After a far-right Republican state lawmaker claimed there are no hungry people in Minnesota because he hasn’t met any, then voted against a free school lunch program, extremely conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, considered a right wing “thought leader,” weighed in, declaring Child Protective Services – not free school lunches – is the solution.
He’s getting highly criticized.
Appearing to be reading a question from a supporter, Shapiro said: “If government can protect kids from the sick radical left shouldn’t they also protect kids from hunger? Wouldn’t it make sense to strengthen food stamps and have school lunch be free since some kids are in school lunch debt?”
“Well,” Shapiro responded, “school lunches are not going to solve the problem of child hunger at any serious level. If there is a problem of children actually starving that is a child endangerment scenario to which CPS needs to be called.”
“The truth is it does not take that much money to feed a child. I know I have three of them,” he added.
Ben Shapiro: “School lunches are not going to solve the problem of child hunger at any serious level,” adding “It does not take that much money to feed a child” pic.twitter.com/9Z1x68cZoi
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) March 15, 2023
Shapiro wasn’t finished. He later went on to attack U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who had called the right wing pundit’s remarks “dumb.”
“Let’s do math,” Congressman Lieu had offered. “Say a kid should eat 21 meals a week. School lunches provide 5 of those meals, solving nearly one-fourth of the problem. That’s pretty good. Oh and how about you miss one of your meals five days a week and see how you feel,” he added.
Shapiro responded by saying, “Dear Ted: if you think the key thing standing between kids and starvation is school lunch, that’s silly. If a child is on the verge of starvation, you must call CPS [Child Protective Services], not spend hundreds of millions on disproportionately unhealthy lunches, a huge percentage of which are discarded.”
Physician and professor Howard Forman told Shapiro, “There is pretty good data on this,” meaning the impact of free school lunches. “Why not accept that it’s a damn good program that helps many at low cost,” he asked.
Dr. Forman quoted from this study, writing: “…we find evidence that the receipt of free and reduced-price lunches improves the health outcomes of children.”
Forman also quoted from the study, adding: “we find that the program reduces food insecurity by at least 6%, poor health by at least 33%, and obesity by at least 21%.”
A Twitter account named “Fosters4Futures” which tweets about foster children, blasted Shapiro’s privilege:
“I understand your perspective is entirely rooted in having had the luxury of stability in your life, but I will assure you, when I was starving as a child, the food served for free to poverty level kids was the only food I ate, DURING SCHOOL MONTHS good luck on summer. And I’d steal school food to take home to my baby sister I’m so glad you had a regular source of food as a child that in your mind you think kids aren’t going hungry.”
Michael O’Brien, MD, a pediatrician, responded to the video of Shapiro and wrote: “The same pundits and activists targeting the LGBTQ community, drag queens, and books — in the name of ‘protecting kids’ — don’t give a damn about childhood hunger. 1 in 7 kids in South Carolina suffer from chronic hunger, and universal school lunch would change lives.”
Dr. O’Brien added: “If conservative activists actually gave a damn about kids, they wouldn’t be the ones remaining silent about child marriage, childhood hunger, child abuse (actual child abuse), under funding of public schools, closure of rural pediatric services… Do I need to continue???”
Twitter user Nancy Mathisen asks, “Does Shapiro know that it’s cheaper to feed children an adequate diet through school lunch programs and SNAP, than to send CPS to DO WHAT? Take them away from their families into the foster care system?”
Meg Conley, who writes about the “intersection of women, home, money, and care,” says: “Ben’s making one good point here. School lunches aren’t going to cut it. Let’s do school breakfast, school lunch AND a cash benefit for each child. No means testing for any of it.”
Health and science reporter Benjamin Ryan sums up Shapiro’s stance: “Ben Shapiro does not want the government to engage in one of the most impactful mitigation measures for the deleterious impacts of poverty: providing children with lunch.”
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Peter Doocy Admits No ‘Concrete Evidence Joe Biden Personally Profited’ From Hunter’s Business
In a report focused on House Republicans’ plan to vote on a resolution to open an official impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy told viewers there is no evidence of impeachable offenses.
“The House Oversight Committee has been at this for years, and they have so far not been able to provide any concrete evidence that Joe Biden personally profited from his son Hunter’s overseas business but they are going to try again with this impeachment inquiry set to start next week,” Doocy, who often criticizes President Biden in White House press briefings, said Friday on Fox News Business.
Other news outlets this week have also stressed Republicans have come up empty-handed.
The right-leaning news outlet The Hill, reporting on the resolution Thursday, noted Republicans’ current investigation “has struggled to connect President Biden to the activities of his son, and they’ve failed to prove their most salacious allegation — and the one that would be most key for impeachment: that the president accepted a bribe.”
One of the main pillars of Republicans’ allegations against President Biden, the “narrative that President Biden pushed Ukraine to fire its prosecutor to help his son, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burimsa, has largely been refuted,” The Hill also reported.
“Republicans have engaged in wide-ranging inquiry into Mr. Biden for months,” The New York Times reported Tuesday, “hunting for evidence to back up their allegations that he corruptly profited from his family members’ overseas business dealings and accepted bribes. To date, they have failed to deliver compelling evidence to back up their boldest claims.”
Watch Doocy below or at this link.
Peter Doocy: “The House Oversight Committee has been at this for years, and they have so far not been able to provide any concrete evidence that Joe Biden personally profited from his son Hunter’s overseas business.” pic.twitter.com/a5N44hIRrQ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2023
Jobs Report Forces Fox News to Admit Biden Economy ‘A Lot Stronger Than Anybody Understands’
The monthly jobs report released Friday morning is being heralded as “robust,” “upbeat,” and “stronger than expected,” as unemployment again dropped to a near-50-year low (3.7%) while the economy added another 199,000 jobs.
“It’s the little engine that could, and this little locomotive keeps a chugging along…” declared professor of economics and public policy scholar Justin Wolfers.
“So the last three months have seen jobs growth at a very healthy average rate of +204k per month,” he added. “For context: Average monthly job growth from Jan 2000 to Dec 2019 was +87k.”
“If I had asked you a year ago to sketch what you thought a soft landing might look like,” he said, praising America’s post-COVID pandemic economy, “it’s likely you would have pretty much drawn the current economic data.”
On Thursday, Wolfers had discussed the incongruence between what economic data consistently shows about the strength of the U.S. economy, and what Americans are telling pollsters.
“There’s no question people are telling pollsters they’re miserable about the economy. But riddle me this,” he asked, “Why can’t we find evidence of this pessimism in anything other that public opinion polls? Every non-poll based indicator of confidence suggests folks are optimistic.”
Heather Long, The Washington Post economic columnist, offered this view in response to Friday’s jobs report.
“Step back for a minute and look at this US job market,” she wrote.
“4.7 million more jobs than pre-pandemic
Below 4% unemployment for two years
Wages growing faster than inflation
Women (ages 25 to 54) at an all-time high for labor force participation”
Even Fox News was forced to deliver positive comments while reporting on Friday’s monthly numbers.
“Overall you’ve got to look at this report as a big positive,” admitted pro-Trump Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. “We’ve got more jobs created than expected.”
Speaking to the former chief economist of The White House National Economic Council under President Trump, Bartiromo said, “Joe LaVorgna, you’ve been saying this, the economy is a lot stronger than anybody understands.”
Watch below or at this link.
it’s time for my favorite Friday tradition — Maria Bartiromo having to cope with announcing another strong jobs report pic.twitter.com/bsOIQToEwe
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2023
Right Wing Evangelicals Are ‘Marinating’ in ‘Information Aimed at Making Them Fearful, Hostile’: Journalist
Rather, he argued, it is part of a deliberate campaign to radicalize and terrify them into loyalty — and part of what’s driving that is a “disproportionality crisis” of the information they are receiving.
““If you go to church on Sunday morning, you are going to be in the word with your pastor for, you know, 30 minutes, maybe 40, 45 minutes, and you sing some songs, and you say the prayers, and then you are out in the world for the rest of the week,” said Alberta. “And for most of these folks, as they’re out in the world, they are marinating in talk radio, in cable news, in social media—all of this information that is aimed at making them angry, fearful, hostile.”
Whereas they may hear Jesus’ message of tolerance, love, and forgiveness “on Sunday morning for 45 minutes, but then for 4, 5, 6, 10 hours during the week, you’re hearing the exact opposite. And it’s that ratio being so far out of whack that I think is really at the heart of the crisis here.”
And that’s assuming they’re at a church that will even give them messages of love and forgiveness in the first place — many pro-Trump pastors, like Greg Locke of Tennessee, have messages that are far angrier.
“[Trump] may not share their views, he may not sit in the pews with them, he may not read the good book like they do, but in some way, that’s his superpower,” Alberta explained. “He is free to fight in ways that are, you know, unrestrained, unmoored from biblical virtue. And that relationship with Trump has obviously evolved over the last eight years. What started as this very uneasy alliance for a lot of evangelicals with Trump has now morphed into this situation where, look, desperate times call for desperate measures. The barbarians are at the gates and we need a barbarian to keep them at bay.” This means that Trump’s increasingly dictatorial rhetoric is a natural outlet for the rage and frustration these evangelical voters are being fed.
None of this is to say that Trump has completely unified the evangelical world. Cracks have appeared in recent months, with prominent evangelical leaders like Bob Vander Plaats of Iowa endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis out of concern about Trump’s electoral viability.
Editor’s note: Tim Alberta is an award-winning g journalist, a staff writer for The Atlantic, and author of “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism,” and “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump.”
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