Dr. Eithan Haim (courtesy Dr. Haim)

A Doctor Told the Truth. Then the Feds Showed Up at His Door. Plus. . .

Bipartisan grift reaches new heights. The former Russian official calling for a coup against Putin. The real-life ‘Zone of Interest.’ And much more.

On today’s Front Page from The Free Press: Our next book club. The bipartisan grift is alive and well. Welcome to “Flop Girl Summer.” And more. 

But first, our lead story. 

Around the world, the tide of “gender-affirming care” for minors is receding. Consider these recent developments:

  • This April, London’s Tavistock clinic—once the largest youth gender clinic in the world—was shuttered after the Cass Review revealed gender treatment for minors had privileged ideology over science in England’s NHS. 

  • In Sweden—where legal gender reassignment was first pioneered—the National Board of Health and Welfare last year rolled back hormone therapy for minors except in “very rare cases.” 

  • In France, the National Academy of Medicine now advises “great medical caution” on the subject, citing concerns about overdiagnosis and rising rates of adult detransition.

  • Finland’s authorities placed major restrictions on gender transition care after a study that justified their practices did not stand up to scrutiny

The reversals in Europe have been controversial, of course. Look no further than the hounding of J.K. Rowling for evidence of that. 

But 25 states in the U.S. have followed suit, passing legislation to limit the use of puberty blockers and other gender-related treatments for minors. And yet the debate continues to rage in America, with whistleblowers taking flak for exposing the dangers of gender-affirming care. Tamara Pietzke, a psychologist in Tacoma, Washington, lost her job after she wrote a piece in these pages, arguing that the practice has gone too far.

Now Dr. Eithan Haim, a surgeon in Texas, is also facing blowback for speaking out. The Free Press’s Emily Yoffe reports: 

Eithan Haim, 34, is at the beginning of his career as a surgeon. He and his wife are expecting their first child in the fall. And now he is facing a four-count federal felony indictment for blowing the whistle on Texas Children’s Hospital, where he worked while a resident. 

At TCH, he discovered the hospital was secretly continuing gender transition treatments on minors—including hormonal intervention on patients as young as 11 years old—after publicly declaring, in March of 2022, it would no longer provide such services.

The hospital unwillingly backed away from the treatments under pressure from the Texas governor and attorney general. But Haim found not only were the treatments continuing—the program appeared to be expanding. He recorded several online presentations by medical staff encouraging the transition of children—one social worker described how she deliberately did not make note of such treatment in the medical charts of patients to avoid leaving a paper trail. Haim told me, “They were talking publicly about how they were concealing what they were doing. You can’t take care of your patient without trust. For me as a doctor, to not do something about this was unconscionable.” Read on for more on the hounding of a gender-care whistleblower. 

  1. “This will not be 1968,” says Chicago police superintendent Larry Snelling in response to questions about protesters’ plans to wreak havoc at the Democratic National Convention this summer. The activists have other ideas. (Chicago Tribune) 
    (Read Olivia Reingold and Eli Lake’s Free Press report on the groups spoiling for a fight with cops this summer.

  2. AOC is worried that Trump will “throw her in jail” if he wins the election. “He’s out of his mind,” she told Kara Swisher on her podcast. Well, I guess both sides agree: the rule of law is on the ballot this November. (New York Post

  3. Joe Biden has been a prisoner of the progressive left, but with his latest executive order on the border he’s attempting a jailbreak, argues center-left commentator Ruy Teixiera. “He should extend his jailbreak to other issues, from crime to climate to race and gender, where the progressive left seeks to enforce epistemic closure and prevent sensible moves to the center,” writes Teixeira. (The Liberal Patriot

  4. “Chaos is the new normal,” says Yascha Mounk in his roundup of election results in Europe. Because of the rise of the populist right, argues Mounk, “the distinction between insurgents and the establishment is now as important as that between left and right.” This “double cleavage,” he adds, has “placed ideologically coherent governments beyond electoral reach.” (Persuasion

  5. Have we dodged a recession? Maybe. That’s the unsatisfying answer ahead of the release of fresh inflation data tomorrow with an interest rate decision looming. (Wall Street Journal

  6. It’s not just going to be bad, but really bad, says economist Harry Dent. He’s predicting a stock market crash that would make 2008 look mild. We’re in the “bubble of all bubbles,” said Dent. But then again, Dent is one of those financial doomsayers who has correctly predicted 10 of the last three recessions. (Fox Business)  

  7. The Biden administration is the most progressive in U.S. history, argues George Will: “Biden 2.0 would make matters even worse than would Trump 2.0, but it sometimes takes an ideological micrometer to measure the difference between today’s competing statisms.” It’s a lonely time to be a libertarian in the old-school Will-mold. (Washington Post

  8. Edmundo González Urrutia, a political unknown, leads President Nicolás Maduro by 50 points in the polls ahead of Venezuela’s presidential election. Urrutia emerged as the front-runner after Maduro blocked the former leader of the opposition from running. And he could still do the same to Urrutia. (Semafor

  9. Back from a trip to meet the AI whiz kids of the Bay Area, the economist Scott Sumner concludes: “If you spend a fair bit of time surrounded by people in this sector, you begin to think that San Francisco is the only city that matters.” Sumner is positively smitten by those at the cutting edge of this technology, adding: “If everyone in the world were like these people, even communism might have worked.” Okay, now you’ve lost me, Scott. (The Money Illusion

  10. “Why not just start to listen to the bloody show in the toilet?” The admittedly grouchy lead singer of British band The Who hates the fact that there are no surprises left for audiences. In an age where Taylor Swift fans “need to know” a bunch of elaborate chants and claps to attend her gigs—all because of endless TikTok clips—it’s easy to sympathize with his opinion that “the internet’s ruined the live shows.” (Billboard)

Want Peace in Europe? Eliminate Putin, Says This Former Russian Lawmaker 

Two years ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. It was the largest military attack on a European country since World War II. Reliable casualty figures are hard to come by, but U.S. intelligence officials estimated last August that as many as 200,000 Russians and Ukrainians had been killed in the conflict, with an estimated 15 to 30 million people displaced. 

Congress has allotted $175 billion in aid for Ukraine since the war began. 

But our guest on Honestly today, former member of Russia’s Federal Assembly Ilya Ponomarev, says we need to do more than merely send aid. He says it is imperative that Vladimir Putin’s regime is toppled altogether. And he is actively working to do just that. 

Watch Michael Moynihan’s interview with Ilya below, or catch it on the Honestly feed, wherever you get your podcasts. 

The Next Free Press Book Club: Triumph of the Yuppies

The “young urban professional” became a thing around 1984. That was the year Jay McInerney published his novel Bright Lights, Big City (about a soon-to-be yuppie gripped by existential crisis), and Newsweek devoted an entire issue to this new, semi-terrifying cohort of Americans who numbered from two to twenty million, depending on how you counted.

After the 1987 stock market crash, many believed the age of the yuppie was over. But as journalist Tom McGrath makes clear in his new book, Triumph of the Yuppies, they never went away. His fascinating history of the most reviled archetype of the ’80s is our Free Press Book Club choice for June. Once again, we hope you will join us in reading the book and taking part in the conversation with the author.

To kick things off, Free Press writer and editor Peter Savodnik will soon host a conversation with both Jay McInerney and Tom McGrath. They’ll discuss the go-go ’80s and ask: What can the yuppies teach us about America? 

In preparation for this chat, we want to hear from you. What are your own thoughts about yuppies? What’s the best thing they brought to the ’80s? The worst? And what would you say is their legacy today? Finally, do you have any questions for Jay and Tom on Boomers, Wall Street, and the culture of consumerism? Send your thoughts and questions (although honestly, we’re more interested in the questions) to

→ Long live the bipartisan grift: Do you distrust traditional pollsters? Do you think Joe Biden should go to jail? Do you think Donald Trump should go to jail? Do you think they should both go to jail? If you answered yes to any of the above and also have $84, boy oh boy do we have a product for you. 

“President Prison,” a new fly-by-night company of mysterious provenance, is selling silver coins depicting either Donald Trump or Joe Biden on the front, and their political opponent theatrically frowning behind bars on the back. The choice is yours, and the results will be recorded on the company’s official website, where the pro-Trump coin currently leads at 63 percent. Move over, Nate Silver! The real polling experts have arrived!

President Prison has been hitting the airwaves with TV ads, although not everyone seems willing to go along. Their website beckons you to “Watch the TV commercial REJECTED by these stations,” which include Fox News, CNN, ESPN, the Hallmark Channel, and others. What’s their problem?! Say what you will, but unlike some of those channels, at least the site presents both sides, detailing the arguments for why each candidate should go to prison. That’s more than can be said of most news networks.
River Page 

→ The real-life Zone of Interest: Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was 18 years old when she was sent by prison train to Auschwitz in 1943. She credits her survival to the fact that she played cello in the death camp’s orchestra. She was 20 when she testified during the Belsen Trials against the infamous Nazi doctor Fritz Klein, among others. And she was in her nineties when, a few years ago, she invited the son of the Commandant of Auschwitz into her living room.

The Commandant’s Shadow is a critically acclaimed documentary by Daniela Völker, just released by Warner Bros and available on HBO in the coming months. In it, we see Anita and her eldest daughter Maya in conversation with 87-year-old Hans Jürgen Höss, whose father Rudolf oversaw the murder of more than a million Jews. Hans grew up in the shadow of Auschwitz, and his childhood was the subject of Jonathan Glazer’s recent Academy Award–winning film The Zone of Interest. But here we see Hans and his son Kai sit in the home of Holocaust survivor Anita, who says to him: “It was brave of you to do this.”

According to Völker, it took a year to persuade Hans to take part in the movie. When she first reached out to him, she says, he “had an extremely idealized vision of his father,” and “had spent 80-something years avoiding dealing with who he was.” That avoidance is still obvious. When Anita asks him how he feels about his upbringing, he can barely get past his memory of “an idyllic childhood in Auschwitz.” His dying sister Brigitte, whom we meet briefly, is in even greater denial. “He may have done terrible things,” she says of her father. “But he was a good man.”

Völker’s original plan was to focus on the descendants of Nazis. But she ultimately decided to put them alongside the descendants of Holocaust survivors—and, boldly, emphasize their similarities. Both Kai Höss, a pastor, and Maya Lasker-Wallfisch, a psychoanalyst, speak in The Commandant’s Shadow about how cut off they have felt from parents who refused to talk about their pasts. In many ways, this is a documentary about what cannot be said. After a few preliminary comments, the group gathered in Anita’s living room largely fall silent. They eat slices of cake that Hans has brought as a gift. Afterward, Anita calls the experience “beautiful.”

At a time when it is voguish to demonize those on the other side of history, it’s humbling to hear her say: “The important thing is that we talk to each other and understand each other.” Haltingly and imperfectly, this is what these two individuals with very different memories of the Holocaust are trying to do.
Simi Horwitz

→ Flop girl summer: Cast your mind back to last summer. You might remember how Barbie—and its soundtrackset things off, “pink-pilling” the nation. Or you may recall Taylor Swift’s Eras tour reviving local economies and sending seismic waves rumbling through the ground and making Beyoncé’s own stadium tour only the second most sought-after ticket in town. Country music ruled; Gwyneth Paltrow turned the courtroom into a runway. Every day, if you’re a pop culture vulture like me, was a showstopper. 

This summer things look different, and even a little dismal. The biggest movie blockbusters so far are about a cartoon cat, Pop-Tarts, and an attempt to make tennis sexy. Jennifer Lopez just canceled her summer tour after an attempt at rebranding it fell flat. Olivia Rodrigo, once-beloved Gen Z Avril Lavigne, is now better known as a throwback for Gen X dads. And Billie Eilish recently hosted a live listening party, brought to you by American Express. Meanwhile, The New York Times declared the hottest act touring right now to be the 80-year-old Mick Jagger. 

That’s right, it’s officially a flop girl summer. Last year we went a little too hard on the glitz, glitter, and confetti, and now we have nothing left to give.

Since last summer, we’ve had 31 new songs from Taylor Swift, 27 from Beyoncé, and an entire media company from Dua Lipa to promote her album Radical Optimism, which debuted at number one before sales fell by nearly 90 percent the following week. Sure, Drake and Kendrick Lamar gave us a rap beef that made it all the way to the Oval Office, but even that fizzled out two months too soon. 

But let’s be honest: we’re tired. And a flop girl summer gives us exactly what we need—a long-awaited break. 

One exception is Sabrina Carpenter, whose steamy and energetic song “Espresso” has been owning the season so far. I’m looking forward to lazily playing it on the beach along with her upcoming album, Short n’ Sweet. It’s set to come out August 23. I hope it delivers on its title. —Evan Gardner 

Jonathan recommends Hombre, starring Paul Newman: In this age of moral equivocation, there’s nothing like a good Western to draw the lines.

Mary recommends Seaside Hotel: This delightful Danish series saw us through Covid. Humorous and poignant, with great characters.

Send us your recommendations, Free Pressers. We want to hear about the best place to vacation with your family and the best sleep aids for when you need a vacation from your vacation. What are you wearing for your hikes this summer? Which wine are you rewarding yourself with after? Email

Oliver Wiseman is a writer and editor for The Free Press. Follow him on X @ollywiseman. Additional reporting by Elias Wachtel.

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This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that The Commandant’s Shadow has not yet been released on HBO.

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