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J.D. Vance and the American Dream

The author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance was a prominent voice on the national-populist right even before July 1, when he entered the crowded primary to replace GOP senator Rob Portman of Ohio. In a speech to the 2019 National Conservatism Conference in Washington, D.C., in appearances on Tucker Carlson Tonight, and in his active Twitter feed, Vance has promoted a “realignment” of conservatism away from libertarianism and toward an agenda that uses government to defend traditional values and improve living conditions for the non-college educated voters at the base of the GOP.

Vance is a leader within that faction of the right which says the conservative movement’s emphasis on individual freedom, and its commitment to the classical liberal procedures and “norms” of constitutional government, is responsible for its apparent failure to preserve the nuclear family, and for its exclusion from mainstream institutions. He is a pacesetter for this trend, which drew energy from Donald Trump’s victory in 2016. And because Vance represents one possible future for the American right, I was eager to read the transcript of a speech he gave last weekend to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s “Future of American Political Economy” conference in Alexandria, Va. There is no doubting Vance’s smarts—he graduated from Yale Law School in 2013—or his communication skills. But his text left me with questions.

Vance’s subject was the “American dream.” This is an infamously nebulous concept. Does the American dream refer to a process—the social mobility that allows the adopted son of an immigrant to fly into space on his own rocket? Or does it signify an end-state—the single-family home with a white picket fence in the cul-de-sac occupied by 2 parents, 2.5 children, and a dog and cat? No one really knows. For Vance, the American dream “is about a good life in your own country.” But it is also about being “a good husband and a good father,” who is “able to provide my kids the things that I didn’t have when I was growing up.” It’s a dream that Vance has achieved.

Then Vance contrasts his dream with another dream, a bad dream, the “dream of Mitt Romney.” This American dream, apparently espoused by “establishment Republican politicians,” is a dream of “private jets,” “fancy businesses,” and “a lot of money.” Such an emphasis on material wealth, Vance says, makes most people’s “eyes sort of glaze over.” After all, most people aren’t rich. Most people just “want to live a good life in their own country,” with their spouse and children.

Vance must not be on Mitt Romney’s Christmas card list. Last I checked, the former Republican presidential nominee and current GOP senator from Utah has been married to his wife Ann for over half a century, and has five sons and a countless number of grandchildren. Whatever your disagreements with him—and I have a few—Mitt Romney is a decent, patriotic, and accomplished gentleman who unquestionably has lived “a good life” in his “own country.” Yes, he is quite wealthy. He owns a number of homes. One of them had a car elevator. But it’s not as though Romney made his affluence the basis of his claim to high office.

On the contrary: It was former president Trump who grounded his appeal in 2016 on his “private jets,” “fancy businesses,” television celebrity, and considerable fortune. It was former president Trump who took kids for rides on his helicopter during the 2015 Iowa State Fair, who turned a campaign press conference at Mar-a-Lago into an infomercial for various Trump-branded products, and whose personal life, let us say, could not be more unlike Mitt Romney’s. Yet Vance casts Romney as the bogeyman in this contest of American dreams, and says he regrets voting for someone other than Trump in 2016. What gives? Not only did I end this section of the speech without a clear idea of what the American dream is or who best represents it, I was left wondering what factor other than his opposition to Trump actually prevents Romney from meeting the criteria that Vance sets out.

Vance says that “to live a good life in your own country, you have to actually feel respected. And you have to be able to teach your children to honor and love the things that you were taught to love.” No problem there; I couldn’t agree more. The danger of the culture wars, he goes on, is that the left will force Americans into a posture of regret and shame over their history. The left imposes costs on individuals—de-platforming, ostracization, cancellation—to police retrograde thought and behavior. “That is what the culture war is about.” And he’s right.

Then Vance says that because the only institution conservatives control, on occasion, is government, we ought to use political power to impose costs of our own on “woke capital,” “woke corporations,” and academia. Vance neglects to mention the various counter-institutions that the conservative movement built since World War II to address the problem he describes. Nor does he explain, exactly, how “breaking up the big technology oligarchy” would help men and women like his Mamaw. Even so, the idea that conservatives should use policy to further their conception of the public good is something of a truism. Everybody thinks they are furthering the good. The question, as always, is the means we employ to that end, and whether those means actually work. Government bureaucracy and regulation, for example, are not known for their contribution to human wellbeing (see: Centers for Disease Control). No matter who’s in charge.

At this point, however, Vance makes another statement that left me befuddled. “I’m going to get in trouble for this,” he says, but he goes ahead anyway and asks, “Why have we let the Democrat Party become controlled by people who don’t have children?” Now, he acknowledges, somewhat, that what he is saying is not strictly true: Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi all have kids, and Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi control the Democratic Party and, at present, the national political agenda. Nevertheless, Vance name-checks Kamala Harris (who has two stepchildren), Pete Buttigieg (who, according to the Washington Post, is trying to adopt), Cory Booker, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who’s 31 years old). Vance understands, he says, that “there have always been people” who, “even though they would like to have kids, are unable to have them.” He has no problem with this population, he hastens to add, though he never stops to ask whether any of the four Democrats he singled out fall into it.

What bothers Vance is “a political movement, invested theoretically in the future of this country, when not a single one of them actually has any physical commitment to the future of this country.” He says, without supplying any evidence, that the reason the media are “so miserable and unhappy” is that “they don’t have any kids.” The collapse in American fertility, he goes on, is a crisis “because it doesn’t give our leaders enough of an investment in the future of their country.”

I agree that the decline in American birth rates is troubling, that “babies are good,” and that raising children is an indescribably worthwhile, utterly exhausting, and often infuriating experience (I have two). Children join us in that intergenerational compact which Edmund Burke described as the essence of traditionalist conservatism. No kids, no future.

But you know who else doesn’t have children? A lot of conservatives and Republicans. Maybe they can’t have them, maybe they’ll adopt, or maybe life just brought them to a different place. That doesn’t in one iota reduce their dignity as human beings, or their potential to contribute to America’s public life. And that goes for Democrats and independents, too.

William Rusher, the longtime publisher of National Review, never had children. Does his contribution to American politics count for less? Condoleezza Rice doesn’t have kids. Did that stop her from serving her country for eight years as national security adviser and secretary of state? Lindsey Graham has no children. Has that prevented him from unswerving loyalty to President Trump? Pat Buchanan is childless—yet he formulated the arguments that define so much of national populism today.

Indeed, until a few years ago, the 53-year-old billionaire who donated $10 million to Vance’s super PAC had no kids. Should his contributions to political candidates and philanthropic causes during that time be retroactively judged suspect? The assertion that parenthood is somehow a prerequisite for effective statesmanship is nonsensical. It’s also insulting. Great parents can make terrible leaders—and great leaders are often terrible parents.

Vance says that the “civilizational crisis” of declining fertility requires providing additional “resources to parents who tell us the only reason they’re not having kids is because they can’t afford it.” How should we do this? “We can debate the policy details.” But the only specific proposals Vance mentions are Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s subsidized loans to married couples who promise to have kids, and the completely fantastical idea of demeny voting, whereby parents vote on behalf of their children. What he didn’t mention, as one of those sullen, devious, childless journalists pointed out, was either the child tax credit the Biden administration is sending to families as we speak, or the various other child credit plans advanced by Senate Republicans, including—wait for it—Mitt Romney.

How can it be that the same “establishment Republican” who represents such an unattractive version of the American dream also wants to make life easier for the working families in whose name Vance speaks? And while I am asking questions, What evidence is there that government spending can arrest, not to say reverse, a demographic process hundreds of years in the making? What special clarity and insight into the workings of politics do parents possess, and on what basis shall we implement the radical ideas that a Hungarian demographer came up with 35 years ago? What does the substance of Vance’s remarks actually have to do with the everyday concerns of Ohio Republicans? I found it noteworthy, for example, that immigration, crime, and “election integrity” don’t come up until the final paragraphs of Vance’s remarks. The word “inflation” does not appear at all.

Such is the confusion that arises when a movement anchors itself to the personality of one former president, when a movement neglects the principles of political and economic freedom that guided it for so many years. It seems to me that for national populism to have a viable future, it needs to avoid straw men, see its political antagonists not as alien enemies but as fellow Americans, concentrate on the issues voters care about, and clarify its thinking on the relation of economics and culture. Can J.D. Vance accomplish this formidable task? He has until primary day—May 3—to try.

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Connecticut Dem Indicted for Voter Fraud

A Connecticut Democrat has been charged with multiple counts of voter fraud after allegedly stealing the identities of numerous tenants in his building to boost his run for city council.

Bridgeport city councilman Michael DeFilippo was charged with one count of conspiracy against rights, four counts of identity theft, and 11 counts of fraudulent registration for a scheme that helped him win his spot on the city council.

“The right to vote and have one’s vote counted in a fair and impartial election is the foundation of our democracy,” acting U.S. attorney Leonard C. Boyle said in a statement. “This defendant violated that right to help himself win election to the Bridgeport City Council, including by stealing ballots and forging signatures.”

The indictment comes as lawmakers engage in political battles over election reform nationwide. Democrats have attacked concerns over voter fraud as conspiratorial and denounce efforts aimed at increasing election integrity as racist forms of voter suppression. The Biden administration has filed a lawsuit to prevent Georgia from enacting an anti-voter fraud bill in the wake of the 2020 election, while Texas state lawmakers fled to Washington, D.C., in an effort to block ballot-integrity measures.

Federal officials accused DeFilippo of conspiring to “injure and oppress voters in the free exercise and enjoyment of the right … to vote” in the 2017 Bridgeport city council election. He used his status as a landlord to steal voter registrations and absentee ballots from the college students living on his property. He then forged their signatures in order to vote for himself, according to the indictment. Democratic Party officials were forced to hold multiple primaries in the election because of clear “absentee voting irregularities.”

DeFilippo, who did not return a request for comment, told local party officials on Monday that he would not seek reelection—just two days before he pleaded not guilty in a federal courthouse. He faces up to 85 years in prison for the charges.

Voting reform advocates said the city councilman’s case demonstrates the need for more secure ballots. Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, called the allegations “shocking.” The simplicity of DeFilippo’s alleged scheme, he said, shows how easy it is for activists and candidates to bypass the protection measures of many states.

“As long as elections are the path to power, there will be people willing to cheat to win,” Snead said. “The allegations in this case are shocking, and plainly show how vulnerable absentee ballots can be to fraud and why securing them is so crucial…. Election fraud disenfranchises voters, casts doubt on elections, and makes voters less likely to participate in democracy.”

DeFilippo was released Wednesday on a $250,000 bond.

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Content Moderation Group Favored by Big Tech Expands Scope of Blacklisted Content

Experts worry that the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism could unfairly censor users

propaganda Facebook social media
Getty Images

Santi Ruiz • July 29, 2021 5:30 pm

A nonprofit organization that major U.S. tech companies rely on for content moderation is expanding the scope of content it will blacklist on social media platforms.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism will expand its database of terrorist content to cover content shared by white nationalist and alt-right users, Reuters reported Monday. Tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter, rely on the forum’s database to automatically remove inappropriate content. Experts worry that the forum’s lack of transparency could cause some users to be unfairly censored.

The forum’s initiative allows social media companies to point to an external standard for content moderation. Social media companies have been criticized for cracking down on speech without offering a justification to users. Facebook recently came under fire for “fact-checking” reports that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism was created in 2017 to censor content from U.N.-designated terrorist organizations. The forum’s board is advised by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, which recently released a report entitled “It’s Not Funny Anymore: Far-Right Extremists’ Use of Humor.”

The report warns that some of the most common memes on the internet are being coopted by “far-right circles” to “gradually radicalise” users. The group recommends that if companies don’t remove certain content directly, they should “quarantine extremist humour—and therefore extremist ideas” by limiting its reach. The report also recommends that content moderators should “build up effective partnerships with progressive communities.”

Some watchdog groups warned that the forum needs to improve its accountability and transparency as it expands its reach.

“As the database expands, the risks of mistaken takedown only increase,” said Emma Llanso, director of free expression at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Nicholas Rasmussen, the forum’s executive director, acknowledged that expanding the database increased the risk of “violating someone’s rights on the internet to engage in free expression.”

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CUNY Professor Claims Muslims Will ‘Erase This Filth Called Israel’ in Anti-Semitic Sermon

The city university system has been dogged with allegations of anti-Semitism

Mohammad Abbasi / YouTube screenshot

Alex Nester • July 29, 2021 5:40 pm

An imam who serves as an adjunct professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) said in a sermon that Muslims will “erase this filth called Israel” after accusing Jews of creating a “colonial” settlement.

Mohammad Abbasi, who teaches at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, delivered the remarks in a June 25 sermon at the Islamic Center of Union City, N.J.

“So they won this time, they established their colonial project called Israel,” Abbasi said. “So here is the conclusion. I don’t want to leave you depressed. I want to give you the good news now. With the help of Allah they will erase this filth called Israel.”

Anti-Semitism has increasingly become a problem for the CUNY system. More than 100 professors resigned from CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress, the university’s branch of the American Federation of Teachers, after the union passed a resolution that referred to Israel as an “apartheid” state, the Washington Free Beacon reported. The union also backed the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and said it condemns the “massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state.”

Several Jewish professors who left the union told the Free Beacon they’ve been attacked and targeted for their faith while at CUNY. University administrators have failed to respond to any of the incidents, the professors said, disregarding a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report from February confirming that the university has created a hostile environment for Jews.

It’s not surprising that CUNY hired Abbasi, Kingsborough Community College adjunct business professor Michael Goldstein told the Free Beacon.

“Why should we not at all be surprised that CUNY would be employing a vile, Jew-hating antisemite like this individual?” Goldstein asked. He said former CUNY chancellor Joseph Murphy, whose mother was Jewish, “has to be rolling over in his grave.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) released a statement Wednesday calling on CUNY to fire Abbasi over the speech.

“At a time when antisemitic violence is on the rise throughout the United States, no one, especially someone charged with educating young adults, should be further fanning the flames of anti-Semitism like this and endorsing violence against Israel,” Zeldin said. “As we saw last month, the CUNY faculty has an antisemitism problem, and this is just another example.”

CUNY administrators could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

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Top Teachers’ Unions Refuse Vaccination Requirement

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten previously backed mandates

Chairs, desk and other school furniture is stacked outside a classroom at a public elementary school in Glendale, California just north of Los Angeles, August 17, 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. / Getty Images

Jack Beyrer • July 29, 2021 5:50 pm

Two of the country’s largest teachers’ unions refuse to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their members, even as public schools require vaccinations for their students.

The National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are pushing against mandatory teacher vaccinations as the 2021-22 school year approaches, instead asking for weekly testing and other alternatives. But public universities such as the University of Indiana and California state schools are already forcing students to vaccinate before returning to campus for instruction.

The move contradicts remarks made in September 2020 by AFT president Randi Weingarten. At the time, she said she supported mandating COVID-19 vaccines for teachers once they were approved and made readily available.

The powerful teachers’ unions are breaking with labor leadership in their approach. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said Tuesday he supports a vaccine mandate for union workers. Other public sector organizations advocate for mandatory vaccinations, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and local governments in New York and California. The department’s decision affects more than 100,000 frontline workers alone, while growing demands from New York and California governments for public sector workers to get vaccinated touches more than two million.

Weingarten came under fire from Republicans last summer for arguing that opening schools in the fall would be “very dangerous.” After strongly supporting a return to in-person schooling this fall, she backtracked on Wednesday, saying the union would “try to open up schools” but that new CDC guidance had thrown the group a “curveball.”

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Top Dem Recruit for Missouri Senate Bows Out

Former governor Jay Nixon says he won’t run for Senate

Former Missouri governor Jay Nixon (D.) / Getty Images

Collin Anderson • July 29, 2021 2:18 pm

Jay Nixon, the former Democratic governor of Missouri, says he will not run for U.S. Senate in 2022, a major blow to Democrats who viewed him as their best chance of competing in the increasingly red midwest state.

In a Thursday statement, Nixon said he “deeply appreciate[s] the many people who have reached out” asking him to run but will “choose a different path.”

“I have truly enjoyed the positive changes in my life and fitness since completing 30 consecutive years of public service,” Nixon said. “I am not running for U.S. Senate.”

Both state and national party leaders saw Nixon as the best chance to pull off a long-shot win in Missouri. Two-term Republican senator Roy Blunt announced he will not run for reelection, giving Democrats a glimmer of hope in a state former president Donald Trump won by 15 points in November. A July Remington Research Group poll found Nixon trailing potential Republican opponents by single digits in hypothetical matchups.

Nixon is now the fourth prominent Missouri Democrat to decline to run for the seat. Former senator Claire McCaskill, failed gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway, and  failed Senate candidate Jason Kander have already ruled out launching bids of their own. The party’s top candidates in the race, state senator Scott Sifton and self-described progressive Lucas Kunce, have failed to raise the money needed to strike fear in Republicans. One veteran GOP operative in the state told the Washington Free Beacon that Sifton will struggle to challenge Republicans “with his measly $100k of cash on hand.”

“The Missouri Democrats are such a dumpster fire that Governor Nixon won’t touch the race with a 10-foot pole,” the operative said.

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House GOP Bill Targets Border Crisis

House Republicans say their new immigration bill will reverse the historic surge of migrants by increasing the number of Customs and Border Protection agents, improving technology for rooting out illegal aliens, and resuming construction of a southern border wall.

Homeland Security Committee ranking member Rep. John Katko (R., N.Y.), Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), and conference chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) proposed the legislation on Thursday, arguing that the 1.1 million illegal crossings so far this year constitute a security threat. Citing an increase in fentanyl seizures by border patrol agents—enough to kill millions of people—the House Republicans say law enforcement isn’t equipped to handle the challenge.

Katko said the administration’s “weak leadership” is squarely to blame for the border crisis, but his bill offers an effective alternative that will address the thousands of migrants flocking to the border each week.

“When the southwest border is lawless, it’s the fabric of all our communities that suffers. And that is unacceptable,” Katko said. “From finishing the border wall system to modernizing technology and bolstering border staffing, this legislation tackles key shortcomings and weaknesses we’ve seen for ourselves that are fueling the border crisis. I am proud to stand with so many of my Republican colleagues to put forth a strong, common sense alternative to President Biden’s failing and destructive border security policies.”

Republicans like McCarthy have repeatedly called for the Biden administration to restore pandemic safety measures like Title 42, which gives border patrol agents broad authority to turn back most migrants. Biden’s overturning of the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program, law enforcement officials say, has also contributed to a 362 percent increase in illegal immigration at the southern border when compared to last year. 

The bill looks beyond traditional border infrastructure to curb the flow of migrants from Central and South America by directing $10 million toward commercial technologies to assist border security and monitoring. Katko also calls for the creation of a border security innovation lab, where officials can test ideas and concepts to make the apprehension of migrants more efficient.

Stefanik, who supports the bill, said the White House’s policies put the American people at risk.

“Biden’s open border policies have been a complete disaster, causing the worst border crisis we’ve seen in over 20 years,” Stefanik told the Washington Free Beacon. “As the number of encounters continues to rise, drugs and weapons are flooding across our southern border, and Democrats have turned their backs on our border patrol agents and law enforcement. I am proud to support this legislation that reinstitutes President Trump’s successful border policies and invests in infrastructure, technology, and support for our federal law enforcement officers. We know these policies work, and Biden’s negligence is dangerous to our national security.”

Katko’s plan comes as the Biden administration seeks a new approach to the immigration crisis. A State Department plan released Thursday aims to address the “root causes” of increased migration, such as a lack of economic opportunities in countries like Guatemala, by collaborating with Central American governments. Vice President Kamala Harris, whom the White House has tasked with handling the crisis, has been the subject of bipartisan criticism due to her management of border security and illegal immigration.

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American Taxpayers Poised To Fund Abortion Overseas

House Democrats pass spending bill gutting pro-life protections

A pro-abortion protester / Getty Images

Patrick Hauf • July 29, 2021 1:40 pm

House Democrats gutted a decades-old bipartisan agreement that prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion overseas in legislation passed Wednesday.

Democrats removed the Helms Amendment from a foreign-related spending bill for the first time since it was introduced in 1973. The bill permanently removes the Mexico City policy, an executive order that Republican presidents have enacted to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding international organizations involved in abortion services. The House passed the bill Wednesday night by a 217 to 212 margin—with 3 Democrats voting against it.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Democrats such as President Joe Biden used to support the Helms Amendment and other bipartisan pro-life protections but are flip-flopping because they rely too heavily on the abortion lobby.

“Abortion is violence against the most vulnerable, not ‘family planning,'” Dannenfelser said. “Americans should never be forced to subsidize abortion on demand through birth at home, to be complicit in human rights abuses overseas, or to export abortion extremism around the globe.”

A January poll from Marist and the Knights of Columbus found that more than three-fourths of respondents oppose taxpayer dollars funding abortion in other countries.

America’s domestic abortion policies are at odds with the rest of the world. The United States is one of only eight countries in the world that allow abortions past 20 weeks, along with China and North Korea. Recent studies have found U.S. abortion laws to be far more extreme than those in other democratic countries. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, more than half of European countries ban abortion after 12 weeks—a policy ruled unconstitutional in the United States.

Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, said the bill is an example of Democrats forcing their radical abortion views on poorer nations.

“By eliminating the Helms Amendment, Democrats are attempting to impose an unwanted abortion imperialism on both taxpayers and developing nations, many of which have pro-life laws,” McClusky said. “Abortion is not development assistance, and American taxpayers should not be forced to fund the abortion industry, either at home or abroad.”

The legislation increases funding for the United Nations Population Fund, to which the Trump administration halted aid in 2017 because of the group’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party’s family planning regimen.

The only three Democrats to vote against the larger bill, which came out of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee, were noted “Squad” members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Cori Bush (Mo.). None of the dissenting Democrats responded to requests for comment.

The Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion domestically, was removed from a spending bill advanced by the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee in July. It is unclear if this spending bill will also pass the House.

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Infrastructure Agreement Filled With Billions for Green Energy, Racial Justice Projects

The bipartisan infrastructure bill contains billions of dollars to remedy supposed racial injustice and combat climate change.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a messaging document circulating among Senate offices to rally support. Much of the document, which is aimed at winning over skeptical GOP lawmakers, appears to be taken word-for-word from a Biden administration fact sheet posted on the White House website on Wednesday. With costs exceeding $1 trillion, the bill promises a variety of ambitious initiatives, including the replacement of “all of the nation’s lead pipes.”

“Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water,” the messaging document says. “The deal’s $55 billion investment represents the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history, including dedicated funding to replace lead service lines. … It will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.”

A section of the bill, called “Reconnecting Communities,” offers $1 billion of dedicated funding to rebuild “street grids, parks, or other infrastructure,” including highways, that “divided” black communities when initially constructed. The bill specifically names highways such as I-81 in Syracuse, New York, that would be rebuilt around black communities, rather than through them. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg previously said that “there is racism physically built into some of our highways.”

The document boasts of the “largest investment in clean energy in history,” which includes building a new “clean, 21st century electric grid” and billions of dollars “for supply chains for clean energy technologies.” The Department of Energy would also be tasked with creating a “digital climate solutions report, including potential for use of artificial intelligence as a climate solution.”

Residents along Amtrak’s Acela corridor will enjoy $6 billion for track maintenance, as part of the “largest federal investment in public transit in history.” Another $60 billion will be given for general passenger and foreign rail funding.

A separate document obtained by the Free Beacon explains how the government will finance the new spending. Most of the sources of revenue appear to be from a variety of accounting tricks, such as the $2.9 billion “from extending available interest rate smooth options for defined benefit pension plans.” Those who support the plan expect another $28 billion to come from “applying information reporting requirements to cryptocurrency.”

The largest portion of funding comes from the “repurposing of certain unused COVID relief dollars,” totaling $205 billion. Another $53 billion comes from “certain states returning unused enhanced federal [unemployment insurance] supplement.”

The bill advanced Tuesday night with a vote of 67-32. Every Democrat in the Senate voted “yes,” as did 17 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). With two-thirds support, the bill is expected to pass the Senate without a GOP filibuster.

Former president Donald Trump lashed out against Republicans who supported the deal, calling Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), who led negotiations between the two parties, a “SUPER RINO.”

“This will be a victory for the Biden administration and Democrats, and will be heavily used in the 2022 election,” said Trump. “It is a loser for the USA, a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb.”

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Top Ohio Republican Partnered With ‘Antiracist’ Education Group

Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose cut ties with Kids Voting Ohio after Free Beacon inquiry

Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose / YouTube Screenshot

Alex Nester • July 29, 2021 4:58 am

A left-wing activist group that provides parents and teachers with radical “antiracism” teaching materials won the endorsement of Ohio’s Republican secretary of state—who says he was unaware of the radical content and has cut ties with the group.

Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose in January threw his support behind Kids Voting Ohio, a group “committed to creating lifelong voting habits in children” by providing them with “all the resources necessary for informed civic engagement.” LaRose joined the group’s board of directors and its website homepage featured the official logo of LaRose’s office, pointing to the secretary of state as one of its main partners. 

Also on the homepage was a link to the group’s “Anti-Racism in Classrooms” resources. Among the resources linked to are “culturally responsive teaching,” author Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, and a video on “white rage.”

A spokesman for LaRose told the Washington Free Beacon that the secretary was unaware of this aspect of Kids Voting Ohio when he gave it his stamp of approval, saying the group took a left turn after securing the endorsement. 

“Secretary LaRose is no longer affiliated with Kids Voting Ohio, nor have we participated in any recent board meetings or the development of any of their content. We were asked to join a few months ago because at the time we shared the goal of engaging young people in Ohio’s safe, secure, and accessible elections,” LaRose spokesman Robert Nichols said. “Unfortunately, the group has strayed far afield.”

LaRose’s office says he requested to leave the board in June after the group refused to remove the “antiracism” material, and that Kids Voting Ohio didn’t incorporate the material until after a May board meeting that LaRose did not attend. But the resource page appeared on the website as early as March 6, the Free Beacon found. LaRose’s logo remained on the Kids Voting Ohio homepage until last week. It was removed shortly after a Free Beacon inquiry about his support for the group.

“Antiracist” educators are increasingly using soft rhetoric to avoid criticism from those who don’t want radical ideas in classrooms. LaGarrett King, a University of Missouri professor and critical race theory scholar, for example, encouraged teachers to edit the “verbiage” they use in their lessons on social justice to avoid criticism from parents.

Kids Voting Ohio did not respond to a request for comment. The group, a local affiliate of the national group Kids Voting USA, has the support of Ohio’s largest teachers’ union. It pledges to bring “project-based learning” to K-12 classrooms across Ohio—so-called action civics programs encourage students to become politically active by linking grades to political activism.

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told the Free Beacon that those who promote action civics often mask their more radical positions with seemingly innocuous wording to win the support of officials like LaRose.

“Action civics advocates deliberately cloak their radical politics in benign-sounding phrases like ‘civic engagement,’” Kurtz said. “Far too many Republicans and conservatives are misled by this innocent-sounding label into supporting programs that amount to leftist indoctrination, very much including action civics and the overlapping Critical Race Theory approach.”

Kids Voting Ohio’s website advertises resources from Learning for Justice, the educational arm of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. The group also touts resources from the Illinois Civics Hub, which Kurtz called “a model resource” for critical race theory-based lessons and action civics.

The trend of promoting “civic engagement” pressures students to do the bidding of left-wing activists. 

“Action civics forces students to engage in political protests and lobbying as part of their coursework,” Kurtz said. “Through a combination of teacher bias, peer pressure, and the biases of the nonprofits that partner with schools that adopt action civics, student action civics protests are almost invariably for leftist causes.”