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A Novel Interpretation of Matthew 25

Disagreeing with Nancy Pelosi about the Head Start program does not suffice as proof that a person will be damned.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Nancy Pelosi went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday to discuss Archbishop Salvatore Cordelione’s barring her from receiving Holy Communion in his diocese.

Host Joe Scarborough opened the segment by calling the archbishop’s decision “disconcerting.” He noted that “Jesus never once mentioned [abortion] in the Gospels” and instead “told His disciples in Matthew 25 that we would be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven if we gave water to the thirsty, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and brought hope to the hopeless.” Apparently, unborn children do not qualify as “the least of these.”

Pelosi thanked Scarborough “for referencing the Gospel of Matthew, which is sort of the agenda of the Church that is rejected by many who” otherwise “side with” the Church on abortion.

Chapter 25 of St. Matthew’s Gospel, to which Scarborough and Pelosi refer, contains the parable of the Last Judgement. In that parable, Christ separates the saved from the damned on the basis of their having fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger, visited the sick and the prisoner, or not. It has traditionally been understood as an injunction for Christians to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirst, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, and visit the sick and imprisoned. A more novel interpretation of this passage was described by former Attorney General Bill Barr at the University of Notre Dame in 2019:

The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather their commitment to political causes and collective action to address various social problems. This system allows us not to worry so much about the stretchers on our own private lives, because we can find salvation on the picket line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by participating in demonstrations on this cause or on that.

Something happened recently that crystallized this difference between them — these competing moral systems. I was attending Mass at a parish I do not usually attend in Washington D.C. And at the end of Mass, the chairman of the social-justice committee got up to give his report to the parish. And he pointed to the growing homeless problem in D.C., and explained that more mobile soup kitchens were needed to feed them. This being a Catholic church, I expected him to call for volunteers to go out and provide for this need — as volunteers. But instead, he recounted all the visits that the committee members had made to the D.C. government to lobby for higher taxes and more spending to fund mobile soup kitchens.

In this understanding of the parable, feeding the hungry does not require a Christian to actually feed the hungry himself. Instead, the Christian can vote for politicians who pledge to raise taxes on strangers, the receipts from which will be used to fund programs administered by other strangers. This allows the Christian to never come in contact with the hungry or sacrifice anything of substance to ensure the hungry are fed. It reduces living the Gospel to a crude exercise in political science.

This is not to say that Matthew 25 should have no bearing on a Christian’s politics. It should. It is only to say that disagreeing with Nancy Pelosi about the merits of the Head Start program does not, of itself, prove that a person will be counted among the damned when the sheep are divided from the goats.

Speaking of the general judgment, Pelosi added later in the segment that overruling Roe would be “very dangerous in the lives of so many of the American people. And, again, not consistent with the Gospel of Matthew.” Does she think that argument will check out on the Day of Wrath?

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As Washington Toys With War, Americans Worry About Their Wallets

A new poll found that Americans believe salvaging the economy is more important than punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Associated Press published the findings of a poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Tuesday that showed Americans believe salvaging the economy is more important than punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

A slim majority of Americans surveyed by the Associated Press, 51 percent, said limiting damage to the U.S. economy should take priority over more effective Russia sanctions. 45 percent of respondents gave the opposite answer. The last time the Associated Press asked members of the American public this question in April, 55 percent said that punishing Russia via sanctions was more important than staving off economic decline. It’s no surprise that the numbers have flipped over the course of about a month. Loose money policies pursued by the government throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have created inflationary pressures that are just beginning to rear their head. The cost of groceries, gas, as well as other forms of energy and essential commodities have surged—a trend that began prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, no matter how many times Democrats claim this is solely “Putin’s price hike.”

Though 44 percent of Americans said they favor sending aid to Ukraine, while 32 percent are opposed and 23 percent are undecided, an even larger plurality, 49 percent, say the United States should only be playing a minor role in the current conflict.

What remains unclear, however, is if respondents believe providing the Ukrainians $40 billion in aid, which Biden approved Saturday, constitutes the U.S. taking a major role in the conflict. Providing aid to Ukraine is one thing, doling out aid to Ukraine that almost matches the annual budget of the U.S. State Department and nearly equals the Ukraine government’s annual expenditures prior to the pandemic, in just the first three months of the conflict, is another.

It’s more bad news for President Biden, whose approval rating reached a new low this week. Just over one-fifth of Americans have “a great deal of confidence” in Biden’s ability to responsibly navigate the situation in Ukraine. Another 39 percent said they had some confidence, while another 39 percent said they have hardly any confidence.

While Biden’s approval ratings are taking a beating, and deservedly so, given he’s the president, American’s discontent isn’t just a matter of a bad economy and an increasingly unsteady geopolitical environment. Their disapproval is ultimately grounded in the failure of our political elites on the left and right to prioritize America’s domestic challenges over fighting the Russians.

Biden alone is not responsible for the bad economy and for the latest massive aid package to Ukraine. In fact, had it not been for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the Senate would have skipped its standard procedures and moved the bill along via unanimous consent. In the end, only eleven Senators, all Republicans, voted against the $40 billion aid package.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the few Senators that voted against the latest aid package to Ukraine, tweeted, “Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight.”

“That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests,” Hawley wrote in a subsequent tweet.

While Biden’s necessary withdrawal from Afghanistan was poorly executed, many of us on the “new right” thought our drawdown in the Middle East offered an opportunity to refocus on the homeland. Biden’s inability to find a diplomatic solution prior to or in the early stages of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Republican establishment’s willingness to go along with the regime’s latest proxy war, has largely squandered that opportunity.

Washington is hardly ever keen on reevaluating its priorities, which is why things could get a lot worse before they get better.

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The Disinformation Board Is Dead

The board would have cracked down on opinions that undermine the electoral interests of the Democratic Party.

The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly “pausing” its Disinformation Governance Board less than a month after its launch. Nina Jankowicz, the activist appointed to run the board, has apparently resigned.

The DHS working group was formed on April 27 with the Orwellian mandate of countering “misinformation related to homeland security.” The upshot of that mission was made clear when Jankowicz, a self-described “internationally recognized expert” on “misinformation,” was tapped to lead the board.

Jankowicz was a one-time fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where she studied “gendered and sexualized disinformation campaigns against women in politics,” the prevalence of “transphobic” narratives in online discourse, and the “lack of intersectional expertise in content moderation.” She had previously called reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop being dropped off at a repair shop a “fairy tale” and posted a tweet echoing the “confidence” of the so-called intelligence community that the Hunter Biden laptop story was part of a Kremlin-led effort to “push influence narratives, including misleading or unsubstantiated claims about President Biden.” Both the existence of the Biden laptop and the fact that it was dropped off at a Delaware repair shop were later acknowledged by the New York Times, though not in time to prevent Twitter from locking the account of the nation’s oldest newspaper for publishing the same.

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee had intended to hold a hearing earlier this month on “disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation” last week, but Democratic committee leaders cancelled it over apparent fears that Jankowicz would be called to testify. Videos of Jankowicz singing adapted showtunes about “disinformation” did not, as it turned out, inspire confidence in her temperament.

In a fact sheet released earlier this month, DHS argued that the department’s aims in erecting the board were in keeping with “nearly 10 years” of governmental efforts to “address disinformation that threatens our homeland security.” The department cited the work done by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to “mitigate the risk of disinformation to U.S. critical infrastructure” as analogous to the efforts of the DHS working group.

For context, here is CISA’s set of definitions for what constitutes “mis-, dis-, and malinformation”:

  • Misinformation is false, but not created or shared with the intention of causing harm.
  • Disinformation is deliberately created to mislead, harm, or manipulate a person, social group, organization, or country.
  • Malinformation is based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.

Now, I am a Catholic. I share Pope Leo XIII’s view that the liberty “for all to do all things” is not “of itself desirable, inasmuch as it is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights.” At a certain level of abstraction, the mission of the Disinformation Governance Board was similar to that of an ecclesial “censor.” Its concern with “malinformation”—that is, true information that could be distorted or “used” to cause “harm”—bears a certain similarity to the Catholic concept of “scandal.” The idea that mis- and disinformation should be censored and its exponents censured is a secular adaptation of the Catholic adage that “error has no rights.”

But Pope Leo XIII was not appointed to run the Disinformation Governance Board. Nina Jankowicz was. And its putative concern with “mis-, dis-, and malinformation” was aimed not at the promotion of truth and the marginalization of error, but a federal crackdown on thoughts and opinions that undermine the electoral interests of the Democratic Party.

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Rand Paul Does Not Consent

Paul was the only senator who objected to passing a bipartisan $40 billion aid package for Ukraine through unanimous consent.

Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky who won his primary by more than 80 points Tuesday night, is not afraid to stand alone. In 2018, Paul prevented the Senate from passing a $300 billion deal to fund the government without any debate, triggering a short government shutdown in the process. He did the same last year, when the Senate sought to spend $1 billion on replenishing Israel’s iron dome. And over the past week, Paul was the only senator who objected to passing a bipartisan $40 billion aid package for Ukraine through unanimous consent, requiring the Senate to go through normal Senate procedures before dispensing the eleven-figure sum to Zelensky and the Ukrainians.

In exchange for his support, Paul insisted on the appointment of an inspector general that would oversee how U.S. taxpayer dollars were used in America’s efforts to help Ukraine stave off the Russian invasion. In response, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed allowing the Senate to vote on the aid package, and then vote on an amendment that would extend the inspector general for Afghanistan’s prerogative to Ukraine.

Likely knowing his amendment would fail, because why would the Senate open itself up to the threat of accountability, Paul rejected the deal and demanded the legislation be altered to include his language, which would have sent the bill back to the House.

After Paul managed to delay the aid package, defenders of the regime’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine tried to shame Paul with absurd and frantic pronouncements that would have people believe the Kentucky senator completely prevented the aid package from getting to the Resolute desk. One can only dream.

Charles Booker, a former Kentucky State representative who is seeking to unseat Paul this November, tweeted his condemnation. “Rand Paul does not give a damn about our safety or survival,” Booker wrote. “He opposes aid to Ukraine for the same reason he opposes relief here at home: he doesn’t think our government has a responsibility to help anyone but his super wealthy friends.”

“Is Rand Paul still holding up US aid to Ukraine?” Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation tweeted. “Ukrainians are dying every hour while this buffoon grandstands, already with a long history of defending Putin and courting Russian investment.”

Chris Hahn, a left-wing pundit, proclaimed, “the Senate is broken,” via Twitter.

“90% of Americans support aiding Ukraine,” Hahn tweeted. “1 Senator, Rand Paul, blocked passage of Aid to Ukraine.”

Olexander Scherba, the Ukrainian ambassador to Austria from 2014-2021, said Paul’s move amounted to failing to defend Ukraine’s liberty on Twitter.

“What amazes me is the amount of understanding @RandPaul brings for Putin, but not for defending #Ukraine’s liberty,” Scherba’s tweet read. “Liberty – does it ring a bell? You sure you’re “libertarian conservative” & not putinterian conservative? #StandWithUkraine #ArmUkraineNow”

Adequately defending Ukraine’s democracy, according to Scherba, requires America to undermine its own legislative procedures. With people like this at the helm, it’s no surprise Ukraine’s democracy has been in shambles for years.

But Paul, rather than upend all that is holy and good, is standing up to a Senate procedure that has been terribly abused. It is true that unanimous consent agreements are essential to ensuring the Senate’s business proceeds and have been used informally since the Founding era. The first formal unanimous consent agreement in 1846 to place an end date on the Senate’s debate on the ratification of the Oregon Treaty, however, set an unintended precedent. Senators agreed to Sen. William Allen of Ohio’s proposal for using unanimous consent to limit debate, “provided it was not to be regarded as establishing a precedent,” as then-Kentucky Sen. James Morehead said.

While unanimous consent agreements continued to be used after 1846, when Lyndon B. Johnson became Senate Majority Leader in 1957, he saw unanimous consent agreements as a means to strengthen his majority’s hand by micro-managing the entire legislative process.

This is the legislative environment we find ourselves in today. Having the gaul to suggest the Senate goes about its normal order of business when it considers getting more involved in a conflict that has real potential to spiral out of control when the U.S. economy is in dire straits will get you called a Russian stooge. Another question: why aren’t more Republicans objecting to the Senate going about its business this way?

On Monday, the Senate, following typical procedures thanks to Paul, voted to advance the $40 billion aid package by a vote of 81 to 11. Was that hard, McConnell and Schumer? Paul was joined by ten of his Republican colleagues—such as Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, to name a few—in voting against advancing the bill. But, in all likelihood, the aid package will be ready for Biden’s signature by the end of the week.

Maybe Hahn has a point: The Senate is broken.

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Formula for Failure

It is a cruel irony of nature that the female breadwinner cannot feed her child.

Four companies control nearly 90 percent of the infant formula market in the United States. Abbott is one of them.

Back in February, the Food and Drug Administration issued a recall on Abbott’s product, citing infant illnesses; the same month, the agency discovered a deadly bacteria, cronobacter, at the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan. Several infants who had consumed formula manufactured at the Sturgis plant had become sick or died. Naturally, the effects on the national supply were felt quickly.

Yet Abbott claims there is no evidence linking the formula to these infants’ deaths. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint and consent decree against Abbott and three of its executives, saying Abbott staff “have been unwilling or unable to implement sustainable corrective actions to ensure the safety and quality of food manufactured for infants.”

The resulting formula shortage has been too much to bear, nevertheless. The FDA has reached an agreement with Abbott to allow the company to start up production again in two weeks, on the condition that it overhaul its safety protocols and procedures. New products are estimated to reach store shelves by late June or early July. In the meantime, the FDA will streamline its review process for imported formula to make it easier for foreign manufacturers to sell to the U.S., and in a somewhat amusing return to the era of wet nurses, milk banks have gained popularity as another alternative.

The problem is, of course, that like both foreign formulas and domestically manufactured ones, the best natural sustenance for a child also cannot be turned on and off like a switch. While some have asked the obvious question online (Why not breastfeed?) it has been met with the obvious answer. Still, it is worth thinking about how we’ve managed to create a shortage that does not exist as such in nature—in other words, why so many women are dependent on formula, which I would suggest has at least as much to do with culture as it does the real challenges of breastfeeding (and as a first time mom mere weeks from entering the fray, I have learned from mentors that there are plenty).

It would be practically impossible, for example, for a woman to return to an office full-time and also breastfeed her child without some sort of formula supplement. Nature’s supply-and-demand cycle requires she be with her child (or pump) frequently throughout the day, depending on the baby’s stage of development, something even the best office environment would be hard pressed to accommodate for. Environmental factors, too, like stress, malnutrition, dehydration, and fatigue, can also impact a mother’s supply, whatever her intentions of being both full-time feeder and full-time girl boss. Not to mention those mothers who would do anything to stay home but cannot, either because their husbands do not make enough to afford them to slow or stop work, or because they do not have husbands.

What is to be done? Several ideas come to mind, of which paid family leave, remote work, and paying fathers a family wage are only a few. Repairing the corrupt state incentives that have led to our high divorce and single-motherhood rates would be another idea.

The problem of starving children and helpless mothers is nothing new; the solutions, likewise, are hardly revolutionary.

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Ukraine And Russia Put Their Own Spin On V-Day Celebrations In Light Of War

Victory in Europe Day marks not only the anniversary of World War II’s end in Europe, but serves as a reminder of the immense tragedy and sacrifices that go along with the specter of war. Typically, it is a day of diplomacy, where leaders and countries who don’t particularly get along gather, pay respects, and renew their resolve for peace. Such was not the case this year, the 77 anniversary of the Nazi surrender, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In Poland, protesters tossed blood-red paint on Sergey Andreev, the Russian ambassador to Poland, to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The paint covered Andreev’s face and torso and splattered across several others around him as the ambassador was arriving at a service to honor Soviet soldiers who fought in World War II.

A video of the incident showed the protestors continuing their pursuit of the ambassador and other Russian officials soaked in red paint as Andreev went to lay a wreath at the Soviet Military Cemetery. The protestors called the Russians “fascists” and waved Ukrainian flags as they pushed back on the ambassador’s police escort. One protestor mockingly offered Andreev a handkerchief to wipe off the paint.

The Russian Embassy in Poland announced it would file a formal protest of the crowd’s actions, and the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the incident. 

“The demolition of monuments to the heroes of World War II, the desecration of graves, and now the disruption of the flower-laying ceremony on a holy day for every decent person prove the already obvious — the West has set a course for the reincarnation of fascism,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said via Telegram.

The wreath-laying and memorial service was organized after the Russian Embassy in Poland had to abandon plans to host a Victory Day march over security concerns. Prior to the ceremony and assault on the ambassador, fighting broke out between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protestors, causing the police to intervene and separate them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Victory in Europe Day speech Monday also did little to assuage tensions. Zelensky called the Russian invaders “barbarians,” and drew direct parallels between the Nazis and the Russians currently invading Ukraine.

“The Nazis were expelled from Luhansk, the Nazis were expelled from Donetsk, and Kherson, Melitopol and Berdyansk were liberated from the occupiers,” Zelensky said. “The Nazis were expelled from Yalta, Simferopol, Kerch and the entire Crimea. Mariupol was liberated from the Nazis. They expelled the Nazis from all over Ukraine, but the cities I named are especially inspiring us today. They give us faith that we will drive the occupiers out of our own land for sure,” the Ukrainian president went on to say.

Who exactly drove the Nazis from Ukraine, in World War II, again? Zelensky conveniently omits that minor detail. 

Nevertheless, Zelensky continued:

There are no shackles that can bind our free spirit. There is no occupier who can take root in our free land. There is no invader who can rule over our free people.

“Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine,” Zelensky concluded. “We won then. We will win now, too!”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not innocent of using the holiday to justify the continuation of hostilities, either. During a military parade in Moscow on Monday, Putin responded to other leaders’ Victory Day condemnations of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia called on the West for an honest dialogue, to search for reasonable, compromise solutions, to take into account each other’s interests. All in vain. The NATO countries did not want to hear us, which means that in fact they had completely different plans,” Putin claimed. “The danger grew every day. Russia gave a pre-emptive rebuff to aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only right decision. The decision of a sovereign, strong, independent country.”

Certainly, Putin’s concerns about NATO expansion and intervention are not unfounded. But the solution then, as it is now, is a diplomatic one that many world leaders don’t particularly seem interested in at the moment. For that, the Ukrainian people will continue to suffer.

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Yellen Endorses Moloch

The Treasury Secretary isn’t wrong that overturning <em>Roe</em> could hurt the economy. That’s the problem.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies during the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing titled The Financial Stability Oversight Council Annual Report to Congress, in Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington May 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the quiet part out loud earlier today:

“I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she said in response to a question at a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

The suggestion that American women must sacrifice their children for the good of the GDP is certainly revolting. But the thing is, there’s a logic to Yellen’s point. Potential family responsibilities will necessarily distract from wholesale devotion to the corporation. Corporations lose out on valuable employees when women choose to leave the workforce or prioritize family over career.

It seems many corporations understand that as well. In a prospective post-Roe world, a growing number of major companies have announced that they will pay their employees’ travel costs to procure an abortion across state lines. It seems that corporate America has made the calculation that enabling female employees to abort their children costs less than, say, providing robust pro-family benefits. The list of corporations adding these new abortion “benefits” now includes heavy hitters like Amazon, Lyft, Salesforce, and would-be-savior-of-conservative-Twitter Elon Musk’s Tesla. (That Musk’s company is on the list is sign enough for conservatives to be wary of whether he will look out for our interests on Twitter.)

These pro-business, pro-abortion moves lay bare the folly of the compact social conservatives made with corporate America. The histrionics from the left over Justice Alito’s leaked draft opinion show that abortion is about far more than ending a pregnancy. Overturning Roe strikes at the core of the postwar socioeconomic order.

My colleague Micah Meadowcroft made a similar point on the latest episode of TAC Right Now. Micah argued that the fight over abortion isn’t just about the nature of human life and the wrongness of taking innocent life (although, it certainly is that). More broadly, we’re also talking about what human beings are for. The abortion regime is built on the edifice of the sexual revolution, one that renders humans as mere instruments of sexual gratification without consequences. Reconsidering Roe necessarily means reconsidering the prevailing sexual mores that have given us radical feminism, same-sex marriage, no-fault divorce, and rampant pornography. But it also means reconsidering an economic order governed by the same implicit license and self-indulgence.

TAC contributing editor Matthew Walther expands on similar themes, which he first explored in TAC, in a New York Times guest essay today. The title divulges the argument: “Overturning Roe Will Disrupt a Lot More Than Abortion. I Can Live With That.” Walther’s point is that, as he puts it in the conclusion, “What is right is very rarely what is convenient.” We opponents of abortion need to be clear-eyed about the implications of overturning Roe—and ready to construct alternatives.

So in this recognition comes opportunity. The post-Roe world for which the pro-life movement has diligently worked and prayed for 50 years is within reach. But Roe’s effects won’t be undone with one Supreme Court ruling. As Janet Yellen so revoltingly laid bare Tuesday, abortion has been the prerequisite for the economic order cheered by both right and left. Now is not the time for conservatives to seek incremental gains and punch to the right. Now is the time to reimagine pro-life politics and construct a sociopolitical order that incentivizes family over corporate profit. Either we believe abortion takes an innocent life, and order our politics accordingly, or we don’t.

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The Democrats’ Radical Abortion Bill

The Women's Health Protection Act would end every existing federal conscience provision for anti-abortion health-care providers.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced yesterday that he is scheduling a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act for next Wednesday. The bill would allow abortion in all 50 states up to the moment of birth, preempt federal legislation protecting conscience rights, and condemn tens of thousands of unborn children to death in the name of “women’s health.”

The legislation, which passed the Democrat-controlled House in September 2021, bars states from restricting access to “abortion at any point or points in time prior to fetal viability” and from banning late-term abortions when the pregnancy poses “a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.” That effectively legalizes abortion on demand up to birth, as the Supreme Court has held in Doe v. Bolton that “health” encompasses not only a woman’s actual physical health but her “emotional, psychological,” and “familial” health.

Senator Richard Blumenthal told Politico that the Senate version of the bill is identical to the House version, except that omits the House bill’s findings. Those “non-binding findings” included references to “transgender men,” “gender oppression,” and the claim that abortion targets “health care services that are used primarily by women,” implying people other than women can get pregnant.

Senator Susan Collins signaled she is a “no” on this draft of the WHPA because it “doesn’t protect the right of a Catholic hospitals to not perform abortions.” Blumenthal responded that Collins was wrong, and claimed that there is nothing in the bill “that detracts in any way from existing protections based on conscience or religion.”

Blumenthal is either lying or ignorant of the text. The bill expressly preempts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and any law that “impedes access to abortion services.” The latter would include conscience provisions like the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from funding any federal, state, or local government that discriminates against hospitals and other institutions that refuse to provide abortions, and the Church Amendment, which ensures that federal funds for health services are not made contingent on the recipient’s willingness to perform abortions.

The ACLU and other activist groups have targeted both protections for a long time, and were the WHPA or something like it to pass a future Congress—there is next to no chance it passes the current one—you can count on those organizations to claim in court that existing conscience provisions written into law were nullified by the WHPA or its equivalent.

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America First Wins

J.D. Vance was rewarded for his sensible stand against escalation in Ukraine.

J.D. Vance speaks at "Up From Chaos" in March.

J.D. Vance has taken a lot of heat for his views on foreign policy. He’s been willing to point out that the Beltway establishment cares much more about Ukraine’s eastern border than it does about America’s southern border, and to condemn that. The border he cares about is in Texas, not the Donbas, because Mexican fentanyl is killing his neighbors in Ohio. Vance joined the Marines to defend his home, and defend his home is what he seeks to do still.

Donald Trump noticed that Vance puts America and Americans first, and endorsed him in the state’s GOP Senate primary just a few weeks ago. Ohio Republicans noticed too, and gave him the victory last night. America First foreign policy wins.

Before all that, in late March, Vance took time off the campaign trail to make the case against escalation in Ukraine at TAC and American Moment’s “Up From Chaos” conference. Cynics and critics suggested that meant he cared more about what D.C. thought of him than Ohio. But that never made sense; fighting for the cause of restraint and prudence in foreign policy is no way to make friends in this town. No, what Vance understands is that the American leadership class is bad at multitasking and filled with greed. While they’ve been preoccupied with spreading democracy abroad and cashing in on the global financial system, they’ve forgotten about the American middle class, especially the workers of the industrial heartland like in Ohio. Vance spoke out against nuclear-armed war with Russia because he cares about the Ohioans who too often bear the brunt of the Beltway’s reckless policies.

Vance opened his remarks at “Up From Chaos” observing that candidates are advised by consultants not to talk about three issues central to the founding of this magazine: trade, immigration, and foreign policy. Too many important donors who support the status quo on these issues would take offense. While it is somewhat acceptable now, since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, to question orthodoxy on trade and immigration, Vance observed that he has found it uniquely dangerous to dissent on foreign policy. That is where he gets in trouble with elite supporters.

Yet he holds the line. And he won.

You can watch his full keynote address below. 

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Growing Number Of Democrats Look To Abort The Filibuster

Like their pro-choice forebears in 1973, Democrats’ response to this leak from the Supreme Court is to push for the upheaval of yet another American institution of government.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar addresses protestors in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday. (Bradley Devlin/ The American Conservative)

In 1973, nine men in black robes uprooted the American system of government by concocting a constitutional right to abortion. If you tilt your head, use a magnifying glass, and look at the Constitution under the right light, you’ll see “penumbras” in the Bill of Rights that protect a woman’s right to choose. But the barbaric practice of abortion, which has taken the lives of 62 million American children in the almost half century since Roe, could soon be coming to an end in the United States.

On Monday, Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The opinion, written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, would overturn Roe.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito writes. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Like their pro-choice forebears in 1973, Democrats’ response to this leak from the Supreme Court is to push for the upheaval of yet another American institution of government: Ending the filibuster. 

Progressives were quick to pounce on the opportunity to pressure Democratic colleagues into scrapping the old Senate rule.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, less than an hour after the news broke that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe, tweeted, “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.”

Members of the progressive “squad” in the House said the draft opinion proved that it’s time for the Democratic-led Congress to not only put an end to the filibuster but to pack the Supreme Court as well.

Ilhan Omar, a Democratic Representative from Minnesota, tweeted, “Overturning Roe would put the lives of women across the country at risk. It would fly in the face of decades of precedent and the overwhelming majority of public opinion.”

And they will not stop here,” Omar’s tweet added. On that, she’s right.

A subsequent tweet from Omar added, “Congress must also abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade into law.”

Black Lives Matter-activist turned Missouri Rep. Cori Bush struck a similar tone on Twitter:

Abolish the filibuster. Codify Roe. Expand the Supreme Court. Protect abortion rights by any means necessary.

We need all of the above. This is an emergency.

As did Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib. “This will endanger the very people who need access to legal abortion. The Senate must pass the House legislation to codify Roe, #AbolishTheFilibuster, and #ExpandSCOTUS,” Tlaib tweeted.

“Safe abortions are still legal and we must keep it that way,” she added, as if to suggest women should get ‘em while they still can.

It goes without saying that the progressive’s pipe dream of finishing the job FDR started in 1937 is unlikely. But progressives are properly reading the room. By staking out a position for both ending the filibuster and Supreme Court reform early on in the reinvigorated fight over the filibuster and the Supreme Court, they may be able to continue to rid the Democratic caucus of members that support keeping the filibuster.

Case and point: three Senators who addressed protestors who gathered in front of the Supreme Court today.

Amy Klobuchar was the first Senator to address the crowd, a hodgepodge of abortion activists, college students, parents forcing their children to hold pro-abortion signs, journalists, and passersby.

“The fight has just begun,” Klobuchar stated to open her brief remarks. “We will take this fight to the state houses, and we will take this fight to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate right across the street… We will do everything to codify Roe v Wade into federal law.”

“If we really want to get this done, you learned this from the voting bill, how many votes do we need? We need 60 votes. But not if we get rid of that archaic Senate procedure called the filibuster!” Klobuchar said to a raucous applause.

But Klobuchar is a newcomer to the faction of Democratic lawmakers who want to put an end to the filibuster. She first gave her full-throated endorsement of ditching the filibuster to Mother Jones last March.

Though in her endorsement of ending the filibuster Klobuchar claimed she “favored filibuster reform for a long time,” Klobuchar was among 31 Democratic Senators who signed a letter in 2017 in support of maintaining the filibuster.

The 2017 letter, a bipartisan effort spearheaded by Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, asked then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “to preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions as they pertain to the rights of Members to engage in extended debate on legislation.”

“We are steadfastly committed to ensuring that this great American institution continues to serve as the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the letter added.

Of course, this was the last time Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the presidency, and Democrats were using the filibuster to hold up the Trump administration’s executive and judicial appointments. 

Klobuchar isn’t the only senator who changed their tune on filibuster reform in the past year. Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic Senator from Connecticut, also told the crowd that Democrats should end the filibuster to ensure the slaughtering of innocents can continue unabated. Back in 2014, just days after it became clear Republicans would take control of the Senate, Blumenthal said in an MSNBC interview that he would use the filibuster to ensure Republicans could not repeal Obamacare.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen also previously supported the filibuster, but also told those who gathered in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday that he will fight to end the filibuster in the Senate.

Nevertheless, Democrats still don’t have the majority it would require to set a new Senate precedent that kills the filibuster. In response to the leaked Alito draft, Joe Manchin, the most powerful Joe in Washington, told members of the media that “the filibuster is a protection of democracy.” A spokesperson for Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also reportedly told Axios that Sinema’s opinion on the filibuster has not changed, despite the leaked opinion. Without Manchin and Sinema’s support, Democrats are unlikely to end the filibuster.

Which explains why Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, though he called Alito’s draft opinion an “abomination,” has not come out in support of ending the filibuster in light of the news. Schumer supports protecting abortion via federal legislation, and is likely to try and get Republicans on record voting against the codification of Roe under the misguided premise that abortion radicalism will help Democrats come November.

“The blame for this decision falls squarely on Republican senators” who voted to confirm Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court, Schumer said.

Thank God they did. Let’s pray they hold the line and put a well-overdue end to this evil.

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