so much leaders as they are rulers. They did not win willing followers like true leaders. They were simply born into a government-privileged position. The authority and status they have exists merely because of power. They did nothing to earn it.

For some, this is what makes democracy better than monarchy. Whereas monarchs are simply entitled to power, democratically-elected politicians must win the hearts of their people. They must champion the causes people care about and earn their followers and admirers.

But while it’s tempting to think democracy is a more genuine form of leadership, this isn’t really the case. Politicians in democracies are rulers, too. Though they may inspire some, they still exert power over others. A genuine leader simply invites others to follow them. A politician, on the other hand, demands compliance with their wishes. When the politician can’t persuade, they resort to force. They compel the hearts they cannot win.

That’s not leadership. That’s tyranny.

It’s also not entirely true to say that their supporters are followers in the genuine sense of the word. Quite often, people vote for a politician simply because the politician has promised them a share of the money extorted from taxpayers. To that extent, the voters are acting more as co-conspirators, working with the politicians to profit at the expense of their neighbors.

That’s not a leader. That’s a demagogue.

The distinction between leaders and rulers is subtle, but important. It’s important because it paints a more accurate picture of what politics is really about, one that reveals the true nature of the beast.

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name,” said Confucius. When politicians get away with calling themselves our leaders, the euphemism makes their role sound lofty and inspiring. But when we call them what they really are, our rulers, the true nature of their position is laid bare. It’s akin to saying the emperor has no clothes. Except in this case, the con is the idea that the emperor is your friend, and the truth is that he is your master.

So yes, society absolutely needs leaders. But genuine leaders are those who set an example and inspire us to follow them. Do you see the difference? A leader has followers. A ruler has subjects. A leader inspires. A ruler commands. A leader wins loyalty. A ruler demands loyalty. A leader offers guidance. A ruler insists you follow his path. A leader sets an example. A ruler makes an example of those who refuse to obey.

So rather than obsessing over queens, kings, and presidents, let’s focus our time and attention on the genuine leaders in society, the people making a positive difference. Let’s not fixate on the Elizabeth IIs and the Charles IIIs of the world, or the Joe Bidens and Donald Trumps: rulers and demagogues who often bring out the worst in us and set us against each other. Instead, let’s pay more attention to the people—whether public figures or personal mentors—who bring out the best in us. Let’s look to entrepreneurial visionaries, creative trailblazers, philosophical, moral, and religious inspirations, and see what guidance they have to offer. Maybe they will inspire us to become true leaders ourselves.

Which would be a very good thing. The world could use a lot fewer rulers and a lot more genuine leaders.

This article was adapted from an issue of the FEE Daily email newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free-market news and analysis like this in your inbox every weekday.

AUTHOR

Patrick Carroll

Patrick Carroll has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is an Editorial Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education.

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