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Updated: 58 min 22 sec ago

Trump Says US Will Declare North Korea a State Sponsor of Terror

1 hour 35 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. will designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terror amid heightened nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Trump said the designation will impose further penalties on the country. He called it a long overdue step and part of the U.S. “maximum pressure campaign” against the North. North Korea would join Iran, Sudan and Syria on the list of state sponsors of terror.

“In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting.

U.S. officials cited the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half brother in a Malaysian airport earlier this year as an act of terrorism.

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The designation had been debated for months inside the administration, with some officials at the State Department arguing that North Korea did not meet the legal standard to be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism.

U.S. officials involved in the internal deliberations said there was no debate over whether the slaying of half-brother Kim Jong Nam was a terrorist act. However, lawyers said there had to be more than one incident, and there was disagreement over whether the treatment of American student Otto Warmbier, who died of injuries suffered in North Korean custody, constituted terrorism.

The officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the deliberations and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The move returns North Korea to the ignominious list for the first time since 2008, when the North was removed in a bid to salvage a deal to halt its nuclear development. In the years since, the North has made advanced leaps in both its nuclear and missile programs, proving the capacity to reach U.S. territories with the devastating weapons earlier this year.

Trump has faced pressure from congressional lawmakers to relist the country amid its advancing nuclear missile program, though some fear it could increase already heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.


Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington.

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Murder Cult Leader Charles Manson Dead at 83

2 hours 49 min ago

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after masterminding the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday night after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.

Manson died of natural causes at a California hospital while serving a life sentence, his name synonymous to this day with unspeakable violence and depravity.

Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, reacted to the death by quoting the late Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who put Manson behind bars. Bugliosi said: “Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.”

“Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,” Hanisee said.

A petty criminal who had been in and out of jail since childhood, the charismatic, guru-like Manson surrounded himself in the 1960s with runaways and other lost souls and then sent his disciples to butcher some of L.A.’s rich and famous in what prosecutors said was a bid to trigger a race war -- an idea he got from a twisted reading of the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”

The slayings horrified the world and, together with the deadly violence that erupted later in 1969 during a Rolling Stones concert at California’s Altamont Speedway, exposed the dangerous, drugged-out underside of the counterculture movement and seemed to mark the death of the era of peace and love.

Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Manson maintained during his tumultuous trial in 1970 that he was innocent and that society itself was guilty.

“These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them; I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up,” he said in a courtroom soliloquy.

Linda Deutsch, the longtime courts reporter for The Associated Press who covered the Manson case, said he “left a legacy of evil and hate and murder.”

“He was able to take young people who were impressionable and convince them he had the answer to everything and he turned them into killers,” she said. “It was beyond anything we had ever seen before in this country.”

California Corrections Department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said it has yet to be determined what happens to Manson’s body. It was also unclear if Manson requested funeral services of any sort.

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Prison officials previously said Manson had no known next of kin, and state law says that if no relative or legal representative surfaces within 10 days, then it’s up to the department to determine whether the body is cremated or buried.

The Manson Family, as his followers were called, slaughtered five of its victims on Aug. 9, 1969, at Tate’s home: the actress, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, Polish movie director Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of the estate’s caretaker. Tate’s husband, “Rosemary’s Baby” director Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.

The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, were stabbed to death in their home across town.

The killers scrawled such phrases as “Pigs” and a misspelled “Healter Skelter” in blood at the crime scenes.

Manson was arrested three months later. In the annals of American crime, he became the personification of evil, a short, shaggy-haired, bearded figure with a demonic stare and an “X” -- later turned into a swastika -- carved into his forehead.

“Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969,” author Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 book “The White Album.”

After a trial that lasted nearly a year, Manson and three followers -- Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten -- were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Another defendant, Charles “Tex” Watson, was convicted later. All were spared execution and given life sentences after the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972.

Atkins died behind bars in 2009. Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson remain in prison.

Another Manson devotee, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975, but her gun jammed. She served 34 years in prison.

Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934, to a teenager, possibly a prostitute, and was in reform school by the time he was 8. After serving a 10-year sentence for check forgery in the 1960s, Manson was said to have pleaded with authorities not to release him because he considered prison home.

“My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system,” he would later say in a monologue on the witness stand. “I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.”

He was set free in San Francisco during the heyday of the hippie movement in the city’s Haight-Ashbury section, and though he was in his mid-30s by then, he began collecting followers -- mostly women -- who likened him to Jesus Christ. Most were teenagers; many came from good homes but were at odds with their parents.

The “family” eventually established a commune-like base at the Spahn Ranch, a ramshackle former movie location outside Los Angeles, where Manson manipulated his followers with drugs, oversaw orgies and subjected them to bizarre lectures.

He had musical ambitions and befriended rock stars, including Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. He also met Terry Melcher, a music producer who had lived in the same house that Polanski and Tate later rented.

By the summer of 1969, Manson had failed to sell his songs, and the rejection was later seen as a trigger for the violence. He complained that Wilson took a Manson song called “Cease to Exist,” revised it into “Never Learn Not to Love” and recorded it with the Beach Boys without giving Manson credit.

Manson was obsessed with Beatles music, particularly “Piggies” and “Helter Skelter,” a hard-rocking song that he interpreted as forecasting the end of the world. He told his followers that “Helter Skelter is coming down” and predicted a race war would destroy the planet.

“Everybody attached themselves to us, whether it was our fault or not,” the Beatles’ George Harrison, who wrote “Piggies,” later said of the murders. “It was upsetting to be associated with something so sleazy as Charles Manson.”

According to testimony, Manson sent his devotees out on the night of Tate’s murder with instructions to “do something witchy.” The state’s star witness, Linda Kasabian, who was granted immunity, testified that Manson tied up the LaBiancas, then ordered his followers to kill. But Manson insisted: “I have killed no one, and I have ordered no one to be killed.”

His trial was nearly scuttled when President Richard Nixon said Manson was “guilty, directly or indirectly.” Manson grabbed a newspaper and held up the front-page headline for jurors to read: “Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares.” Attorneys demanded a mistrial but were turned down.

From then on, jurors, sequestered at a hotel for 10 months, traveled to and from the courtroom in buses with blacked-out windows so they could not read the headlines on newsstands.

Manson was also later convicted of the slayings of a musician and a stuntman.

Over the decades, Manson and his followers appeared sporadically at parole hearings, where their bids for freedom were repeatedly rejected. The women suggested they had been rehabilitated, but Manson himself stopped attending, saying prison had become his home.

The killings inspired movies and TV shows, and Bugliosi, the prosecutor, wrote a best-selling book about the murders, “Helter Skelter.” The macabre rock star Marilyn Manson borrowed part of his stage name from the killer.

“The Manson case, to this day, remains one of the most chilling in crime history,” veteran crime reporter Theo Wilson wrote in her 1998 memoir, “Headline Justice: Inside the Courtroom -- The Country’s Most Controversial Trials.” ”Even people who were not yet born when the murders took place know the name Charles Manson, and shudder.”


AP writer Michelle A. Monroe contributed to this report. This story contains biographical information compiled by former AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch. Deutsch covered the Tate-La Bianca killings and the Manson trial for The Associated Press and has written about the Manson family for four decades.

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. That material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Why the Mike Pence Rule is as Christian as it is Wise

4 hours 50 min ago

In a New York Times op-ed piece titled "A Christian Case Against the Pence Rule," Katelyn Beaty argued that, "It's time for men in power to believe their female peers when they say that the rule hurts more than helps." Based on my own experience, scriptural principles, human nature, and the unanimous testimony of all my female peers, I would argue strongly that the Pence rule (or, in the past, the Billy Graham rule) is both Christian and wise.

Beaty is correct in noting that the Pence rule does not directly relate to the conduct of alleged sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein. No one is assuming that most men try to rape and abuse the women they meet.

Still, she writes:

The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, “I can't meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.” If that's the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.

But this is a complete misunderstanding of the Pence Rule.

Being Mindful of Appearances

First, there is the issue of appearance.

Let's say you're a married man in your 50s. Your executive assistant is an attractive woman in her 30s. On a regular basis, you're doing work together over meals, sometimes over lunch and sometimes over dinner.

Do you think it might look a little suspicious to see the two of you together in restaurants day after day? Not just talking but also laughing and appearing to enjoy your time together? Do you think it would be unnatural for people to notice and wonder, "Are they getting a little too close? And isn't he married?"

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And what if you had to dismiss this woman from her job because of incompetence, embittering her towards you? If she launched an accusation against you years later, claiming you had a clandestine sexual relationship with her, many might say, "Well, they did seem a little too close. In fact, he seemed to spend more time with her than with his wife. Maybe something was going on."

Beaty cites a situation that baffled her:

A former colleague at a Christian nonprofit threw her back out while on a business trip. Lying in pain in her hotel room, she asked her co-worker to carry her suitcase from her room. He refused to enter the room. One wonders what he thought was going to happen. In this and other cases, personal purity seems to take precedence over the command to love your neighbor.

But she's missing the point entirely. The reason I wouldn't go into a woman's hotel room alone is primarily because of appearance (with awareness of the potential of a false accusation). Second, because of precedent (if I did it in this case, why not in another case?). The simple solution is that the door is open at all times and that the two people aren't left alone in the room together. This way, the man can carry the woman's suitcase without making anyone uncomfortable.

These days, with new scandals hitting the Internet every day, is this too much to ask? Is this really a hardship and burden?

And what about the idea of setting an example for others? Perhaps you are totally disciplined. In 100 years, you would never be unfaithful to your spouse. The fact is that plenty of others aren't that strong. They might be emboldened by your example, thereby opening the door to their own downfall.

Christian leaders are called to be above reproach. With rampant sexual immorality everywhere to be found, both inside and outside the Church, you really can't be too careful.

Acknowledging Attraction

Second, there is the issue of attraction.

Males and females are naturally attracted to each other, both physically and romantically. And while men might be drawn more to outward appearances than women -- or, more moved by sexual lusts -- emotional attraction comes to all.

These days, we can be in almost constant communication with co-workers and employees via email and text. So there's already a steady flow of interaction taking place. Add to that spending time alone together -- working in a building late at night (which also raises the question of bad appearance), having meals together, driving in a car together -- and you're almost guaranteed to spend more time with that opposite-sex co-worker or employee than with your own spouse.

Christian leaders are called to be above reproach. With rampant sexual immorality both inside and outside the Church, you really can't be too careful.

And what if you're going through a rough stretch at home? What if your wife is stressed out, caring for yet another child while finances are limited. You are consumed with your job. What if you and your spouse have lost the romantic spark? But that co-worker or employee of yours find your jokes funny and your stories interesting?

To deny the possibility of emotional or romantic attraction is to deny reality. That's why Beaty completely missed the point when she explained the Pence Rule as saying, "Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away."

Guarding Against Adultery

Third, there is the issue of adultery.

There's a reason "Do not commit adultery" is included as one of the Ten Commandments. There's a reason some of the great leaders in the Bible fell into sexual sin. There's a reason Paul constantly warned against sexual immorality. And there's a reason that the porn industry is so pervasive and powerful to the point that many Christians struggle with addiction to porn.

There is a strong sex drive in human beings, especially men. Women feel pressure to make themselves sexually attractive. (And yes, some women struggle with porn and sexual addiction as well.)

The Bible addresses this time and time again. Not because it is a sterile rule-book designed to take away our fun. But because it is a user's manual drafted by our Creator. And if we play with fire, we will be burned.

In years past, I watched some of my colleagues (or leaders) destroy their lives and ministries through sexual sin, and I'm aware of my own human weakness. That's why I wholeheartedly affirm the Pence Rule. And that's why I've sought to live by it for decades as well. Better safe than sorry.

WH: Trump Not Stumping for Moore Due to Discomfort With Bid

5 hours 39 sec ago

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump isn’t campaigning for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore because of “discomfort” with the sexual misconduct allegations made by several women but isn’t calling on the controversial judge to drop out of the race because the state’s voters should decide, the White House says.

Ultimately, Trump doesn’t know who to believe following decades-old allegations made one month before the Dec. 12 election, according to his aides.

One Republican senator urged Alabama voters to reject Moore in the special election even if that could mean ceding the seat to a Democrat and narrowing the GOP’s 52-48 Senate edge. A second GOP lawmaker suggested there was “a strong possibility” that a write-in candidate -- “a proven conservative” -- could win, though no name was mentioned.

“We are uncomfortable with the explanations that Roy Moore has given to date,” said White House legislative director Marc Short. Speaking of Trump’s position, Short said: “Obviously if he did not believe that the women’s accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore.”

Still, Short added the “38-year-old allegations” were virtually unprovable. “At this point, we think he has been a public figure in Alabama for decades, and the people of Alabama will make the decision, not the president, not the leader of the Senate, not members in Congress.”

Moore, a former state Supreme Court justice twice removed from office, has denied the accusations that have surfaced only recently, and pledged to remain in the race. The special election will determine who fills the remainder of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ term, until January 2020.

Before the allegations emerged, Trump had backed current GOP Sen. Luther Strange in the Sept. 26 primary to determine Sessions’ successor and campaigned in the state, a Republican stronghold.

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After Moore’s victory, Trump made clear he would back the anti-establishment candidate enthusiastically promoted by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. But since the allegations aired, the White House has said Moore should drop out if they were true. Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones, a former prosecutor, in the Dec 12 race.

Budget director Mick Mulvaney said while the White House had “serious concerns,” it was hard to weigh in against Moore. Moore’s name cannot be removed from the ballot before the special election even if he withdraws from the race, though a write-in campaign remains possible.

Trump “doesn’t know who to believe. I think a lot of folks don’t,” Mulvaney said.

Short, pressed repeatedly about whether Trump still supported Moore, said: “I don’t think you have seen him issue an endorsement. You have not seen him issue robocalls.” Short added, “I think you can infer by the fact that he has not gone down to support Roy Moore his discomfort in doing so.”

Moore has forcefully denied the charges as “unsubstantiated” and “fake” even as more women have come forward to make complaints of sexual improprieties. Two women by name have said Moore molested them in the 1970s when one was 14 and the other 16 and he was a local district attorney in his 30s, and three others said he pursued romantic relationships with them around the same time.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are among the many national Republicans who have urged Moore to step aside. Sessions told Congress last week he has “no reason to doubt” the women.

“I hope that the voters of Alabama choose not to elect him,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “I don’t know Doug Jones at all, but I’ve never supported Roy Moore. And I hope that he does not end up being in the United States Senate.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said “it is in the best interest of the country, as well as the state of Alabama, from my perspective, for Roy Moore to find something else to do.” Scott said he thinks there was “a strong possibility with a new candidate, a new Republican candidate, a proven conservative, that we can win that race.”

Moore’s candidacy has left GOP officials in a bind, especially after GOP Gov. Kay Ivey said she will not postpone the election and will vote for Moore. The Alabama Republican Party has also thrown its support behind Moore.

A Moore victory would saddle GOP senators with a colleague accused of abusing and harassing teenagers, a troubling liability heading into the 2018 congressional elections.

McConnell has said Moore would almost certainly face a formal ethics complaint in the Senate if he were elected. Such an ethics complaint could lead to a Senate vote on expelling him.

Short appeared on ABC’s This Week, Mulvaney spoke on NBC’s Meet the Press, Collins was on ABC and CNN’s State of the Union and Scott spoke on Fox News Sunday.


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Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

White House Open to Striking Health Provision From Tax Bill

5 hours 24 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says it’s willing to strike a health-care provision from Senate legislation to cut taxes and overhaul the tax code if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Donald Trump’s top legislative priorities.

The provision would repeal a requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine, but has emerged as a major sticking point for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote the White House needs. Collins said Sunday that the issue should be dealt with separately.

Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the White House is open to scrapping the provision, which would repeal a key component of the Affordable Care Act health law enacted by President Barack Obama. Trump had pressed for the provision to be added to the bill, partly to show progress on the GOP goal of undoing the health care law following Congress’ failed attempts to repeal it earlier this year.

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“I don’t think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare. We absolutely want to do it,” Mulvaney said Sunday. “If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great.

“If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re OK with taking it out,” Mulvaney added.

Legislative director Marc Short said Sunday that the White House “is very comfortable with the House bill,” which does not include the so-called individual mandate. But Short also said the White House views the mandate as a tax and “we like the fact that the Senate has included it in its bill.”

At issue is a provision to repeal the requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine. Eliminating the individual mandate would add an estimated $338 billion in revenue over 10 years that Senate tax-writers used for additional tax cuts.

Collins said Sunday that the tax advantage that some middle-income consumers would reap under the tax bill could be wiped out by repealing the mandate. She said they would face higher insurance premiums coupled with the loss of federal subsidies to help them afford coverage.

“The fact is that if you do pull this piece of the Affordable Care Act out, for some middle-income families, the increased premium is going to cancel out the tax cut that they would get,” Collins said.

Collins said she hasn’t decided how to vote on the bill because it will be amended before it reaches the Senate floor. But her vote is crucial in a chamber where Republicans hold a slim 52-48 advantage.

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became the first Republican to declare opposition, saying the plan wouldn’t cut business taxes enough for partnerships and corporations. GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Rand Paul of Kentucky have also expressed concerns.

Republicans can lose just two senators on the final vote, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking 51st vote in his capacity as president of the Senate. Democrats are not expected to support the bill, as was the case when the House passed its version last week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the mandate amounts to “an unfair tax on poor people.”

“The president thinks we should get rid of it. I think we should get rid of it,” he said, but added: “We’re going to work with the Senate as we go through this.”

Mulvaney and Collins were interviewed on CNN’s State of the Union. Mnuchin spoke on Fox News Sunday. Collins also appeared on ABC’s This Week, as did Short.


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Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

France Seeks to Ban Muslim Street Prayers in Paris After Clashes

5 hours 27 min ago

Muslims won't be allowed to hold mass prayers on the streets of a Paris suburb where protesters and worshipers have clashed in recent weeks, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Sunday.

Weekly street prayers have taken place in the suburb of Clichy-la-Garenne every Friday since the local mosque was shut down by authorities in the spring. Local politicians and protesters have tried to stop the street prayers and the national government is ready to take action.

"They will not have prayers on the street, we will prevent street praying," Collomb told Franceinfo in an interview published Sunday. "We will make sure we resolve this conflict in the next few weeks."

Collomb emphasized that "Muslims must have a place of worship to pray" while acknowledging that the current solution doesn't work.

Dozens of French politicians sang the national anthem Nov. 11 as they marched into a gathering of around 200 Muslims in the area. A mayor, members of parliament, local councilors and civilians walked under a banner reading "Stop Illegal Street Prayers"as they tried to push worshipers out of the town's market square.

Riot police had to separate the groups to avoid a potentially violent confrontation.

#Clichy Toujours plus loin dans le surrealiste : ce sont bien des elus avec leurs echarpes qui ont tente d'aller bousculer les fideles. Mouvement de foule, bousculade, chutes… Les gendarmes s'interposent.

— Theo Maneval (@TheoManeval) November 10, 2017

Populist leader Marine Le Pen also weighed-in and showed support for the protests.

"The Republic must go on the offensive in the face of Islamist provocations," Le Pen said in a tweet. "What is the Minister of the Interior waiting for to restore public order and secularism? Laxity is not an option."

Laxity, or lacite, is the French tradition of keeping religion out of public activity.


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Copyright 2017 The Daily Caller News Foundation

The Hope of Women

7 hours 14 min ago

“It seems undeniable at this point that Hugh Hefner’s death broke open some sort of seal.” My former colleague at National Review magazine, Ian Tuttle, tweeted this the other day, referring to the avalanche of accusations and confessions of men behaving badly in some of the highest echelons of power that has occurred since the death of the Playboy founder. A reckoning appears to be occurring in Hollywood, accompanied by a widespread acknowledgment that something has gone very wrong when it comes to men in power and sex.

Powerful Men and Sex

Why is it that men would ever presume to take what is not theirs? Why is it that women have been too afraid to speak up? Could it be that the expectations of the culture have forced both men and women into untenable positions? Could it be that we’ve been breathing an air that has us believing the other gender exists for gratification rather than awe and reverence?

There was something in that Donald Trump infamous hot-mic incident -- where he described this profane mindset of men in power -- that was clarifying and almost set the stage for all these recent stories. The now-first lady dismissed it all as “what boys do.” One gets the impression that she’s trying to raise her son otherwise. So why would Melania Trump or anyone else tolerate it or otherwise explain it away?

The Catholic Church’s Prediction

When the U.S. Catholic bishops gathered in Baltimore for their annual meeting this past week, there was a presentation noting, among other things, the upcoming 50th anniversary of “Humanae Vitae,” a document that in 1968 seemed to do what my own magazine’s founder was inspired to do vis-a-vis the Cold War, among other things: “Stand athwart history, yelling ‘Stop,'” as it says in the 1955 National Review mission statement. Paul VI, the author of “Humanae,” saw a radical revolution afoot that was going to make the world worse, for women in particular.

Speaking before his brother bishops, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan highlighted prophetic passages from Paul VI’s letter, including: “(A) man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”

And so it happened. And so we live among the ruins.

The Value of Women

While there are men who have come out to accuse prominent actors of assault and other boorish behavior, the majority of the #MeToo movement testifying to abuse of power has been women, talking about men. Some 30 or so years ago, Pope John Paul II wrote about the role of women in changing the world. He focused on two things in particular, as Mary Rice Hasson, founding director of the Catholic Women’s Forum at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, put it in a talk:

“The first is to bring ‘full dignity’ to the ‘conjugal life and to motherhood.’ The second and related task is that women are called to ‘assure the moral dimension of culture … a culture worthy of the person.'”

Hasson issued a challenge to her sisters in the faith:

Women must be front and center in evangelizing the culture because, as a Church, we must live that truth of complementarity. We believe that there’s something of value created when men and women work together, and we know that the Church needs us -- men and women -- to witness to the love of God in a powerful way, together. And the world needs that witness from us as much, if not more, than it needs the actual work that we do.”

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I’ll add this: Everyone is welcome to join in leading a way out of the misery of seeing others merely as means to instant pleasure or another selfish gain.

Besides “Humanae Vitae,” Paul VI also issued this message that has resurfaced in recent years:

Women, you do know how to make truth sweet, tender and accessible, make it your task to bring the spirit of this council into institutions, schools, homes and daily life. Women of the entire universe, whether Christian or non-believing, you to whom life is entrusted at this grave moment in history, it is for you to save the peace of the world.

With this light shining on the darkest places in Hollywood and elsewhere, there’s a tremendous opportunity to turn the ship around. Women can save the peace of the world, by expecting better for themselves, their sisters, their daughters -- and the men who ought to love them (thank you, those who do!) for all the beauty they bring to existence.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online and founding director of Catholic Voices USA. She can be contacted at


James Robison: High Taxes Hurt the Poor

8 hours 7 min ago

Stream founder James Robison has a message for those who insist on calling for higher taxes on the rich: “Wealth doesn’t create poverty, it is an answer to poverty.”

In a new Facebook video posted Sunday afternoon, Rev. Robison, explains the need to cut taxes. High taxes, he argues, hurt those in needs. “We’re not helping the poor, we are keeping them in bondage.”

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Your Purpose is Revealed in God’s Design and Desire for Creation

9 hours 7 min ago

Deep within each one of us is a hunger to live a life of significance and purpose. The key to satisfying our hunger for meaning is understanding one basic principle: We are stewards of everything we have.

Many Christians would agree with this concept of stewardship. But few are able to articulate how they are to steward. This is because they don't know God's original design and desire for creation. Without knowing that blueprint, it's easy to get lost as stewards.

Theologian Ken Boa writes:

God has entrusted us with certain resources, gifts and abilities. These things rightfully belong to him. Our responsibility is to live by that trust by managing these things well, according to his design and desire.

We at IFWE believe the "why" of our work, both paid and unpaid, is to bring about biblical flourishing (shalom) in the world. That is God's design and desire for His creation. In order to effectively bring shalom in our families, churches, communities and vocations, we must first understand the difference between God's design and His desire.

Shalom in the Original Blueprint

God made everything based on His perfect design. By the power of His own will, that design will be realized:

For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased (Rev. 4:11, NLT).

...He makes everything work out according to His plan (Eph. 1:11, NLT).

The Bible teaches us that from the very beginning, shalom was part of God's design in creation. Scott Kauffmann writes,

Shalom bookends our existence: it characterizes both the Garden and the eternal City, and so provides the vision for our existence in between.

Shalom existed at the beginning of creation, and it's still where God wants us to be focused today.

Shalom in Our Original Job Description

Think about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. There was perfect shalom in the garden -- everything worked just as God designed it to. Shalom was built in to the design of creation. Making more shalom also becomes part of the job description of Adam and Eve -- God's desire for creation.

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When God articulates this job description, the reason Adam and Eve were created, He tells them to "subdue the earth" (Gen. 1:28). In this context, the word subdue, according to scholars Barry Asmus and Wayne Grudem, literally means to go out and make the earth "useful for human beings' benefit and enjoyment," a place for human beings to flourish. In other words, their purpose was to go and work at making more shalom.

If God's desire for Adam and Eve was to create more shalom in a perfect world, how much more does He desire us to cultivate and "reweave" shalom in our broken world?

Equipped to Reweave Shalom

This idea of shalom in the Bible stands apart from all worldly versions of flourishing. It provides not only a vision but also the means by which a person can achieve flourishing:

God reveals through His word His design for our flourishing. Then He equips us to pursue it through His Holy Spirit, who empowers, restores and reforms us by grace. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the "Prince of Shalom" (Isa. 9:6, OJB), shows us what real shalom is.

This gospel calls us back to fulfill our lost and forfeited calling in Gen 1:28. Thus it gives us a taste of shalom in this world and guarantees our experience of shalom in its fullness in the world to come.

Confidence in What We Hope For

Martin Weber writes that this longing for shalom is written on our hearts:

Biblical Shalom is the utopia for which Western civilization has yearned since the days of Plato. It is the failed promise of ancient empires and contemporary politicians, the frustrated dream of formerly love-struck newlyweds.

Yet there is One who has promised us shalom. He will be faithful to deliver on that promise. He made the ultimate sacrifice that we might experience God's shalom both in part in the present world and in its fullness in the world to come. This is what we all long for.

As the Apostle Paul writes, "...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). It is the good work of His grace that equips and enables the work of our hands to reweave biblical shalom -- bringing flourishing to the communities we serve. And that work is motivated by nothing more than our love for him:

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands (Ps. 90:17).

Editor's Note: Be one of the first to hear about Hugh Whelchel's upcoming booklet on this topic of "reweaving shalom" by signing up for the IFWE blog.

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This article is republished with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics ( IFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Visit to subscribe to the free IFWE Daily Blog.

Military Photo of the Day: Target Practice at Night

11 hours 7 min ago

A U.S. Army soldier fires at targets during an nighttime exercise at Fort Carson in Colorado on September 7, 2017. 

Have a great week, everyone!





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Why We Love Farmers Markets

18 hours 7 min ago

Almost every small and medium-sized town has what are called farmers markets. We love them. Some are seasonal. Some open only on weekends. People shops under tents and pay vendors cash. It's all very charming, a nice alternative to superstores.

I just returned from one. I came home with a 4-pound Red Snapper, oversized Brussels Sprouts, beautiful red potatoes, fresh cheese made in the Mexican style, and tubs of spices -- all for less than half what I would pay at a regular grocery store. Plus I enjoyed looking at foods and ingredients from all over the world. So delightful, and so smart financially.

However, there were no tents and no farmers taking cash. This was a permanent building with regular hours of operation, unified checkout lines, and all the necessary technology to take credit cards. Enough of the products there were direct-to-consumer to justify the name “farmers market” but it's also a big business.

You simply would not believe the fish counter. You would think it was Greece or Turkey. Fresh fish (yes, with heads and tails) were everywhere, on ice, all selling for half the price of the frozen stuff at the local store. It was dazzling. And the action! People from all over the world were grabbing tickets (you had to get in line), shouting demands, and piling their carts high.

It was just beautiful, if you like this sort of thing, which I do.

Better Groceries

Still, there is something puzzling about these markets. I have friends who visit or move from foreign countries. I've always been proud of American food markets, but these typically denounce what they find in stores. They think our food is terrible: processed, fake, tasteless, boring, expensive.

For this reason, my friends from Turkey, Israel, and Brazil dread going to the store. They scour through our supermarkets in disgust, and can't understand why we have it so bad -- and that we don't even know it. And they blame our food system for dreadful US health problems and obesity.

Then these people finally discover the out-of-the way farmers markets and come back saying: ok this what food is supposed to be, more or less. But these markets are not mainstream and not entirely accessible. You have to drive the drive and deal with many other inconveniences.

I became curious why this huge wall separates regular grocery stores from farmers markets. There is surely more than marketing going on here.

Why Do Farmers Markets Exist?

What is a farmers market anyway? People think of it as a place where producers sell directly to the consumer without the middleman of the wholesaler. That explains the lower prices.

This is how the trade association pitches itself:

A farmers market is a public and recurring assembly of farmers or their representatives selling the food that they produced directly to consumers. Farmers markets facilitate personal connections and bonds of mutual benefits between farmers, shoppers, and communities. By cutting out middlemen, farmers receive more of our food dollars and shoppers receive the freshest and most flavorful food in their area and local economies prosper.

That's all fine, but it raises the question: why do normal grocery stores not carry the same products as farmers markets? You could observe that it is because the groceries are controlled by food cartels, and there is a certain truth in that. That's what gives you the feeling of getting such an incredible deal at farmers markets.

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Still, that alone doesn't quite explain why we have such a strict distinction in the US between grocery stores and farmers markets. This is not just a different method of getting food to the consumer. There is more going on.

Government, Again

As usual, it comes down to government. In this case, it is all about the regulatory thicket that food has to get through to get to the consumer. Every bit of food sold in the US is subject to regulation. But farmers markets, in particular, are subject to far less.

Why? Part of it comes down to embedded tradition. When the lady at the local Methodist church makes jam, as her mother did and her mother's mother did, she should be able to sell that to raise money for the congregation. Everyone knows that. If the federal government sent in the food police, the headlines would be egregious.

Expand that model out and you basically have the structure of the farmers market. It lives and thrives in relative immunity from the labyrinth of federal regulations that are imposed on conventional stores that depend on broad structures of wholesale distribution.

The regulations are almost always about food safety, the very earliest and most comprehensive form of government regulation to come to the US.

An article from 2013 points out that:

For farmers who sell fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, food safety will be business as usual, despite the federal Food and Drug Administration's new proposed rules governing produce.

‘Business as usual,’ because most market farmers are exempt from the new rules, just as they're exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2010.

As the regulatory thicket has grown, so have farmers markets that are seeking relief, from 2,000 nationwide in 1994 to 8,000 in 2014, according to the Department of Agriculture. It's true that tastes have changed, and many people are looking for fresher, locally grown produce and more exotic ingredients that grocery stores don't typically provide. That said, the relative absence of federal regulation over farmers markets is also a main factor in their growth.

"Unlike fruits and vegetables grown and sold to your local grocery stores, fruits and veggies sold at farmers' markets are often unregulated and even exempted from food safety regulations," points out SafeFruitsandVegetables. The relative lack of regulation accounts for not only the lower prices but the greater variety of produce, meats, and grains.

Spice of Life

And this also affects imports as well, which is why your grocery store has only these lame bottles for $5 whereas the farmers markets has a world of spices for a fraction of the price. The American Spice Trade Association tries to provide a comprehensive guide to the myriad restrictions on spice imports. What you quickly learn is that this is not about tariffs or quotas, the older methods of protectionism. Now the protectionism takes the form of egregious and incomprehensible safety regulations that foreign spice companies can't possibly begin to get comply with.

And this entirely explains why it is that when I was recently in Israel, I enjoyed looking through markets with huge burlap sacks of fragrant herbs and spices, sold for a small fraction of what you can get at the local grocery in the US. The contrast is startling, and foreigners notice this more than anyone else. The rest of us are used to paying $5 for a tiny bottle of ground cumin.

But Why the Cheerios?

Looking through my local farmers market, it seems obvious that not everything here is grown by local farmers, or caught by local fisherman. The place also had a huge aisle full of regular cereal, beer, wine, and even frozen pizza, same as Publix or Kroger.

In other words, in many respects apart from having a wild variety of everything you can't get at a regular grocery store, it has most everything you can. And why? Because there is nothing in the regulations that says that a farmers market can only carry producer-to-consumer products, only that to the extent it does, it has treated differently by federal regulations.

That helps account for one reason that foreign peoples find our food so subpar. There are other factors of course. Sugar tariffs make sugar prohibitively expensive as compared with corn syrup. Then you add to that huge subsidies to corn, and you get the extremely strange situation in which vast amounts of American food are just varieties of corn. We have so much corn that we make our packing out of it. We fry everything in it. We sweeten all things with it. We put it in our gas tanks.

And it just so happens that the US also has soaring rates of diabetes, and the link between consumption of high fructose corn and disease is fairly well established. Dietitians have been sounding the alarm for years now. What's not often noted here is that the core of the scandal of American food: government control. (For more on the corn scandal, I highly recommend the documentary King Corn. You will never look at groceries the same.)

The agricultural regulatory system is so locked down that it seems unreformable. Every line of the code has a passionate defender. Consumers who want freedom of choice, great quality, and low prices are powerless in the face of the regulatory/industrial machinery. The result is a gigantic mess that has the potential to become life-threatening.

Just imagine a world in which everything and everyone were exempt from regulatory control over food. You could buy anything from anywhere, grow or make anything and get it to anyone who wants it for whatever price. Maybe even raw milk! We can manage what we eat -- and there will be plenty of it! -- so long as we are given information, choice, and a truly competitive marketplace.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the fish counter at the market I visited.


Originally published at Republished with permission.

102-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Reunites With Newly Discovered Nephew

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 23:25

KFAR SABA, Israel (AP) -- Eliahu Pietruszka shuffled his 102-year-old body through the lobby of his retirement home toward a stranger he had never met and collapsed into him in a teary embrace. Then he kissed both cheeks of his visitor and in a frail, squeaky voice began blurting out greetings in Russian, a language he hadn’t spoken in decades.

Only days earlier, the Holocaust survivor who fled Poland at the beginning of World War II and thought his entire family had perished learned that a younger brother had also survived, and his brother’s son, 66-year-old Alexandre, was flying in from a remote part of Russia to see him.

The emotional meeting was made possible by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial’s comprehensive online database of Holocaust victims, a powerful genealogy tool that has reunited hundreds of long-lost relatives. But given the dwindling number of survivors and their advanced ages, Thursday’s event seemed likely to be among the last of its kind.

“It makes me so happy that at least one remnant remains from my brother, and that is his son,” said Pietruszka, tears welling in his eyes. “After so many years I have been granted the privilege to meet him.”

Pietruszka was 24 when he fled Warsaw in 1939 as World War II erupted, heading to the Soviet Union and leaving behind his parents and twin brothers Volf and Zelig, who were nine years younger. His parents and Zelig were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto and killed in a Nazi death camp, but Volf also managed to escape. The brothers briefly corresponded before Volf was sent by the Russians to a Siberian work camp, where Pietruszka assumed he had died.

“In my heart, I thought he was no longer alive,” Pietruszka said. He married in Russia and, thinking he had no family left, migrated to Israel in 1949 to start a new one.

Then two weeks ago, his grandson, Shakhar Smorodinsky, received an email from a cousin in Canada who was working on her family tree. She said she had uncovered a Yad Vashem page of testimony filled out in 2005 by Volf Pietruszka for his older brother Eliahu, who he thought had died.

Volf, it turned out, had survived and settled in Magnitogorsk, an industrial city in the Ural Mountains. Smorodinsky tracked down an address and reached out to discover that Volf, who had spent his life as a construction worker, had died in 2011 but that Alexandre, his only child, still lived there. After Smorodinsky arranged a brief Skype chat, Alexandre decided to come see the uncle he never knew he had.

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Smorodinsky, a 47-year-old professor from Ben-Gurion University in southern Israel, invited The Associated Press to record Thursday evening’s reunion at his grandfather’s retirement home in central Israel.

Upon meeting, the two men clutched each other tightly and chatted in Russian as they examined each other’s similar facial features.

“You are a copy of your father,” said a shaking Pietruszka, who has a hearing aid and gets around in a rolling walker. “I haven’t slept in two nights waiting for you.”

Throughout the meeting, Alexandre swallowed hard to hold back tears, repeatedly shaking his head in disbelief.

“It’s a miracle. I never thought this would happen,” Alexandre, himself a retired construction worker, kept saying.

It did, thanks to the Yad Vashem database of pages of testimony, whose goal is to gather and commemorate the names of all of the estimated 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. The Names Recovery Project has been Yad Vashem’s flagship mission in recent years. The memorial’s very name -- Yad Vashem is Hebrew for “a memorial and a name” -- alludes to its central mission of commemorating the dead as individuals, rather than mere numbers like the Nazis did.

It hasn’t been an easy task. The project began in 1954, but over the following half century, fewer than 3 million names were collected, mostly because the project was not widely known and many survivors refrained from reopening wounds, or clung to hopes that their relatives might still be alive.

The names collected are commemorated in the museum’s Hall of Names, a cone-shaped room whose walls are lined with bookshelves containing folders upon folders of testimonies. Still, until 2004, more than half of the allotted folders remained empty.

That year, the database went online and provided immediate easy access to information in English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish and German. Thanks to a high-profile campaign, and the efforts of Yad Vashem officials who have gone door-to-door to interview elderly survivors, the number has surged to 4.7 million names.

Another rewarding byproduct has been that of tech-savvy grandchildren using it to research their families, leading to emotional reunions between various degrees of relatives from around the world.

The rate of reunions has trickled significantly in recent years as elderly survivors have passed away, making each one increasingly significant, said Alexander Avram, the director of the database.

“It is not too late to fill out pages of testimony. We need to document each and every victim of the Holocaust,” he said. “But such a reunion is a very special moment because we are not going to see a lot more of them in the future.”

Debbie Berman, a Yad Vashem official at the reunion, said it was incredibly moving to be there for “the end of an era.”

“This is one of the last opportunities that we will have to witness something like this. I feel like we are kind of touching a piece of history,” she said.

For Pietruszka, a retired microbiologist and great-grandfather of 10, it was a fulfilling coda to a long, eventful life.

“I am overjoyed,” he said. “This shows it is never too late. People can always find what they are looking for if they try hard enough. I succeeded.”


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Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Border Agent Dies After Being Injured in Texas

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 23:00

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) -- Authorities are searching Texas’ Big Bend area for potential suspects and witnesses after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent was fatally injured responding to activity there.

Border Patrol spokesmen said they could not provide any details Sunday on what caused the agent’s injuries or what led to them. Spokesman Carlos Diaz says the FBI has taken over the investigation.

Another spokesman, Douglas Mosier, says that 36-year-old agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were transported to a local hospital, where Martinez died. Martinez’s partner is in serious condition. His name wasn’t released. Martinez had been a border agent since August, 2013 and was from El Paso.

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Border Patrol records show that Big Bend accounted for about 1 percent of the more than 61,000 apprehensions its agents made along the Southwest border between October 2016 and May 2017. The region’s mountains and the Rio Grande make it a difficult area for people to cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico.

Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt. We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017

The Border Patrol website lists 38 agents who have died since late 2003, some attacked while working along the border, and other fatalities in traffic accidents. It lists one other agent death in the line of duty this year.


Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or republished.

People are Mad the Museum of the Bible Represents ‘Only a Judeo-Christian Perspective’

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:25

Some people have voiced frustration with the fact that the Museum of the Bible only represents a "Judeo-Christian" perspective and leaves out other religions Friday.

These critics say the Museum of the Bible, within walking distance from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., doesn't reflect other religious point of views, such as an Islamic one, and also singularly focuses on American Protestantism, reports The New York Times. One professor also critiqued the museum for not telling viewers which areas in the Bible are historically accurate or not.

"There are a number of prominent omissions that make it clear that it's not a museum of the Bible as one might imagine it from a secular perspective. They don't do a good job of talking about whether parts of the Bible are historically accurate," Joel S. Baden, Yale University's professor of the Hebrew Bible, told the outlet. Baden also disagreed with the lack of representation of Islam and Mormonism in the Museum of the Bible.

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The Museum of the Bible, with six floors of religious pieces, opened Saturday to the public. Described as a "must see" museum of 2017 by the Smithsonian Institute, the museum offers viewers the opportunity to see some of the earliest Bibles made in the United States, as well as witnessing an Israeli scribe working on a Torah and parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hobby Lobby CEO Steven Green founded the museum and set up the foundation that would fund the $500 million project.

Museum executive director Tony Zeiss said the museum was trying to educate people about an influential historical text, noting that 100 scholars added their input during the museum's creation.

"Things are divisive, but we will not get into any of the cultural or social debates if possible. We just want to present the Bible as it is, and let people make up their own minds," Mr. Zeiss told The NYT.


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Copyright 2017 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Why Amnesty Should Not Be Part of Any ‘Deal’ on DACA

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:00

Talk of amnesty deals are making the rounds again in Washington. Here's what you need to know.

Apparently, the battles over tax reform, Obamacare, and the looming spending bill aren't enough to keep Congress busy. There are increasing rumblings that some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for ways to give legal status to illegal aliens currently in the United States.

When President Donald Trump was candidate Trump, he promised that if elected he would end the program known as DACA--the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that gave legal status to illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as minors.

The program was one of President Barack Obama's most famous and arguably unconstitutional runs around Congress. He couldn't get lawmakers to do what he wanted so he took it upon himself to create a new law via unilateral executive action.

Not exactly what the Framers likely had in mind if you read Articles I and II of the Constitution on the roles of the legislative and executive branches of government.

Which is why the Trump administration's Department of Justice was absolutely right earlier this year to announce a six-month wind-down of the program with an end date next March. And because Congress, not the president, has the power to make or alter our laws, the ball is now back in its court.


Unfortunately, the only actions many in Congress seem interested in taking when it comes to immigration reform are the tried and true failed policies of the past.

Give amnesty now to those here illegally with a promise of later securing the border and doing the hard work to improve our country's immigration system.

Democrats are threatening to shut down the government if so-called "Dreamers" aren't given a "pathway to citizenship" in the end-of-year spending bill Congress must pass in early December.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are also considering various legislative amnesties, including a Senate proposal dubbed SUCCEED, the Solution for Undocumented Children Through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending Our Nation Act.

Here's the deal: Whether it's granting amnesty outright -- as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a host of other Democrats want to do -- or whether it's granting amnesty to those here illegally if they agree to jump through some additional loopholes, it's still amnesty and it is still unfair to the millions of people trying to come here legally.

And, oh, by the way, it does not solve our illegal immigration problem. History and previous flawed actions by Congress prove it makes it worse.

We tried in 1986 when we gave legal status, supposedly a one-time deal, to 2.7 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. Fast forward to 2017, and we have 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants now living here.

And all the border security and serious enforcement measures promised in 1986 that were going to come later? They never materialized.

More recently, there was the surge in illegal border crossings during Obama's second term as the president handed out promises of amnesty through executive orders and his administration did little to enforce our immigration laws.

Proponents of amnesty and those who don't want to do the hard work of real immigration reform are likely to dangle smaller and unpopular measures like getting rid of diversity visas in exchange for granting amnesty to the DACA population.

There's no doubt that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program needs to go, but we shouldn't trade one bad policy for another.

The same goes for debates over family, or what is popularly referred to as chain migration, workplace visa programs, sanctuary cities, border security measures, and how to improve the legal immigration process itself. All of these policies should be debated on their individual merits and whether they benefit America.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, impacts our country's culture, economy, and security.

Some in Congress may be tempted to play "let's make a deal" on amnesty and pretend they are doing something about our broken immigration system.

It's time lawmakers know that game is over.


Copyright 2017 The Daily Signal

The Comedy Team of Hillary and Franken

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 17:28

I’m feeling a bit like Al Pacino in Godfather III. “Just when I thought I was out on vacation, she pulls me back in.”

Last year I warned those who weren’t around in the 90s that a Clinton presidency would be exhausting. (That from someone who voted twice for Bill. Hillary was thrown in at no charge, as they liked to say.) Should she win, hardly a day would pass without a Clinton scandal, shock or bit of silliness. Hardly an hour without some bit of corruption or moral corrosion.

I was wrong. Hillary lost and still the nation’s stuck with the nonsense.

Clinton also slammed the “politicization of the Justice Department.” That’s a classic. Like “I’m not some housewife just baking cookies.” Or the “vast right wing conspiracy.” Or “What difference, at this point, does it make?!” Or “deplorables.”

Last week, Clinton gave an interview to Mother Jones that was the mother of all Clinton-esque moments. She likened to a dictatorship the notion of investigating any connection between Russia bribing US officials to get our uranium, her foundation getting $145 million from those interested in the deal, and her signing off on the deal. Clinton also slammed the “politicization of the Justice Department.” That’s a classic. Like “I’m not some housewife just baking cookies.” Or the “vast right wing conspiracy.” Or “What difference, at this point, does it make?!” Or “deplorables.”

The head of the DOJ met with her husband in the middle of an investigation into her criminal activities and forced the FBI director to describe that investigation as a "matter." That same FBI not only changed the wording of their original assessment in her favor. It's just been revealed they deliberately gave the investigation "special status" to keep the investigation away from the career guys and in the hands of a small group led by then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe’s the guy whose wife got $700K from Hillary's henchman Terry McAuliffe for her “campaign” in the midst of the investigation.

Ironically, Clinton declaring the Uranium One allegations baseless and debunked came while other outlets were playing old video of Clinton saying the sexual allegations against her husband are baseless and debunked.

Then, in another interview, Hillary once again attempted to nullify the election. She said there were “questions about its legitimacy” and Russian interference was responsible for her loss. And she bemoaned the lack of remedy in our system to rectify the situation.

Remember when Trump suggested he might not accept the results of the election if it was proven there was funny business? She basically called him a traitor. Here she is openly rejecting the 2016 election, which was certified by all 50 states. By her own standards, does Benedict Arnold need to make some room for Hillary in history’s penalty box?

Bill the Predator, Sen. Gillibrand the Opportunist

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who owes her political fortunes to the Clintons, now says Bill should have resigned because of the Lewinsky scandal. Why does she say that now? Because Gillibrand is thinking of running for President and doesn’t want the weight of the Clintons on her back. I love her campaign slogan: “I’m Behind You 100% … Until I Push You Off a Cliff.”

She’s not alone. You’re hearing a lot in recent days from Democrats and the media about the “Reckoning” with Bill Clinton’s behavior. The Clintons, they say, are over.

I suspect it isn’t the result of self-examination. It’s self-preservation. The Storm is coming. It will shake the foundations (and Clinton Foundation) so strong the media won’t be able to hide it.

But by shedding the Clintons now, they’ll be able say they’re old news.

Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken may be the only one in Washington praying for the Storm to hit. The photo of him groping the sleeping Leeann Tweeden has put a big target on his head. Even his old show Saturday Night Live took a shot at him last night.

Although Democrats are loath to call their criminals and creeps to account, Franken poses a problem. You can’t well object to Alabama electing Roy Moore after allegations of assault when you’ve got photographic proof of your guy with his paws on Tweeden’s chest.

Franken has apologized. Tweeden has accepted. Hillary’s applauding his accepting responsibility. I had no idea she was even familiar with the concept.

Still, the question arises: Would he have apologized if Tweed hadn’t released the picture? Of course not. It’s not like he apologized in the 11 years since the incident.

I do credit for Franken for not saying, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

I also am not in the chorus of those calling for Franken to resign over this. Yes, Franken is an obnoxious unfunny blowhard who stole his 2008 Senate election from incumbent Norm Coleman. If he did resign I might well sing the chorus from “Hey, Hey, Goodbye.”

The Comedy World

However, given my background I have a different perspective than most. The comedy world is bawdy, risque, vulgar and offensive. Like coal dust for miners it simply is part of the work atmosphere. When I worked for All Comedy Radio our lawyers made every visitor and guest sign a release absolving ACR of any responsibility for what they might see and hear.

The perpetual search for a gag or joke can easily leave you oblivious to lines of taste and decency. It’s the job hazard. For men and women both. (Kathy Griffen and the severed Trump head, being one example.)

I’d love to say I was completely above such things. Yes, I tended to avoid blue humor and when I was in a position to make it happen our content cleaned up dramatically. However, I am also the guy who wrote a bunch of jokes about Columbine an hour after it happened. I get that Franken can look at his groping photo now and go, “What in the world was I thinking?!”

I’m not excusing Franken. He’s responsible for his actions. I’m simply pointing out that his antics with Tweeden are no more surprising than finding flour all over a baker.

What I am doing, based on the grace God showed me, is granting Franken a couple years out of the comedy world to have purged himself of its harmful effects. If there are no accusations of harassment since he’s been a senator, then I’m okay with letting Tweed’s acceptance of his apology and her desire for him not to be booted stand.

Then I hope the next time he’s up for re-election the voters of Minnesota will decide against the blowhard. Hey, who knows? Perhaps Franken & Clinton can become the next Martin & Lewis.

Just watch yourself, Hillary, if you do any USO shows.

Zimbabwe President Defies Mounting Pressure to Leave Office

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 15:24

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe defied calls to quit Sunday, saying he will preside over a ruling party congress in December in an announcement that could trigger impeachment proceedings this week and more protests demanding his ouster.

In a televised address, the 93-year-old Mugabe acknowledged what he said were “a whole range of concerns” of Zimbabweans about the chaotic state of the government and the economy, but he stopped short of what many people in the southern African nation were hoping for -- a statement that he was resigning after nearly four decades in power.

The once-formidable Mugabe is now a virtually powerless, isolated figure, making his continued incumbency all the more unusual and extending Zimbabwe’s political limbo. He is largely confined to his private home by the military. The ruling party has fired him from his leadership post, and huge crowds poured into the streets of Harare, the capital, on Saturday to demand that he leave office.

Yet the president sought to project authority in his speech, which he delivered after shaking hands with security force commanders, one of whom leaned over a couple of times to help Mugabe find his place on the page he was reading.

The Central Committee of the ruling ZANU-PF party voted to dismiss Mugabe as party leader at a meeting earlier Sunday and said impeachment proceedings would begin if he does not resign by noon Monday. Mugabe made no reference to the party moves against him, instead saying he would play a leading role in a party congress planned for Dec. 12-17.

“The congress is due in a few weeks from now,” Mugabe said. “I will preside over its processes, which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public.”

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Mugabe has discussed his possible resignation on two occasions with military commanders after they effectively took over the country on Tuesday. The commanders were troubled by his firing of his longtime deputy and the positioning of unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe to succeed him. He referred to the military’s concerns about the state of Zimbabwe, where the economy has deteriorated amid factional battles within the ruling party.

“Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I, as the president of Zimbabwe, as their commander in chief, do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people,” Mugabe said.

The deputy whom Mugabe fired, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is positioned to become Zimbabwe’s next leader after the party committee made him its nominee to take over from Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980.

Committee members stood, cheered and sang after Mugabe was removed from his post as party leader. Meeting chair Obert Mpofu referred to him as “outgoing president” and called it a “sad day” for Mugabe after his decades in power.

“He has been our leader for a long time, and we have all learned a great deal from him,” Mpofu said. But Mugabe, he said, “surrounded himself with a wicked cabal.”

The meeting replaced Mugabe as party chief with Mnangagwa and recalled the first lady as head of the women’s league, in decisions set to be ratified at the party congress next month. The committee accused the first lady of “preaching hate, divisiveness and assuming roles and powers not delegated to the office.”

Zimbabwean officials never revealed details of Mugabe’s talks with the military, but the military appeared to favor a voluntary resignation to maintain a veneer of legality in the political transition. Mugabe, in turn, has likely used whatever leverage he has left to try to preserve his legacy or even protect himself and his family from possible prosecution.

Hours before Mugabe spoke on television, Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the country’s liberation war veterans, said more protests could occur if the president does not step aside. He said he was concerned that the military could end up opening fire to protect Mugabe from protesters.

“We would expect that Mugabe would not have the prospect of the military shooting at people, trying to defend him,” Mutsvangwa said. “The choice is his.”


Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or republished.

City Councilman Resigns After Sexual Misconduct Allegation from 10-Year-Old

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 15:15

A Republican Indianapolis city councilman resigned Friday following sexual misconduct allegations from underage girls.

Jeffrey Miller, 50, a Republican city councilman, resigned from his position after being accused of molesting two young girls at his home, NY Daily News reported.

Miller faces three felony counts of child molestation, according to court records in which he is quoted as acknowledging there might be truth to the allegations. Miller was arrested Friday and faces between two and 12 years in prison if the allegations of sexual molestation are true, the IndyStar reported.

One of the alleged victims, a 10-year-old girl, told her father about the alleged incident involving Miller following the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations. The young girl told investigators that Miller touched her buttocks, under her clothes, and "where the legs meet the groin," according to court documents. The other girl told investigators that Miller touched her buttocks while he gave her a piggy-back ride.

"I defer to [the children]. If I've done something they're uncomfortable with ... perception is reality," Miller told investigators, denying any alleged sexual misconduct despite admitting to touching them and giving massages.

Miller is a widower with a 10-year-old son.   Follow Gabrielle on Twitter

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Copyright 2017 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Meet These Five Stellar Conservatives Trump Just Added to His Supreme Court List

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 15:00

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the addition of five individuals to his outstanding list of potential candidates for a future Supreme Court vacancy.

As was the case with the lists Trump put out during his presidential campaign, these new additions to the list are conservative men and women who are committed to interpreting the Constitution according to its original public meaning.

While there are currently no vacancies on the Supreme Court, rumors abound that Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire in the near future. Here's a look at the new names.

Amy Barrett

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Age: Approximately 45

Barrett, a former University of Notre Dame law professor, was recently confirmed to the 7th Circuit. After graduating from Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School, Barrett clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman on the D.C. Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

She then worked in private practice (where she was part of the team that represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore) before starting her career in academia, teaching briefly at George Washington University and the University of Virginia before joining the Notre Dame Law faculty in 2002.

Barrett is a prolific writer, having published in leading law reviews across the country on topics including originalism, federal court jurisdiction, and the supervisory power of the Supreme Court.

In 2010, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed her to the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, where she served for six years.

At her confirmation hearing in September, Senate Democrats chided her for her writings as a law student in 1998 and asked inappropriate questions about her Catholic faith. But Barrett received robust bipartisan support from the legal community, including from Neal Katyal, a prominent liberal who served as President Barack Obama's acting solicitor general.

Britt Grant

Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia Age: Approximately 39

Appointed to Georgia's highest court by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2016, Grant previously served as the state's solicitor general and in other capacities in the state attorney general's office. She also worked in the George W. Bush administration, serving on the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Cabinet Affairs.

Grant began working at the White House weeks before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and after that horrific day, her mission became making government "as effective as it can be and as protective of liberty as it can be."

Earlier in her career, she served as an aide to then-Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., on Capitol Hill, clerked for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit, and worked in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis, one of the top appellate law firms in Washington, D.C.

She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Wake Forest University.

In a letter recommending her appointment to the state's high court, Kavanaugh praised Grant's "superb" writing, which is "[o]ne of the most important duties" of judges. In her 11 months on the bench, she's heard numerous cases and displayed her excellent writing abilities.

In a recent decision reinstating criminal charges against a woman who secretly filmed her boss in the nude, Grant wrote a special concurrence agreeing with the judgment but not the reasoning of the majority. The majority analogized a state law criminalizing "hostile intrusion or surveillance" by a private party with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She explained, "[t]he statute cannot bear the weight that the Fourth Amendment puts on it when addressing the behavior of private parties and not of the government" and that it "addresses a privacy interest quite different than the one that we all share against government search and seizure."

Brett Kavanaugh 

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Age: 52

A former clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy and graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Kavanaugh worked as a senior associate counsel and assistant to President George W. Bush and as an associate independent counsel.

He was nominated to the D.C. Circuit in 2003 but not confirmed until 2006.

Former Attorney General William Barr stated that Kavanaugh "quickly established himself as one of the key outside lawyers I went to on some of my toughest legal issues. He has a keen intellect, exceptional analytical skills, and sound judgment. His writing is fluid and precise. I found that he was able to see all sides of an issue and appreciate the strengths and weakness of competing approaches. He was particularly effective in dealing with novel issues which required some original thinking."

Since joining the bench, Kavanaugh has distinguished himself as a thoughtful, apolitical jurist, who is not afraid to stake out bold positions on complex issues. We included him on The Heritage Foundation's list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

Kavanaugh recently delivered the annual Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture at Heritage -- joining the ranks of Justice Clarence Thomas and many other renowned federal judges. He spoke eloquently about the judiciary's essential role in maintaining the separation of powers.

Kevin Newsom

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Age: Approximately 45

Kevin Newsom, former all-star appellate lawyer, was confirmed to the 11th Circuit in August. After graduating from Samford University and Harvard Law School, Newsom clerked for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain on the 9th Circuit and Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. He then worked in private practice before serving as Alabama's solicitor general.

After five years of government service, Newsom went back to private practice where he became a partner at Birmingham's Bradley Arant.

Before joining the bench, Newsom had an extensive Supreme Court practice, arguing four cases at the high court and authoring dozens of cert. petitions and amicus briefs. Newsom has won countless awards for his work, including the National Association of Attorneys General's Best Brief Award four times.

He has argued more than 30 cases in federal appellate courts across the country as well as in Alabama's appellate courts. In 2011, Roberts, the chief justice, appointed Newsom to the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.

Patrick Wyrick

Justice, Supreme Court of Oklahoma Age: 36

Patrick Wyrick is the youngest person on the Trump list, at 36 years old. Then again, Joseph Story was only 32 when he was nominated by President James Madison to serve as an associate justice to the Supreme Court, a position in which he served with great distinction for nearly 34 years.

Wyrick was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court last February, after serving as the state's solicitor general for six years.

As solicitor general, Wyrick argued cases before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and also successfully argued Glossip v. Gross (a case challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection) before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma and that school's College of Law, Wyrick clerked for U.S. District Court Judge James Payne.

When Wyrick was nominated to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, then-State Attorney General Scott Pruitt described Wyrick as "a superb lawyer" and "a constitutional scholar well-versed in both state and federal law ... " He added that Wyrick's "wisdom, compassion, and integrity are unparalleled among the many public servants with whom I've had the pleasure of working."

In his short time on the bench, Wyrick has written some noteworthy opinions, including the majority opinion in a case striking down a fee that the Oklahoma Legislature imposed on cigarette companies for violating a provision in the Oklahoma Constitution that sets forth the procedures that must be followed before enacting a "revenue raising" measure.

Although young, Wyrick's meteoric legal career could ultimately land him on the high court.

We commend the president for taking the utmost care in continuing to identify outstanding individuals to serve on all levels of the federal bench.


Copyright 2017 The Daily Signal

MoveOn Says Toss the Electoral College — Because They Want to Win Elections the Easy Way

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 13:00

Would you like to be governed by the big cities on both coasts plus Chicago and Detroit? Cities that can’t manage their own affairs very well? I didn’t think so.

MoveOn’s members do. The lefty activist group hosts a petition to “Abolish the Electoral College.” It demands “presidential elections based on popular vote. One person one vote to determine the one leader who is supposed to answer to all the people of the country.” It claims, as I write, 651,408 signers.

The Democrats’ Big Advantage

Democrats already have a big advantage even with the electoral college. As I wrote in May about Hillary Clinton’s astonishing ability to lose an election she had in the bag, the Democratic candidate starts knowing he’ll get almost one-third of the electoral college votes he needs. He gets them just by winning California and New York’s 84 votes. As he will.

He’ll also win Illinois, New England and the Pacific Northwest. That adds 48. He’s up to half of what he needs without breaking a sweat or spending a dime.

Normally safely Democratic Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin add 46. That’s 198 of the 270 he needs. Democratic-moving Florida and Virginia add 42. That makes 240.

What does the Republican have? 157 votes, if we take the states that voted Republican since 2000. Not nothing, but not 198 to 240 either.

You have to work hard to lose with an advantage like that. Or do stupid things, like not visit Wisconsin. Or pull some cheap tricks, like cheat Bernie Sanders and alienate his supporters. Here’s another good one: present yourself as a defender of the oppressed while taking vast amounts of money from the people they think oppress them.

Or insult people who might vote for you if you didn’t look down on them. Like calling them “a basket of deplorables. … Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” Not a smart move, Hillary.

If the election were a 100 meter dash, the Democrat would start about 15 meters ahead of the Republican. He could lose, if he fell down or pulled a muscle. Otherwise he wins.

Here’s the explanation: “The Electoral College has outlasted its usefulness,” they say.

It is part of the constitution, written when communication was by pony express. Voters currently living and voting in a “red” or “blue” state are disenfranchised, because their vote doesn’t matter. Eliminating the electoral college means: no “swing” states getting all the attention and all the campaign stops and all the empty campaign promises. The electoral members are selected by the two main political parties, Republican and Democrat, disenfranchising all other voters, independent, Libertarian, etc. End it now.

The Real Result

I think we know why they want to abolish the electoral college: Because it prevents Democrats from winning every presidential election. Maybe I’m being unfair, but I don’t remember liberals showing much interest in the subject after Barack Obama’s two victories.

I don’t remember them being too annoyed with the electoral college after George Bush’s second election. But a Republican was elected, you object. Yes, but the Democrat came closer to winning the electoral college than he did the popular vote. Just 60,000 people in Ohio vote from him rather than Bush, he’s president, even losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

So why do they want to abolish the electoral college, which favors them already? To make sure the country elects a Democrat. If you want the details, read my Clinton Won the Popular Vote, Yeah -- Because of California. Make sure as far as politically possible, I mean, because this party lost an election it should have won the way water runs downhill.

The short version: Clinton won the popular vote by 2.86 million votes. She got all of those and way more -- almost 4.3 million -- in California. One state. By itself. 1.6 million of those came in Los Angeles county alone.

Without California, one state out of fifty, Clinton loses the popular vote by 1.4 million votes. Without California and New York, just two states out of fifty, she loses it by almost 3 million votes. Drop Illinois and she loses by almost 4 million votes. Add the other reliable Democratic states and she gets farther and farther behind. 

Almost forgot those midwestern cities. Chicago, for example, preferred Clinton to Trump by about 768,000 votes. That’s about one-quarter of her national advantage.

MoveOn’s Very Bad Argument

That’s why MoveOn’s petitioners want the president elected by a simple majority. Their argument doesn’t make a lot of sense. It rejects the electoral college because the people who created it used the technology of the time to send mail. (The Pony Express wasn’t created for another 75 years, but we’ll leave out that bit of historical ignorance.) Say what? Would the petition’s writer say that Plato and Aristotle hadn’t thought deeply about politics because they didn’t wear pants? Would they laugh at Abraham Lincoln because he didn’t write the Gettysburg Address on a Macbook Air?

It doesn’t get better. Voters in solidly Democratic or Republican states “are disenfranchised, because their vote doesn’t matter.” But of course their votes matter. They matter in giving each candidate the base he needs to win the election. OK, the vote of a guy in a swing state like Ohio might be (at a guess) .0000003% more likely to change the election than the vote of a guy in Texas or California. That doesn’t enfranchise him or disenfranchise his peers in solid Red or Blue states.

This is the funny one: “Eliminating the electoral college means: no ‘swing’ states getting all the attention and all the campaign stops and all the empty campaign promises.” Soooooo … their votes count because they get “empty campaign promises”? That’s a good thing? 

Anyway, even without the electoral college, the candidates will still go to the swing states more than the others. Because that’s where the swing voters are. 

Maybe the easiest way to counter the petition is this: Does anyone outside the leftwing of the Democratic party want to be ruled by the state that re-elects Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, treated Harvey Weinstein as a god, and four times elected a governor named Moonbeam? 


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