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Abolitionist Teaching Network — Joe Biden, Bettina Love, and Critical Race Theory

Bettina Love during a TEDx talk in 2014 (TEDx Talks/via YouTube)

If you care about the battle over critical race theory (CRT) in the schools, you need to know about Bettina Love. The Biden administration recently got caught promoting a guidebook from her group, the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN). The booklet asks teachers to “disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression.” Following that revelation, the administration disavowed ATN and claimed that touting its program had been an “error.” Almost certainly, however, Biden’s support for Bettina Love’s ATN was no slip-up. Bettina Love is all the rage among progressive educators (i.e., the entire education establishment), including leading members of Biden’s Education Department. Love may be less well known to critics of CRT than Ibram X. Kendi, Nikole Hannah-Jones, or Robin DiAngelo, but that is our mistake.

Love’s 2019 book, We Want to Do More Than Survive, is arguably the single most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the ideology of the CRT movement in education. Diving into Love’s highly readable and stunningly radical book clarifies, and in some cases virtually decides, a number of live controversies: Is CRT just an obscure and irrelevant legal theory, or is it actively shaping educators and schools? Is CRT Marxist? How should we understand the Left’s new interest in civics and so-called media literacy? What is CRT’s attack on “Whiteness” all about?

We need to consider Love’s answers to these questions, not only because her book is an extraordinary document, but because there is no way the Biden administration can successfully disavow Bettina Love or her group. Love’s ideas are so popular with the progressive “civics” community — including Biden’s own political appointees — that the massive federal civics bills now pending in Congress will fuel her crusade, whether her group gets federal money directly or not.

We Want to Do More Than Survive, the title of Love’s book, alludes to a saying of Maya Angelou: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive.” Who can argue with that? A more accurate title — say, We Need a Socialist Revolution — would have been a tad more contentious. Yet somehow the book manages to move from “thriving” to revolutionary socialism. The connection comes from Love’s life story.

Although her family was not religious, Love spent her early years in Catholic school. The nuns believed they were helping their students, but their rhetoric of colorblind liberalism left Love feeling cold and lost. (Today, Love views the nuns’ colorblindness as actively “anti-Black.”) Everything changed when Love joined an after-school program run by a leftist college student. Dissatisfied by tame liberal stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, Love’s activist teacher tutored his charges in the radical thought of Angela Davis, Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers. Love and her fellow students were being groomed as radicals, and, beyond a doubt, it worked. Till then, Love tells us, she had been operating in mere survival mode. Once she joined this small group of young blacks militantly resisting the crushing power of a racist society, her life turned around. At long last, Love was thriving.

The book’s argument pivots around this moment. Love brands standardized testing and the usual battery of education nostrums as the “educational survival complex.” That edifice of mere survival must be dismantled and replaced, says Love, by an “antiracist” pedagogy in which test scores and grades take a back seat to fighting systemic oppression. Only participation in a movement of societal transformation can allow our young people — and minorities in particular — to thrive, says Love.

Her book’s subtitle, “Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom,” supplies the name of Love’s “Abolitionist Teaching Network.” So, what does Love hope to abolish? Plenty. The educational survival complex must go, as we’ve seen, but also the prison-industrial complex, and pretty much every other pillar of the existing social order, including capitalism. Most especially up for abolition is “Whiteness.” At base, Bettina Love wants to abolish America itself and replace it with an entirely different system.

Love relentlessly attacks this country as a “spirit murderer” of minority children, and worse. Her book opens with an indictment of America by W. E. B. DuBois in which he suggests the need to abandon and replace America’s fundamental “goals and ideals.” Later in the book, Love quotes approvingly from the work of writer Robin D. G. Kelley to clarify her own view of America. Love embraces Kelly’s praise for that tradition of political radicalism that “cannot be traced to the founding fathers or the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.” Along with the Constitution, Love clearly hopes to overturn the “Eurocentric, elitist, patriarchal and dehumanizing structures of racial capitalism and its liberal underpinnings.” The unmistakable implication of this, and much else in Love’s book, is that her ultimate goal is the abolition of America itself. That is, Love wants to replace our constitutional system, and the classical liberalism that helps ground it, with a society built on radically different “goals and ideals.”

Along with America’s core political structures, Love aims to revolutionize our character. She disdains the efforts of educators and policymakers to instill in “dark children” traits like problem solving, zest, self-advocacy, grit, optimism, self-control, curiosity, and gratitude. Love considers education designed to encourage character traits like hard work, discipline, and personal responsibility to be anti-Black. In its place, she wants an education in civics, although not the sort of civics you may be thinking of.

Civic education that teaches children to “pay their taxes, vote, volunteer, and have good character” is rejected by Love as “code for comply, comply, comply.” “History tells us,” Love says, “that dark folx’ humanity is dependent on how much they disobey and fight for justice.” In consequence, Love enthusiastically embraces the practice of “action civics” (what I call “protest civics”), now all the rage on the left. Civics, to Love, means launching protests and acts of civil disobedience aimed at dismantling and abolishing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, classism, mass incarceration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and, ultimately, the American system itself. So, when Love says “civics,” she refers to something utterly opposed to the original meaning of the term.

So-called media literacy is a big part of the protest-civics package, and Love embraces this as well. In fact, her faculty webpage lists media literacy as one of her academic specialties. Supposedly, media literacy helps students distinguish “fake news” from reliable information. In the hands of Love and others like her, however, media literacy is one more tool for politicizing students. Love’s writings prior to We Want to Do More Than Survive focused on “Hip-Hop-Based Education.” While Love grants that hip-hop lyrics may often send the wrong message, she claims that media-literacy coursework on the evils of our racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, and overly commercialized society can remedy the problem. With a little help from a good media-literacy curriculum, hip-hop can be converted into a powerful tool of political resistance, Love claims.

For Love, “civics,” understood as agitation for system transformation, is the very core of education itself. “Abolitionist teaching,” she says, “is not a teaching approach: It is a way of life, a way of seeing the world, and a way of taking action against injustice.” When Love lists real-world examples of “abolitionist teaching,” they nearly all turn out to be political protests: a mass student walkout to protest President Trump’s DACA order; the walkouts for gun control organized by David Hogg and the Parkland students (heroes to the action-civics community); school districts organizing a “week of action” in support of Black Lives Matter, etc.

Notably, after providing a long list of school-based protests, Love ends with an example of abolitionist teaching that has nothing to do with schools per se. She lauds Jackson, Miss., sometimes called “America’s most radical city,” for organizing a “cooperative commonwealth” built around “workers’ power, environmental sustainability, and socialism.” Here is where the politics that so obviously permeate her book receive a name.

Critical race theory derives from Marxism, but treats race as Marx once treated class. Love shows that the CRT-Marxism connection is more than just an historical “gotcha,” and also less than a total transformation. Race does function in Love’s framework as class once did for Marx. “Dark folx,” in her terminology, are the new proletariat. Oppression lends dark folx unmatched insight into the evils of America’s system, thereby marking them as proper leaders of the movement to overturn it. Yet capitalism remains a target for Love, and socialism is clearly her answer. We might call Love’s version of CRT, “race-inflected Marxism.”

But is Love actually practicing “critical race theory”? You bet she is. If you think CRT is just an abstruse legal concept erroneously used by conservatives to identify a contemporary education movement, you are mistaken. CRT has been a force in education circles for a quarter century. Love’s book draws on the extensive CRT education literature, and contributes to it as well. In fact, Love devotes an entire chapter to CRT, which she calls her North Star. CRT, for Love, is the indispensable guide to abolitionist teaching. You could say that Love thinks of her abolitionist education movement as CRT brought to life.

Love herself is a CRT trainer, using the theory to uncover the racism allegedly permeating every element of American society. Because it exposes and debunks “the normalization of the White worldview,” Love also recommends free CRT therapy for teachers. Educators — especially white educators — need CRT therapy, says Love, to understand why recovering from Whiteness is so hard.

Ah, “Whiteness.” Love’s book is a veritable font of knowledge about Whiteness and how to abolish it. According to Love, the white teachers who attend her CRT training sessions often feel uncomfortable. I believe her. There is no easy cure for Whiteness. Love condemns white flight to the suburbs, as well as white gentrification of cities. That does tend to reduce the options on your next move. Love identifies schools as “spaces of Whiteness and White rage.” But what precisely is her cure?

Love’s prescription for the abolition of Whiteness goes something like this: Whites must come to recognize that they are “living a racialized life and . . . having racialized experiences every moment of every day.” Only then can whites speak of justice. More specifically, whites must come to terms with the role played by violence in maintaining Whiteness. That, in turn, requires accepting that their successes in life are merely by-products of Whiteness, and of the violent means used to uphold it.

So, will recognizing all of this finally free up white people from their Whiteness? Not quite. According to Love, “White folx cannot lose their Whiteness; it is not possible.” Yet there may be another way out. Overwhelmed by the guilt and shame they encounter with the help of CRT, white people may ultimately get free of those emotions by acting in solidarity with dark folx in the fight for justice.

Even then, however, daunting challenges remain. According to Love, “Whiteness cannot enter spaces focused on abolitionist teaching. Whiteness is addicted to centering itself, addicted to attention, and making everyone feel guilty for working toward its elimination.” In other words, whites must act in political solidarity with dark folx, yet without taking over the movement. Essentially, whites must support the leadership of dark folx, while surrendering their power and position so as to make that happen. All the while, they must remember that their whiteness can never be truly transcended.

Some might call all of this bigotry. They would be right. In any event, Love’s approach is — very explicitly — an application of critical race theory to the world of education, and beyond.

The publication of We Want to Do More Than Survive in 2019 made Bettina Love a star. She may not enjoy the recognition that national bestseller status has brought to Kendi and DiAngelo. Within the education universe, however, Love is highly influential. Since 2019, she has been a regular contributor to Education Week, the forum of America’s education establishment. Her work now shapes “antiracism” initiatives and curricula at colleges and schools of education across the country, not to mention K-12. As a professor of education at the University of Georgia, Love’s book success enabled her to co-found the Abolitionist Teaching Network in July of 2020, and to speak and consult widely on its behalf since then. ATN, which essentially promotes the program and ideology outlined in Love’s book, held its first national conference earlier this month.

Love is also a favorite of the educators working overtime to press protest civics and media-literacy programs on every state in the Union. The anti-racism resource page at Illinoiscivics.org, the nationally influential flagship site of the Left’s CRT-friendly “civics” community, features one of Love’s Ed Week pieces, along with the very same ATN guidebook the Biden administration got into trouble for promoting. The creation of that resource page was supervised by Shawn Healey, now a national leader of the CivXNow coalition, the most influential backer of several federal bills designed to effectively nationalize America’s civics curriculum.

In other words, if Biden and the Democrats pass a federal civics bill, Bettina Love’s work — and the work of many others who share her politicized vision of protest civics and so-called media literacy — could soon be imposed on the states. That could happen whether Love’s Abolitionist Teaching Network is directly funded by the feds or not. Federal funding for her many prestigious friends and supporters in the leftist “civics” world would be enough to spread Love’s work far and wide. And again, Love, is indicative of a perspective broadly shared by leading figures within the leftist “civics” community. Nearly everyone promoted by the “new civics” movement will be on board with some combination of protest civics and CRT. Love is just more open than most about the nature of that shared agenda.

Since the Biden administration was caught promoting ATN’s attack on “Whiteness,” a series of reports from Fox News have suggested that, despite disavowals, that was no mistake. Top Education Department officials have ties to Bettina Love. The Biden Education Department clearly loves CRT, and that is the important point. The department’s supposed retreat from CRT in its priority criteria for grants in history and civics is smoke and mirrors. So is its disavowal of Bettina Love.

If congressional Democrats manage to pass one of their pending “civics” bills, it will be easy for the Biden administration to route that money to advocates who will not only push the work of the Abolitionist Teaching Network, but many other versions of protest civics and CRT. How, exactly, can Biden’s Education Department do all that? I’ll have more to say on that in the not-too-distant future.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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Insects Are Sentient, Shouldn’t Be Killed, Authors Say

Insects at Protix, the first farm capable of large scale production of insects for use in animal feed that opened in Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, June 11, 2019. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

Rejecting human exceptionalism turns the world upside down and people’s brains inside out. We have seen opponents of human exceptionalism promote animal rights and nature rights. We have even seen one professor declare the supposed personhood of peas.  Now, it is insects’ turn at being anthropomorphized.

As many readers probably know, radical environmentalists want us to prevent meat-eating to stop global warming caused by cow flatulence. But this plan causes horror for two bioethicist types writing in Aeon. Oh, not because they like steak. Rather, such a plan would kill trillions of sentient beings! From “Don’t Farm Bugs:”

Do we want to encourage a food system that farms animals by the trillion?

By number of animals killed annually, the most farmed insects are crickets, mealworm beetle larvae and black soldier fly larvae. The most common slaughter methods on these farms include baking, boiling, freezing and shredding. In most jurisdictions, there are no welfare regulations that govern insect slaughter. Operators are free to kill the insects in whatever manner is most efficient.

So, what’s next? Insect-welfare laws?

Their hand-wringing almost removes their own skin:

Insect farming is the newest way in which humans kill insects in large numbers, it is far from the only way. Humans kill insects for silk, for carmine dye, for shellac (a type of resin) and for many other products. We apply insecticides in our homes, schools and offices. Most significantly, farmers spray vast amounts of chemicals on our fields and orchards, killing more than a quadrillion insects every year with agricultural pesticides.

Insects are people too:

Insects engage in some behaviours that suggest a capacity for positive and negative experiences. For example, fruit flies seem to be capable of anhedonia, a loss of interest in activities previously found to be rewarding, and a common symptom of human depression. If you expose flies to aversive vibrations over several days, their activity begins to change in predictable ways. The shaken flies show reductions in various voluntary actions, though their reflexive behaviour remains unchanged. In particular, shaken flies consume much less glycerol (commonly used as a reward in fruit-fly studies) than non-shaken controls, suggesting that the shaken flies have lost their taste for sweets.

The idea is to not harm anything that is sentient — even if not alive:

One might also argue that our reasoning leads to a slippery slope. After all, insects are not the only beings who at least might be sentient. For example, artificial intelligences have increasingly complex sensory and cognitive abilities. Does our argument imply that we should adopt a presumption against harming them as well? In that case, the implications of our argument could be even more onerous. Can we really be expected to adopt a presumption against harming not only ants and bees but also characters in video games or digital assistants in phones?

Maybe so. Granted, we can draw a line between insects and artificial intelligences for now, since insects are much more likely than artificial intelligences to be sentient. But we might not always be able to draw such a line, since artificial intelligences might not always have such a low chance of being sentient. Perhaps one day insects and artificial intelligences will both have a non-negligible chance of being sentient, given the evidence available at the time. And if and when that day arrives, perhaps we really should adopt a presumption against harming them both, in the spirit of caution.

Sentience is a very low bar. It means, “feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception and thought.” A fly is indeed sentient. So are oysters, which grow pearls when a grain of sand irritates their membranes.

Gee, I wonder what the authors think about late-term abortion, given that fetuses can feel pain. That’s sentience, too. I’ll bet they would say, “That’s different.” Right.

It’s a very long piece, but you get the gist. And don’t think these folk are alone. PETA opposes honey because it involves “raping” the queen bees.

Why point out this nonsense? First, this is the kind of crap that universities now foster among their up-and-coming professors. Second, and more important, don’t say it will never happen. Think of what we laughed at 50 years ago that is now such hard dogma that having a heterodox view can lead to losing your job.

Human anti-exceptionalism must be opposed every time it rears its misanthropic head, no matter how seemingly fringe or unlikely. Failing to do so allows truly harmful ideas to germinate and grow.

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House Democrats Vote to Kill Hyde Amendment

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) presides over the vote to impeach President Trump for a second time on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., January 13, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Every Democrat present in the House on Thursday voted to kill the Hyde amendment:

On Thursday, for the first time in 45 years, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to provide taxpayer funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients.

Since 1976, regardless of partisan control of Congress, every appropriations bill funding Medicaid that passed the House included the Hyde amendment, which bars federal funding of abortion except in rare circumstances. The last time such an appropriations bill came to the floor of the House without the Hyde amendment was in 1993, when Democrats held 258 seats in the lower chamber. Despite the large Democratic majority, there were still enough moderates in the party to add the Hyde amendment — modified at the time to restore federal funding in cases of rape and incest — before final passage.

Democrats now have a slim House majority — holding just 220 seats — but pro-life Democrats have effectively gone extinct in the House. The appropriations bill killing off the Hyde amendment passed the House on a 219-208 vote on Thursday, and a “motion to recommit” offered by Republicans that would have sent the bill back to committee so the Hyde amendment could be added failed on a 217-208 party-line vote.

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Democrats for Life Blasts House Democrats over Hyde Vote

Today, the House passed the first spending bill in 45 years that does not include the Hyde Amendment, one of the most critical pro-life protections that America has on the books. We are deeply disappointed and disturbed that House Democrats removed this bipartisan provision that has protected preborn human life for decades.

Democrats are out of touch with mainstream Americans who overwhelmingly object to funding abortion. 

For a party that champions minority communities, repealing Hyde is the epitome of hypocrisy as minorities are overrepresented in abortion numbers. Over fifty percent of abortions occur among women of color. For a party that cares about protecting human rights, the Democrats turn their backs on the tiniest humans. For a party that normally supports struggling families, this policy tells those families that abortion is the preferred option when they lack the money to raise that child. For a party that opposes protecting and prioritizing corporate interests, removing Hyde will funnel millions of dollars to the corporate interest of the abortion lobby. 

The fight to Save Hyde is not over. Our work is just getting started. We urge pro-life voters to join DFLA in raising their voices to oppose publicly funded violence against preborn children. We demand our tax dollars fund real, life-affirming healthcare options, not the violence of abortion.

The House Democrats have not only removed a law that saves lives, but they have also repealed one of the last olive branches the party had extended to pro-life voters. This decision will have drastic consequences for every single Democrat who voted to repeal it. We urge pro-life voters to make this their priority issue for 2022.  We must show our party that this action is wrong and that votes have consequences.  

We call on Senate Democrats, including Sen. Mark Kelly (AZ), Sen. Tim Kaine (VA), [Sen.] Maggie Hassan (NH), and Sen. Bob Casey (PA), to join Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) in supporting the Hyde Amendment, a common-sense, life-saving policy. 

The Democratic Party needs to stop pretending that abortion empowers women. The Democratic party needs to stop degrading poor and minority communities by killing their future generations.

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20 Things in the News: Transgender Dangers in the Open & More

1. Further evidence we don’t listen to one another — this has never been a secret. 

Perhaps if the annual march to the Supreme Court for exactly that were more widely covered (before Donald Trump showed up).

2.

 

3.

4. Father Considers Lawsuit Against Gender Clinic For Affirming 9-Year-Old Autistic Son As Transgender Lesbian

Bauwens singled out an entry in the case notes that quotes the boy saying “imagination is real” and “reality is dead to me,” which she said “certainly raises concerns about this child’s ability to understand and consent to his treatment plan.”

5. Transgender athletes and the Olympics — Chelsea Mitchell on the unfairness of trans women at the Olympics

Transgender women have advantages that make competition against females inequitable, says an American collegiate runner.

For years I was a top-ranked runner in my home state of Connecticut. Because of the transgender policy, I lost four women’s state championship titles and two all-New England awards, not to mention many other second-and third-place spots on the podium, to biologically male athletes. And I’m not alone; these two biological males bumped more than 80 female athletes out of qualifying for higher levels of competition during numerous events over three years.

6. Wesley J. Smith: At Last! Establishment Pushback Against Puberty Blocking

These hormones and substances were approved for treating pathologies in adolescence, not for preventing normal maturation. Such “off label” uses of these substances is rank experimentation conducted on children.

7. Maya T. Prabhu: Georgia’s abortion rate increases for third consecutive year

The latest figures, for 2020, were released earlier this month as Georgia continues to defend its restrictive anti-abortion law. The law would have banned the procedure in most cases when a doctor could detect fetal cardiac activity — typically about six weeks into a pregnancy.

8. Hannah Yoest: Simone Biles Isn’t Fearless. That’s A Good Thing.

By demanding robotic perfection, Biles’s detractors are denying her humanity.

9.

10.

 

11.

12.  Wu Xiuying Reports for Human Rights Without Frontiers that a bishop and priests were arrested by the CCP for rejecting the Vatican-CCP deal; that the priests have been “re-educated” while the whereabouts of Henan bishop, Joseph Zhang, is unknown. It’s a continuation of Mao’s systematic persecution initiated by the CCP during barbaric cruelties of the Cultural Revolution.

13. After six surgeries, South Sudan bishop who was shot eager to get back

He arrived in early April and was not even yet ordained a bishop when he was shot on April 26, just after midnight, when two armed men broke into the bishop-elect’s house and shot him in the legs.

14. Archdioceses of Boston and St. Louis make masks optional for school. 

15. U.S. students ended the pandemic school year 4 to 5 months behind, a new report finds.

For example, students attending schools whose student bodies were mainly Black or Hispanic ended the school year six months behind where they normally would have been in math, compared with four months behind for students in mainly white schools.

Similarly, students who attended a school where the average household income was less than $25,000 a year were seven months behind in math by the end of the term, compared with four months behind for schools where the average income was greater than $75,000.

16. Covid Misinformation Comes From the Top, Too

The C.D.C. vastly overstated the risks of outdoor spread of the virus, which (at least until the emergence of the Delta variant) appears to be closer to 0.1 percent than as high as 10 percent. Fauci lied — there’s no other word for it — about what he saw as the threshold figure for reaching herd immunity, based, as Donald McNeil reported in The Times in December, on “his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.”

17.

18. The Unfairness of the Marriage Tax Penalty

Marriage should not penalize any taxpayer under our tax laws. Congress should stop treating two married taxpayers, both earning income, as a single taxpayer. That is, in large part, what creates these built-in marriage penalties. The Biden Covid-19 relief bill does not create marriage penalties. Far from it. That bill treats individuals as individuals. Each individual making under $75,000 is entitled to a $1400 stimulus check. If you are married to someone making under $75,000 you and your spouse each get a check. You are not treated as one.

The problem of the marriage penalty is not attributable to the Biden bill. It is attributed to the tax code and it is time to fix that inequity.

19. Breaking the Habit of Outsourcing the Ongoing Catechesis of Our Children

Yes, it is a crisis for the Church who is losing members, but even more it is a crisis for those who disaffiliate because they are flitting away from the Good News that gives life.

We like to look for programs and strategies that will solve our problems. If we could “just press play” on the right thing, that would do it. For this problem, though, there are no shortcuts. We cannot outsource this responsibility. The only way to hand on a faith worth caring about is to become people who are confident in this faith and competent in passing it on. 

20.

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Buying Stuff on eBay to Sell It on eBay

(Illustration: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Every time there is a great advance in communication technology, we tell ourselves the same lie: that it is going to be put to some high purpose. In the early days of radio, people honestly thought that radio would be used mainly to bring the world’s greatest musical ensembles and university lectures into the households of middle-class people and working men. The same thing was said of television and then the Internet. Johannes Gutenberg probably didn’t foresee that the most profitable uses of the press would one day be celebrity diet books and pornography. The major change of the Internet era isn’t that you can listen to MIT neuroscience lectures on your phone — it’s that there isn’t really any money in pornographic magazines, any more. Playboy, once a cultural powerhouse, is today very little more than a T-shirt company.

I have a weakness for techno-optimism, but I am getting over that with some help from the eBay marketing department, which today sent me a solicitation for something called Bulq. Bulq, identified by eBay as a company with which it has an “exclusive partnership,” is a service whereby people can to go eBay and buy things via eBay in order to . . . sell those things on eBay. The proposition here is basically price arbitrage for blithering idiots: Buy goods being liquidated at wholesale prices and then try to sell them at the higher prices at which they did not sell earlier. This is classic greater-fool stuff, and nobody ever thinks he is at the end of the line of the great fools, the apex bozo.

When your local campus knucklehead Marxist talks about the “decadence of Late Capitalism,” this is what he is talking about: buying stuff on eBay to sell it on eBay.

Signs and wonders, etc.

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Liberal Media Lies About Coronavirus and Florida Discredits Them

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference before the 2019 MLS All-Star Game at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., July 31, 2019. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

There is a frustrating amount of glee dwelling within negative reporting on Florida. ABC affiliates run headlines that sound like sports coverage, such as “‘We’re not in a good place’: Florida leading states in COVID-19 cases following spike.” The Associated Press smugly released “Florida mayors defy DeSantis with mask, vaccine mandates,” an article chock-full of snippets from Governor DeSantis’s political opponents. It all seems to be an effort to make an emerging conservative political leader out to be failing.

But he is not.

The media are right to point out that hospitalizations and cases have spiked in the Sunshine State. Medical centers in Tallahassee and Central Florida once again have had to suspend elective procedures because of patient overloads. But the corresponding death spike is not present in the data, as Florida continues to have around 0.24 daily deaths per 100,000 residents. While this is above the national average, it is also below the rate of some Democrat-run states, such as Nevada (0.39 per 100,000), and also fails to account for Florida’s status as the second-most-elderly state in the union. There’s a lot at play here, and you can always count on journalists to omit important details.

The most loathsome thing to recently come out of the media is “The right’s new tone on COVID vaccines,” published by the Los Angeles Times editorial board. The only possible justification for this festering excrescence would be if the entire opinion staff of the LAT suffered a collective bout of amnesia. They claim that, had “DeSantis and other prominent Republicans been as forceful vaccine supporters as President Biden . . . from the start of the immunization campaign, the country might not have to consider new mask mandates and other restrictions.” They must be joking.

What ever happened to the insane vaccine-conspiracy theories peddled by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris before they took office? David Harsanyi has already torn fact-checkers apart for this, but it is worth reiterating that the media appear to have completely forgotten what our president and vice president said only a few months ago. Biden baselessly asserted that the vaccines were “not likely to go through all the tests that need to be done and the trials that are needed to be done.” Harris was spewing nonsense like “if Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it,” along with other unfounded claims that public-health experts under Trump “will be muzzled,” “suppressed,” and “sidelined,” to conceal negative vaccine press coverage. 

Yet the Times has the gall to claim that DeSantis should have been more like Biden. DeSantis, the man who has been inundating his constituents with vaccination-campaign advertisements? DeSantis, the man who has been hawkishly promoting vaccines since the beginning? Who made 27 vaccine-related appearances in January alone? Yeah right. 

Florida led the country in vaccinations among those ages 65 and older, and, as of May 1, over 80 percent of the state’s seniors were at least partially vaccinated. This strategy, to prioritize the vaccination of those most vulnerable, is what has prevented a resurgence of the death counts we witnessed last year, despite the outbreak of the Delta variant.

The LA Times, as is the case with most of the biased media, is totally discredited. They are transparently trying to erase DeSantis’s achievements. They cannot comprehend the idea that someone managed to succeed while ignoring the mainstream pundits’ advice to crush small businesses and houses of worship with totalitarian lockdowns. The fact that Florida’s unemployment rate is lower than those of Michigan, Illinois, New York, and California leaves them indignant. The migration of coastal Americans baffles them — how could anyone possibly want to leave Philadelphia for Jacksonville? So they lash out. And people should know that.

Aron Ravin is a summer editorial intern at National Review.

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More Than $1 Trillion in Pandemic Relief Funds Remain Unspent

(mj0007/Getty Images)

It may seem that there’s no limit to how quickly the government can spend money, but that’s not really the case. Congress can send the money out to federal agencies, states, and localities, but sometimes the money just sits there in the accounts for a long while. Sometimes the bureaucracy is slow moving, sometimes the contracting process takes a while, and sometimes the agency can’t easily find a contractor who can do the work.

The Government Accountability Office estimates that “more than $1 trillion in pandemic relief aid approved over the last year remains unspent, including $156 billion by the Department of Health and Human Services and another $210 billion that was allocated for state and local governments.”

But don’t worry! The new infrastructure bills will not divert unspent COVID-19 relief funding.

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House Democrats Vote to Fund Elective Abortions Overseas with U.S. Tax Dollars

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes part in an enrollment ceremony for the ‘VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 21, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217–212 to fund elective abortions in foreign countries with U.S. tax dollars.

For nearly five decades, regardless of partisan control of Congress, every appropriations bill funding the State Department and foreign aid programs has included the Helms amendment, which prevents international aid from paying for elective abortions. 

But pro-life Democrats have gone extinct in the House of Representatives. In 2020, House Democrats introduced the “first-ever bill to repeal the Helms Amendment.” All but three Democrats voted to pass the bill killing the Helms amendment on Wednesday night, and the three Democratic “no” votes — Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib — didn’t oppose the bill because it would fund abortion.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi may have endangered the Democratic majority by having her caucus vote for taxpayer-funding in foreign countries. Multiple studies have shown that taxpayer subsidies for abortion increases the number of human lives ended by abortion, and the policy is deeply unpopular.

Last year, a Marist Poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus asked Americans if they supported or opposed “using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries.” The result: 76 percent of Americans said they oppose using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries, while 21 percent support it.

Appropriations bills are still subject to a 60-vote threshold in the Senate, which means that the Republican minority can (and certainly would) block final passage of any appropriations bill that lacks the Helms or the Hyde amendment, which prevents federal Medicaid funding of elective abortion. Every House Republican present voted against the bill killing the Helms amendment on Wednesday night.

Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma said earlier this month of the Hyde amendment and the Helms amendment: “Quite frankly, everyone in this room knows this bill will never pass the United States Senate without their inclusion.”

But the budget-reconciliation process allows Senate Democrats to pass a bill with a simple majority, and some Democrats are pushing for a new Medicaid-like program that would fund elective abortions in the United States. 

If Democrats push forward with that proposal, it could ultimately fall to West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin to determine whether Democrats allow taxpayer-funding of elective abortions in the next reconciliation bill. Manchin said in June: “I’m going to support Hyde in every way possible.”