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Updated: 6 hours 32 min ago

Democrat Clings to Lead in Pa. House Race; GOP Eyes Recount

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:03

MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. (AP) -- Democrat Conor Lamb clung to a slender lead Wednesday in a closely watched U.S. House race in Pennsylvania while Republican Rick Saccone eyed a recount in the GOP stronghold friendly to President Donald Trump.

With the last batch of absentee ballots counted, Lamb, a 33-year-old former prosecutor and first-time candidate, saw his edge shrink ever so slightly, to 627 votes out of more than 224,000 cast, according to unofficial results.

The four counties in the Pittsburgh area district have seven days to count the unknown number of provisional ballots.

With the margin so close, supporters of either candidate can ask for a recount.

The Associated Press has not called the race, which is seen nationally as indicator of Democratic enthusiasm and GOP vulnerability heading into the November elections that will determine whether Republicans retain their control of Congress.

Lamb has declared victory. Saccone, a 60-year-old Air Force veteran turned state lawmaker and college instructor, isn’t conceding.

The GOP is considering requesting that election officials impound all ballots and machines in preparation of a recount, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. This person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.

Republicans separately mulled legal action on complaints that party lawyers were prevented from observing the counting of some absentee ballots, voting machines erroneously recorded votes from Lamb, and voters were confused by some information from the state elections website.

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Lamb, a Marine veteran, told supporters Tuesday night that voters had directed him to “do your job” in Washington. “Mission accepted,” he said.

From Saccone came words of defiance: “It’s not over yet, we’re going to fight all the way, all the way to the end, we’ll never give up.”

After the absentee vote count wrapped up Wednesday, Saccone gained 14 votes, trimming Lamb’s lead just a bit in a district that Trump won by about 20 percentage points in 2016.

Regardless of the outcome, Lamb’s showing seemed certain to stoke anxiety among Republicans nationwide and renew enthusiasm among Democrats.

Even before a winner was declared, Saccone was making plans to seek the nomination in a different district later this year. A state court has thrown out the state’s congressional map in a gerrymandering case. The current districts have been redrawn and won’t be the same ones in play in the November election.

Neither Saccone nor Lamb lives in the new southwestern Pennsylvania district that leans solidly Republican without the Pittsburgh suburbs that helped Lamb.

Pennsylvania’s congressional primaries are May 15, and Saccone’s campaign officials say Saccone was now gathering nominating signatures in that new district.

Under the new boundaries, Saccone’s home is in a Pittsburgh-based district that is heavily Democratic and home to longtime Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle.

Lamb is expected to run in a new district west of Pittsburgh against Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus. That district was narrowly carried by Trump in 2016. It is far less friendly to Republicans than Rothfus’ existing district and is described by Republicans as a toss-up.

Trump and his allies invested tremendous time and resources in keeping the seat in play Tuesday in Republican hands, mindful the contest could be used to measure Trump’s lasting appeal among white, working-class voters and Democrats’ anti-Trump fervor.

The White House scrambled to rally voters behind Saccone, who cast himself as the president’s “wingman.” But he struggled at times to connect with the blue-collar coalition that fueled Trump’s victory little more than a year ago.

Trump campaigned for Saccone last weekend, urging voters not to “be conned by this guy Lamb.”

Outside groups aligned with Republicans poured more than $10 million of dollars into the contest, about seven times the outside money that helped Lamb.

Lamb asserted his independence from national Democratic leaders and studiously played down his opposition to Trump.

But he also offered a full embrace of organized labor, hammered Republican tax cuts and promised to defend Social Security, Medicare and pensions.

Democrats must flip 24 GOP-held seats this fall to seize control of the House, and months ago few had counted on the district to be in play. The seat has been in Republican hands for the past 15 years.

It was open now only because Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who espoused strong pro-life, resigned last fall amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which he urged his mistress to get an abortion.

Saccone tried to persuade the GOP-leaning electorate that their choice was about “making America great again,” as Trump repeatedly says.

Saccone enjoyed enthusiastic backing from the social conservatives who’ve anchored his state career. He’s been perhaps at his most animated when emphasizing his opposition to abortion.

Yet Saccone struggled to raise money, and that consistent fundraising deficit left him with limited resources to air the message he delivered one-on-one: His four decades of experience in the private sector, international business and now the Legislature should make voters’ choice a no-brainer.


Peoples reported from New York.


Follow Barrow and Levy on Twitter at and

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Fabled Physicist Stephen Hawking Passes Away

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 05:09

LONDON (AP) -- Stephen Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease, has died, a family spokesman said early Wednesday.

“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.

The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, A Brief History of Time, became an international best seller, making him one of science’s biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.

Even though his body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, when Hawking was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years. A severe attack of pneumonia in 1985 left him breathing through a tube, forcing him to communicate through an electronic voice synthesizer that gave him his distinctive robotic monotone.

But he continued his scientific work, appeared on television and married for a second time.

As one of Isaac Newton’s successors as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics -- a “unified theory.”

Such a theory would resolve the contradictions between Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

For Hawking, the search was almost a religious quest -- he said finding a “theory of everything” would allow mankind to “know the mind of God.”

“A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence,” he wrote in A Brief History of Time.

In later years, though, he suggested a unified theory might not exist.

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He followed up A Brief History of Time in 2001 with the more accessible sequel “The Universe in a Nutshell,” updating readers on concepts like super gravity, naked singularities and the possibility of an 11-dimensional universe.

Hawking said belief in a God who intervenes in the universe “to make sure the good guys win or get rewarded in the next life” was wishful thinking.

“But one can’t help asking the question: Why does the universe exist?” he said in 1991. “I don’t know an operational way to give the question or the answer, if there is one, a meaning. But it bothers me.”

The combination of his best-selling book and his almost total disability -- for a while he could use a few fingers, later he could only tighten the muscles on his face -- made him one of science’s most recognizable faces.

He made cameo television appearances in The Simpsons and Star Trek and counted among his fans U2 guitarist The Edge, who attended a January 2002 celebration of Hawking’s 60th birthday.

His early life was chronicled in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything,” with Eddie Redmayne winning the best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the scientist. The film focused still more attention on Hawking’s remarkable achievements.

Some colleagues credited that celebrity with generating new enthusiasm for science.

His achievements, and his longevity, also helped prove to many that even the most severe disabilities need not stop patients from living.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Young Leader in Israeli Knesset Explains Threats Facing Israel — and Praises New U.S. Approach

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 03:30

Violent attacks by Iran’s radical Islamic regime have been a growing threat. The rise of its influence in the region -- including on the northern borders of Israel -- have recently led U.S. and Israeli forces to step up their joint task force. 

Meanwhile, the Trump administration plans to unveil its framework for a Mideast peace plan developed in dialogue with Israeli leaders. This comes on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting Washington, DC, early this month to address pro-Israel activists. He praised the impending move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, though some believe it will spark further unrest.

Formerly a protester, Sharren Haskel says that serving in the Israeli Border Patrol opened her eyes to the threats her homeland faces. The 33-year-old rising Israeli political star is now a player in the drama. Haskel serves in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. (“Knesset” means "Great Assembly" in Hebrew.) She’s the ruling Likud Party's youngest leader and often works with Netanyahu. Their platform stresses free enterprise and a strong national defense.

She spoke in an interview from her office near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Israeli Leader Contrasts Two U.S. Presidents

The Stream: In your view, have U.S. policies towards Israel moved in the right direction over the past year? 

Haskel: We know that we had some challenges with the previous administration. It was quite clear. But between the U.S. Congress, the Israeli Knesset and British Parliament, there are strong bonds and friendships impossible to untie.

The previous U.S. administration thought they knew what was right for the Middle East. They said that they had the solutions for the problems here and would lead us towards it. The Trump administration has a different approach. They understand that the people who live in this area experience all that is happening. We are the ones who understand the ideologies, history and geography at play here.

Why it is important to talk with those who have different views

We live in a free country. The most important thing is that we hear everybody. We might disagree, and it's okay to argue. In Israel, we have very heated debates.

The principle of open dialogue is to make sure everybody has a voice and is being heard. When it comes to a vote, I make a decision after I've heard a wide spectrum of opinions and solutions. This is part of our democracy.

If we silence one side of the aisle, it's dangerous. One of the most important things is that the people have a voice -- even those who say things that offend me. It gives me the opportunity to answer back. For example, there is a lot of debate in the defense and religious communities over whether women should serve in combat units. I was a combat fighter in the military for almost three years, serving in the border patrol.

As much as it hurts me to hear males saying that women cannot serve in these positions -- it actually offends me -- it also gives me an opportunity to answer back. I invite those who served with me to testify before the Knesset, and men see women who are serving in the field. It opens up a frank discussion when you're not trying to shut down someone.

-- Sharren Haskel

Now the U.S. wants to help this region reach stability in the long run. They are leaning towards “Let's work together on better solutions. We can cooperate together, walking side by side.” The friends of America in the Middle East appreciate this approach. It's easier for us to work together.

Growing Threats to Freedom

The Stream: As a young woman who has lived around the world, including in Canada and Australia, why do you view Israel as unique?

Haskel: In our region, Israel represents a flag of hope. Some of the hardest conflicts in the world -- Muslims against Christians and Yazidis, Shia against Sunni -- are centered in this region. We've seen violent conflicts among the very diverse populations in these countries around us in the Middle East.

Israel has the same challenges. We have such a diverse community here in Israel. We have Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouins -- the list goes on and on. Yet it's proof that no matter how complicated your society is, the values of freedom and democracy are yearned for in Middle Eastern cultures also.

Israel brings hope to the people around us, that one day more freedom can be possible in their countries as well.

The Stream: What concerns you the most regarding Israel's future and security? 

Haskel: Obviously, Iran is the biggest threat for our security. Not just for Israel's security, but for the entire Middle East. This is why we've been able to partner with some countries around Israel, because we have a mutual enemy.

Iran is saying quite clearly that they want to eliminate the State of Israel and control the region. They want to dominate the Arab world and destroy the West. They see the United States and Israel as their biggest enemies. They are not hiding their intentions. More than that, they are actually trying to create weapons to fulfill those desires as well.

We've seen Iran expand its influence across the Middle East. They have proxies in Yemen and Iraq. They've been trying in Lebanon and Syria as well. This is something we must make sure we prevent.

Free Enterprise, Free Speech and Innovation

The Stream: Some find you an enigma as a political leader. You are part of the Likud party, with a free-market platform. Why do you champion causes like the environment and animal welfare?

Haskel: We touch on many issues in the Knesset, including energy and the environment. These are matters that all of us care about, from both sides. No one from the left or the right wants to drink water that is polluted or breathe air that has dangerous chemicals in it. No one wants to eat food that was grown in poisoned soil and will make you sick.

Yet the parties address these issues differently. We all want to see our economy grow, for people to have an opportunity to make a better life for themselves. The left and right believe in different ways to achieve that. If we want cleaner energy here in Israel, I believe the only way to create that is by opening markets.

In Israel, electricity is a monopoly of the government. We need to reduce bureaucracy and regulation to let private businesses be able to gain profit from it. The carbon tax and policies like that have failed. We need to open it up so people can profit from recycling. If you recycle certain chemicals, you can actually sell them again and make a business out of that.

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Now there are a lot of renewable energy companies here working on solar, hydro and other technologies. These are small businesses with entrepreneurs and scientists who are actually exporting this technology globally. They cannot do business in Israel because of the government monopoly on electricity. We should give these entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete with the Israeli public utilities.

It's not just creating a better economy based on competition and reducing prices; those companies are creating cheaper, cleaner energy. People want that. For me, going with these principles creates a cleaner future in a sustainable way -- not something that's relying on taxes that someone will cut and cause the enterprise to fail. Innovation is based in private ownership and free enterprise.

Looking Past Propaganda to Find Truth

The Stream: Speaking of rhetoric that causes offense, there are those who accuse Israel of having racist or apartheid policies. How do you respond?

Haskel: You just need to come to Israel to see the reality through your own eyes, and not through some propaganda. When you come here, you understand it. If you stand for human rights, liberty and equality, then you have to stand with Israel. Israel is a symbol of all of these values here in our region.

If you come and see every aspect of our society, all minority groups are taking a vital part in it. If you go to our medical system, you see everybody being treated together side by side in a hospital. You also see Muslims, Christians, Druze, Jews and many more working together as nurses, doctors, as head of hospitals. The head of the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, for example, is from an Arab minority.

If you look at our school system and universities, we study together. Minority leaders give lectures freely. If you go to our judicial system, everyone is tried in the same courts. The judges and lawyers are very ethnically diverse. On the Israel Supreme Court, there are two Arab judges. You do not see this degree of ethnic diversity in positions of power in any other country around Israel.

Could you imagine a high court judge in Syria from a Jewish minority? Or in Lebanon, Iran or the Palestinian Authority? It doesn't happen. Yet they try to call Israel a racist country. There is propaganda, and then there is the reality. You just need to come to Israel to see it with your own eyes.


Watch a recent CBN interview with MK Sharren Haskel:


U.S. National Security Depends on American 5G Leadership

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 02:00

Continuing his pattern of strong and decisive action, President Trump followed the recommendations of his security advisors to block the potential takeover of an American company that would have serious consequences for our national security and America's global leadership in technology -- vis-a-vis China. After getting advice from a government agency that the hostile takeover of Qualcomm by the Singapore-based Broadcom poses potential national security risks, the President ordered a block of any such deal.

5G Technology

The United States and China are neck-and-neck in a global race to lead on the next generation of wireless technology -- known as 5G. The winner of this race will reap substantial economic assets and infrastructure advantages for decades to come, and will set the standards for implementing this technology worldwide. America is currently in the lead on 5G, but foreign adversaries are taking extraordinary measures to unseat us as the global leader, and the ultimate victor of this race is entirely uncertain.

5G is far more than another incremental step toward a faster mobile network. This revolutionary platform will deliver the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) that allows control of machines, objects and devices like smart homes, constant health monitoring and self-driving cars. Beyond benefits to consumers, critical military and public safety applications will rely on a 5G digital infrastructure, and the U.S. government will use its capabilities to bolster its defenses. The future of American national security thus depends on the successful adoption of 5G technology.

A Determined Challenge

Despite our current position, America is facing a determined challenge from foreign competitors. Most significantly, the Chinese government is funneling substantial financial and political support to its domestic technology companies, helping them to keep pace with the United States. Huawei -- a China-based technology giant that is widely-known to have "extraordinary ties" to the government -- is making a particularly aggressive play to win the race for 5G.

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Fortunately, the American company Qualcomm, undisputedly leads the world in developing the technologies that are foundational to 5G networks and devices. Qualcomm, with a tremendous focus on investing in R&D, is the only company to successfully lead in each mobile technology transition, and its technology is currently driving the 5G revolution. This is one of the primary reasons why the United States is currently ahead of China on 5G.

For that reason, the attempted hostile takeover by Broadcom raised the concern of a number of elected officials -- like Sen. Tom Cotton and Sen. John Cornyn -- and experts who believed it would threaten to derail America's leadership in 5G technology and standards.

Consistent with its practice in prior acquisitions, Broadcom will likely impose significant cost-cutting measures on Qualcomm and possibly sell off parts of the company, jettisoning the company's long-term R&D projects in favor of maximizing short-term revenue. Disrupting Qualcomm's industry-leading R&D efforts could effectively cede development of 5G technology to Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE.

The 5G Leadership Advantage

These concerns are not hypothetical. Broadcom has made clear its intention to change Qualcomm's R&D-heavy business in favor of short-term revenue gains. Broadcom CEO Hock Tan recently noted that he saw opportunities to "rationalize and restructure" Qualcomm's licensing business, and Broadcom's Chief Technology Officer explained that the company is "not looking at starting totally new projects where maybe five to ten years from now they may generate revenue." These statements, among other indicators, signal Broadcom's plan to end the long-term R&D work that allows Qualcomm, and by extension America, to maintain its 5G leadership advantage.

If Broadcom were to obtain control of Qualcomm, one of the most critical companies in the U.S. wireless supply chain would likely be stripped, divested, and reduced, all in the name of profit maximization and without regard for America's security. Because of these concerns, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS") -- an inter-agency panel tasked with protecting U.S. national security interests -- recently delayed Broadcom's attempted hostile takeover. The CFIUS action led to President Trump's move to block the deal. In its order, CFIUS wrote that "a weakening of Qualcomm's position would leave an opening for China to expand its influence." President Trump followed this with his order that if successful Broadcom "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

The Trump Administration's decision rightfully prioritized the security interests of the United States. Because if Qualcomm cannot maintain its current 5G leadership position, there is no other U.S. company that can take its place. The void undoubtedly would be filled by a rival Chinese company beholden to the interests of its government. The result would be a serious blow to our technology leadership and our national security.


Ken Blackwell, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, was a Domestic Policy Advisor to the Trump Transition Team. He served as Treasurer of the State of Ohio from 1994-99.

The Latest on Pennsylvania’s US House Election: Polls Close, Votes Coming In

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 01:00

CARNEGIE, Pa. (AP) -- The Latest on western Pennsylvania’s special election in the 18th Congressional District:

8 p.m.

Polls have closed in Pennsylvania’s special congressional election between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb. The outcome could offer signs of what’s to come in November’s midterm elections.

County election officials are estimating turnout of above 20 percent and potentially above 30 percent in some counties before polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

President Donald Trump dominated the district in the 2016 presidential election and offered his backing to Saccone. Voter surveys show a close race, and a Democratic upset could rattle GOP confidence as it tries to defend its House majority. Lamb has positioned himself as a moderate and could offer a roadmap for other Democratic candidates running in areas outside liberal strongholds.


5 p.m.

Rick Saccone is President Donald Trump’s man to the end. The Pennsylvania congressional candidate wants voters who haven’t cast ballots yet in Tuesday’s special election to know he’d go to Washington to have the president’s back.

Saccone told Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network in an Election Day interview that Trump is “getting beat up in Washington” by the media, bureaucrats and Hollywood. Saccone says Trump “needs a good wingman.”

Saccone is in a surprisingly competitive race against Democrat Conor Lamb in a Pittsburgh-area district that Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016. The seat opened last October when Republican Tim Murphy resigned amid a sex scandal.

Lamb acknowledges the intense opposition to Trump among liberal voters but says the election shouldn’t be about Trump.


12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump isn’t the only candidate tweeting for his preferred candidate in a western Pennsylvania special congressional election. AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka is weighing in on behalf of Democrat Conor Lamb. Trumka tells union voters Lamb “supported our agenda” so “now it’s time to … support him.”

The labor vote will be key in determining whether Lamb can upset Republican Rick Saccone in a district with an estimated 87,000 union household voters.

Former Republican Tim Murphy enjoyed union backing in the district, making it hard for any Democrat to defeat him. Rank-and-file workers helped Trump carry the district by 20 percentage points in 2016.

But unions have lined up behind Lamb and hammered Saccone as a union foe during his tenure as a state lawmaker.


10:40 a.m.

Republican Rick Saccone says he’s not surprised he’s in a close race with Democrat Conor Lamb in a southwest Pennsylvania congressional district that President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016. He says Democrats are “throwing everything they can at this race” because it’s a rare open seat.

Saccone spoke to reporters shortly before casting his ballot Tuesday near his home in rural Allegheny County south of Pittsburgh. The 60-year-old state lawmaker has struggled to win the support that former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy managed during his career. Murphy resigned in October. Saccone has tried to excite voters by embracing Trump. The candidate campaigned with him twice.

A Lamb upset would boost Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections. Republicans have a 24-seat advantage in the House pending the outcome in Pennsylvania.


8:30 a.m.

Democrat Conor Lamb has voted in Pennsylvania’s special election for the 18th Congressional District. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, tweeted his support for Republican Rick Saccone.

Lamb told reporters Tuesday he doesn’t think the election is a referendum on President Donald Trump.

Trump won the Pittsburgh-area district handily in 2016, but Tuesday’s race is said to be a toss-up.

On Tuesday, the president tweeted, “The Economy is raging, at an all time high, and is set to get even better. Jobs and wages up. Vote for Rick Saccone and keep it going.” Trump had appeared at a rally for Saccone over the weekend.

Lamb has positioned himself as a moderate and could offer a roadmap for other Democratic candidates running in areas outside liberal strongholds.

The winner replaces Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned in October amid a sex scandal

Lamb declined to make any predictions about the outcome, but said his team “worked really hard.”


7 a.m.

Polls are open in western Pennsylvania as voters settle a high profile special congressional race being watched for clues to the upcoming midterm elections.

Republican Rick Saccone is trying to stave off an upset by Democrat Conor Lamb in a Pittsburgh-area district that backed President Donald Trump by 20 percentage points in 2016.

Former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy had represented the area. He resigned last fall.

Democrats need to flip 24 Republican-held seats for a House majority, and they’d not been counting on Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.

Trump has put his full force behind Saccone.

Lamb has a run as a moderate with considerable union backing. That’s a key group in this industrial region. Lamb has also promised not to back Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for House speaker.


12:40 a.m.

Voters in western Pennsylvania are set to choose between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb in a special congressional election that could offer signs of what’s to come in November’s midterm elections.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

President Donald Trump dominated the district in 2016 and has offered his backing to Saccone.

But the Republican nominee finds himself risking an upset that would rattle GOP confidence as it tries to defend its House majority. The White House has blamed the potential loss on Saccone.

Lamb has positioned himself as a moderate and could offer a roadmap for other Democratic candidates running in areas outside liberal strongholds.

The winner replaces Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned in October amid a sex scandal.

I Forgive You, Joy!

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 22:46

The View‘s Joy Behar has “sincerely” apologized publicly for comparing Mike Pence’s Christianity to “mental illness.” Finally. 

Joy’s public mea culpa came after The View played a clip of Pence recounting on Hannity his private apology from Behar. 

I said to Joy, 'Of course, I forgive you.' That's a part of my faith experience. I did encourage her. And I'm still encouraging her to use the forum of that program or some other public forum to apologize to tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended.

Behar responded: “So, I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone's religious faith. I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said.”

The Stream‘s Dr. Michael Brown predicted earlier Tuesday that should Behar take vice president Pence’s advice she would receive an “outpouring of forgiveness.”

I can’t speak of an outpouring. (Though that is happening.) But I can speak for me. Apology accepted.

I’ve Got Her Beat, So I Have to Show Her Grace

Dr. Brown’s subtitle quotes 1 Peter 5:5: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Given my background, I have to show Joy grace, even more than most. I wrote comedy professionally for 20 or so years. I wrote somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 one-liners. My funny bone has arthritis. 

Sometimes I crossed the line. In fact, a couple times I soared past the line like a mad bomber, landing in a field called “What in the World Were You Thinking?!?!”

The worst example is indelible. I actually wrote jokes about Columbine … the day of Columbine. All together now: “What in the World Were You Thinking?!?!”

Made perfect sense to me at the time. This was the height of shock jock Howard Stern and I thought it possible some of our DJ clients would go there. Most obviously wouldn’t. I, personally, wouldn’t. But, I figured, somebody might. My rationale was not rational. 

I can’t even use the excuse of gallows humor in the face of overwhelming grief and horror. (I’ve definitely been there. Ask my wife about the jokes flying between my nephew and me when a man died behind us at a baseball game … three days before my mother’s funeral.)

No. The day of Columbine my brain was thinking, “Two guys armed to the teeth with guns and explosives walk into a crowded cafeteria and scores and scores aren’t killed? We got off lucky.” Somehow, “only” 13 dead was good news.

And out spurted the jokes. Sure, I added all sorts of warnings about inappropriateness and offensiveness, but that’s no excuse.

So unless you’ve got footage of Joy wise-cracking about the Parkland shooting while the wounded are still being dragged out of the school, I’ve got her beat. Who would I be to reject her apology for mocking my faith?

Except I Don’t Accept Her Apology for Making Fun of My Faith

Actually, though, Joy’s jokes were not the problem. I understand that most people feel different, but I wasn’t horribly offended by what Joy actually said. And I say that as someone, who, like Pence, does hear the voice of God. 

Here are Behar’s jokes: 

It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another thing when Jesus talks to you. That's called mental illness, if I'm not correct. Hearing voices.

My question is can he talk to Mary Magdalene without his wife in the room?

A few word changes, more context, different set up, and I could see even a Christian comedian saying something in the same ballpark. In fact, some denominations would even agree with the first joke as a statement of fact. 

What really offended me is the malice behind Joy’s words. This was no lighthearted riff on religion. A thought that popped out of her head. This was an attack meant to draw blood. As her daily dose of bitterness towards anything connected to Trump or Pence attests, she was out to damage.

Behar was not using her humor to bring understanding and healing. Or even levity. She wasn’t using her God-given gift to amuse. She was using her God-given gift to hurt. And that effort to injure extended towards those who share Pence’s faith. 

Malice. Disrespect. That is where Joy “fell short.” 

And that is what needs to be forgiven. She has sincerely apologized. Apology accepted, the injury forgiven.

Loss of Humanity

Now the forgiveness needs to be turned to prayer. We need to pray for Joy Behar. Pray that she can embrace the humanity of those she disagrees with. 

When Joy mocked Pence, she mocked a target. When she apologized to Pence, she spoke to a person. 

She was forced to recognize his humanity. There was a soft-spoken human being on the other end of the line. Do what she and the late night hosts do on a daily basis, and people stop being unique beings fearfully and wonderfully made by God. They become mere set-ups for punch lines or punchlines themselves. Props.

Ask Monica Lewinsky. 

Ask me. I said earlier I wrote over 150,000 jokes. It feels like 98% of them were about the Lewinsky scandal. (Stop right there. It was not the “Lewinsky” scandal. It was Bill Clinton‘s scandal. She was a kid who fell under the charms of an older, powerful figure. If you haven’t read her new essay, you should.)

I doubt I was ever mean to Monica. Certainly I never felt any malice. In fact, I was always struck by how much she was like Clinton’s mother. (Think I’m nuts? Look it up.) However, I did write countless jokes involving her. Even as a Clinton supporter that was the job.

However, somewhere along the way, Monica stopped being a flesh-and-blood young woman caught in a dreadful situation. Most days, she was as human to me as the banana peel on the sidewalk in all the old gags. Scarier, it wasn’t just her humanity being lost.

Back to Columbine

Back to Columbine. That experience shook me to the core. I remember being in my boss’s office the next day. Larry was more dumbfounded than angry. I was actually frightened. Not for my job, but for what I had become. In the non-stop search for the next funny line I’d lost a chunk of my humanity. 

I see that in Joy Behar’s “mental illness” schtick. I see it in the toxic spew from late night. I see it in my Facebook feed. I see it hundreds of times a day on Twitter. So today I ask God, “Forgive us, Father. For we know not what we’ve become.” 

Joy, join me in this prayer. You don’t want to become what I became. 

In California, Trump Reviews Designs for Planned Border Wall

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 21:59

SAN DIEGO (AP) --  President Donald Trump on Tuesday got his chance to inspect prototypes for the “big beautiful border wall” he wants to build to separate the U.S. from Mexico, saying strengthening the border would help stop “99 percent” of illegal immigration -- or, he allowed, “maybe more than that.”

The president, making his first trip to California as president, appeared engaged as he was briefed on eight border wall designs. He said he preferred a fully concrete wall because it was the hardest to climb, but he noted that it needed to be see-through.

Trump said the first thing he noticed on the drive to view the prototypes was the patched-up holes in part of the existing fence at the border.

“We have a lousy wall over here now, but at least it stops 90, 95 percent,” Trump said. “When we put up the real wall, we’re going to stop 99 percent. Maybe more than that.”

Trump’s visit was greeted with peaceful protests by demonstrators both for and against his planned wall. The trip also came amid an escalating battle between his administration and the liberal state, which has refused to help federal agents detain immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

The president said Tuesday that the state’s sanctuary policies “put the entire nation at risk.” His Justice Department sued California last week over a trio of the state’s immigration laws.

“They’re the best friend of the criminal,” Trump said. “That’s what exactly is happening. The criminals take refuge in these sanctuary cities and it’s very dangerous for our police and enforcement folks.”

While in California, Trump also addressed Marines in San Diego before he attends a high-dollar fundraiser in Los Angeles, where he’ll stay overnight.

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Demonstrations were held at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, the nation’s busiest border crossing, where protesters chanted, “No ban! No wall!” as honking cars and buses cheered them on. Protests were also held on the Mexican side, in Tijuana.

At San Ysidro, Jose Gonzalez, 21, stopped to snap a photo of the protesters holding signs, including one that read: “Wall off Putin!” in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is billed as having a close relationship with Trump.

“I don’t think it’s really fair how he has the choice to separate us,” said Gonzalez, a dual citizen who lives in Tijuana and crosses the border daily to work at a San Diego ramen restaurant.

Army veteran Mark Prieto, 48, shook his head as he walked by the protest.

“People are so narrow-minded,” the Riverside firefighter said as the crowd chanted. “Finally we have someone who is putting America first.”

His wife, Corina Prieto, a nurse who has extended family in Mexico, agreed. Both voted for Trump.

“I think he is doing a lot of good, like protecting our Border Patrol,” she said.

Trump was to be briefed on lessons learned from the construction of the prototypes built in San Diego last fall. He was also to meet with border agents and officers to ask what they need, Homeland Security spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

San Diego’s Republican mayor criticized Trump’s planned short visit, saying the president won’t get a full picture of the city. Kevin Faulconer said a popular cross-border airport terminal connecting San Diego and Tijuana shows that “building bridges has worked wonders.”

Faulconer, writing in The San Diego Union-Tribune, also said San Diego police work to protect everyone regardless of immigration status, an apparent dig at Trump’s push to target illegal immigration.

Trump tweeted about California’s immigration policies as he flew to the state aboard Air Force One.

“California’s sanctuary policies are illegal and unconstitutional and put the safety and security of our entire nation at risk. Thousands of dangerous & violent criminal aliens are released as a result of sanctuary policies, set free to prey on innocent Americans. THIS MUST STOP!” he wrote.

This isn’t Trump’s first visit to the border. He traveled to Laredo -- one of Texas’ safest cities -- weeks after declaring his candidacy in June 2015.

Trump told reporters then that he was putting himself “in great danger” by coming to the border. But, he said, “I have to do it. I love this country.”


Associated Press writers Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, John Antczak in Los Angeles, Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Greg Bull in Tijuana, Mexico, and Darlene Superville and Nancy Benac in Washington contributed to this report.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Who are the Luckiest Jews, Blacks and Latinos?

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 21:33

At The City College of New York in the late 1930s, my father, an Orthodox Jew, wrote his senior class thesis on anti-Semitism in America. He delineated common realities of the era, such as Jews’ admission to law firms, country clubs and colleges being denied or restricted, and various other manifestations of popular and institutional anti-Semitism.

Yet he taught his two sons -- my older brother and me -- to believe that we, as Americans, were the luckiest Jews in Jewish history.

With the obvious exception of Jews living in Israel, he was right. I can state this with some authority, having written a book on anti-Semitism and taught Jewish history at Brooklyn College.

Despite the existence of anti-Semites and anti-Semitism in America, American Jews are indeed among the luckiest Jews in Jewish history. Even with the re-establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, many more Israeli Jews have moved to America than American Jews have moved to Israel. This is not a reflection on Israel, which is a country with a high quality of life that is an unparalleled blessing in Jewish life; rather, it is a reflection on America and how good it is for Jews.

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Likewise, despite the existence of racists and racism in America, black Americans are among the luckiest blacks in the world. A distinguished black journalist, Keith Richburg of the Washington Post, fully acknowledged the horror and cruelties of slavery. Nevertheless, he thanked God his ancestors made it possible for him to be born and live in America, not Africa. After covering Africa for the Washington Post, Richburg put it this way in his newspaper: “Let me drop the charade and put it as simply as I can: There but for the grace of God go I.

Somewhere, sometime, maybe 400 years ago, an ancestor of mine whose name I’ll never know was shackled in leg irons, kept in a dark pit … and then put with thousands of other Africans into the crowded, filthy cargo hold of a ship for the long and treacherous journey across the Atlantic. Many of them died along the way, of disease, of hunger. But my ancestor survived … He was ripped away from his country and his family, forced into slavery somewhere in the Caribbean. Then one of his descendants somehow made it up to South Carolina, and one of those descendants, my father, made it to Detroit during the Second World War, and there I was born, 36 years ago. And if that original ancestor hadn’t been forced to make that horrific voyage, I would not have been standing there that day on the Rusumo Falls bridge, a journalist -- a mere spectator -- watching the bodies glide past me like river logs. … And so I thank God my ancestor made that voyage. … I empathize with Africa’s pain. I recoil in horror at the mindless waste of human life, and human potential. I salute the gallantry and dignity and sheer perseverance of the Africans. But most of all, I feel secretly glad that my ancestor made it out -- because, now, I am not one of them. (italics added)

That is why millions of Africans prefer to live in America than anywhere else. That is why more than 2 million Africans immigrated to the United States in the recent past (compared with the 388,000 who came as slaves). Unlike the many Americans -- black and white -- who believe the leftist libel about America oppressing blacks and all other nonwhites, the millions of Africans who want to come to America know how lucky they would be to be a black in America, as do the millions who already live here. They know they are, or would be, among the luckiest blacks in the world.

And what about Latin Americans? Like American Jews and American blacks, they are among the luckiest Latinos in the world. How could they or anyone else deny this given the fact that tens of millions of Latin Americans left their families, friends, culture, language and very homes to live in America? And given the fact that tens of millions more ache to do the same? What kind of lie must a person embrace to flee to a peaceful, prosperous country whose people treat him generously and beautifully and not think he is lucky to live there?

And, finally, there are the many white Americans -- people born and raised in America, many of whose ancestors also fled war, poverty and oppression in Europe -- who not only deny how lucky they are to live America but also vilify the founders of America who made their blessed life possible. Their attitude transcends mere lying; it enters the realm of pathology.


Dennis Prager’s latest book, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, was published by Regnery. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of


So Why Do Liberals Suddenly Dislike France? Because Trump

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 16:13

The French do it every year. Liberals love France. Have you ever met a liberal who didn’t love wine, smelly soft cheese, existentialist philosophy? Who didn’t feel weepy about the French Revolution? Who didn’t love singing La Marseillaise? So why aren’t liberals cheering when Donald Trump wants to do what the French do?

Because it’s Trump doing it. And because what he wants to do is have the military parade on Veterans’ Day the way the French military parades on Bastille Day.

The Wannabe Tyrant?

Take New York magazine. It warned that the parade would be the kind of thing "various despotic regimes" would do. It shuddered at "the sight of the vehicles rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue in 2018 with a certain wannabe tyrant at the helm of the country."

The Secretary of Defense’s Rules for the Parade

From his office’s memo issued on March 8th:

o The parade will integrate with the annual D.C. Veteran’s Day Parade. …

o Include the Medal of Honor Association and other Veterans Service Organizations.

o Veterans and Medal of Honor recipients should be surrounding POTUS in the reviewing area at the Capitol.

o The parade will highlight the evolution of women Veterans from separate formations in World War II to today’s integrated formations.

o Represent Veterans from previous wars by formations wearing period uniforms.

o Utilize the Old Guard Fife and Drum, uniforms used at Anniversary celebrations, and reenactments. …

o Include a heavy air component at the end of the parade, to include older aircraft as available.

The Guardian ran an article titled “Trump's desire for a military parade reveals him as a would-be despot.” The writer, Jonathan Freedland, called the parade “just the latest and potentially most spectacular demonstration of Trump's authoritarian instincts.” He argued his point this way:

Just as he has repeatedly expressed admiration for strongmen in the Vladimir Putin mode, just as he regards the machinery of the state as his personal staff - casually referring to "my justice department" or "my generals" - and just as this week he suggested that those who refuse to applaud him are "treasonous", so this is yet more proof that Trump's instincts are those of the autocrat. Little wonder that he wants to take the salute at the kind of military display more associated with Moscow or Pyongyang than Washington DC.

 The Authoritarian Regime?

CNN listed authoritarian regimes that hold military parades. See? the editors wanted you to think, Trump’s just like them! There’s a problem, though. The network ignored the many non-authoritarian countries that hold parades celebrating the military. Portugal held one in 2014. Australia held one in 2013. Finland has held seven in recent years. And Finland’s even more France than France is!

A lot more countries like these hold parades. But the mainstream media ignores them because they don’t fit the story the media want to tell. They don’t want you to think of Finland. They want you to the think of Chile during the 70s. Even better, Italy in the 30s.

News outlets focused obsessively on the fact that French tanks damage the streets. American taxpayers would have to pay to repair the D.C. streets after the parade. The administration announced the parade would not include tanks. “Consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure,” the Pentagon said.

That didn’t satisfy the left. New York magazine sarcastically observed that tanks weren't being withheld because they conjured up "visions of some autocratic post-Soviet republic" -- implying that the parade did just that.

Oh yes. The last U.S. military parade featured tanks. That took place in 1991, celebrating victory in the first Gulf War, Desert Storm. Back then, “Old-fashioned patriotism was clearly the order of the day,” the Los Angeles Times reported. No one complained back then. Even with Republican George H. W. Bush being president, the liberals didn’t complain.

The Cost? 

The left is also criticizing the cost, which has been estimated between $3 million and $50 million. An article from NPR ominously warned that "Trump’s Military Parade Could Cost As Much As $50 Million." One left-wing site didn't even cite the range, but declared it will cost "around $30 million."

In response, Democrats in Congress introduced the “PARADE” Act bill to prevent tax dollars from paying for it. What does “parade” stand for? “Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures.” Get it?

The Leftists in Their Ivory Towers

The left has legitimate philosophical disagreements with the Trump administration. But to get so upset over a military parade of the kind lots of countries put on? That France -- liberal paradise France -- puts on? The left and the complicit left-leaning media can’t tell the difference between a real disagreement and a pointless one.

No matter what Trump does, he's criticized. Even if he turns left, the left itself criticizes him. Trump makes a left turn and supports DACA? Doesn't go far enough. He's racist unless he supports the full DREAM Act. Trump supports banning bump stocks? Doesn't go far enough. He doesn't care about the victims of gun crimes unless he calls for far more strict gun control laws.

“This parade will focus on the contributions of our Veterans throughout the history of the U.S. military, starting from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 to today, with an emphasis on the cost of freedom,” the memo for the Joint Chiefs of Staff states. Mostly thanks to the left, much of the nation didn't welcome home Vietnam veterans after the war. Maybe it's overdue to honor them with a parade.

The president could still make the left happy. He could order a giant reception on the Mall to honor our veterans featuring wine and smelly soft cheese and repeated singings of La Marseillaise. Viva la France! Even without tanks!

Tillerson Out at State, to be Replaced by CIA Chief Pompeo

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 14:30

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet on Tuesday and picked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his place, abruptly ending Tillerson’s turbulent tenure as America’s top diplomat and escalating the administration’s second-year shake-up.

Tillerson was ousted barely four hours after he returned from an Africa mission and with no face-to-face conversation with the president. Citing the Iran nuclear deal and other issues, Trump said he and Tillerson were “not really thinking the same.”

“We disagreed on things,” Trump told reporters at the White House -- a diplomatic take on a fractious relationship that included reports that Tillerson had privately called the president a “moron.”

In an illustration of the gulf that has long separated Tillerson and Trump, aides to both couldn’t even on agree on the circumstances of his firing.

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein and other State Department officials said that Tillerson hadn’t learned he was dismissed until he saw Trump’s early-morning tweet, and hadn’t discussed it directly with the president. Goldstein said the former Exxon Mobil CEO was “unaware of the reason” he was fired and “had had every intention of staying,” feeling he was making progress on national security.

Hours later, Goldstein was fired, too.

Multiple White House officials said that Tillerson had been informed of the decision Friday, while he was in Ethiopia. One official said chief of staff John Kelly had called Tillerson on Friday and again on Saturday to warn him that Trump was about to take imminent action if he did not step aside, and that a replacement had already been identified. When Tillerson didn’t act, Trump fired him, that official said.

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All of the officials demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Trump’s change puts Pompeo, an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal, in charge of U.S. diplomacy as the president decides whether to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement. Trump faces another deadline in May to decide whether to remain in the Obama-era nuclear agreement that he campaigned aggressively against.

Tillerson has pushed Trump to remain in the agreement and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment it to Trump’s liking. The president mentioned differences over how to handle the Iran agreement, “so we were not really thinking the same.”

Though Trump and other officials said he’d been considering replacing Tillerson for some time, the president said he made the decision only recently and “by myself.” Tillerson will be “much happier now,” he said.

The reshuffle also comes amid a dramatic diplomatic opening with North Korea, with Trump set to hold a historic meeting with leader Kim Jong Un in May. Pressuring North Korea with sanctions and other isolation measures had been a top Tillerson priority, and he had been one of the administration’s more vocal advocates for holding talks in some form with the North. When Trump ultimately accepted Kim’s invitation for a meeting, Tillerson was in Ethiopia, though he said he spoke with Trump about it shortly before it was announced.

Tillerson’s departure adds to a period of intense turnover within Trump’s administration. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn announced his resignation last week, not long after communications director Hope Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter both departed near the start of Trump’s second year in office.

Speculation that Tillerson would be fired grew last fall with the reports of his “moron” insult, which the secretary state never personally denied. It spiked again in November when White House officials told multiple news outlets of a plan to replace him with Pompeo. But Tillerson continued to hang on, pointing out that his doubters had yet to be proven right.

The president said he was nominating the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency. If confirmed, Haspel would be the CIA’s first female director.

Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, has already been confirmed by the Senate for his current role at the CIA, making it extremely likely that he will be confirmed for the State Department role. Trump tweeted, “He will do a fantastic job!”

Pompeo said he was “deeply grateful” to be nominated and looked “forward to guiding the world’s finest diplomatic corps” if confirmed. He also praised Trump.

“His leadership has made America safer, and I look forward to representing him and the American people to the rest of the world to further America’s prosperity,” Pompeo said.

On Tillerson’s plane trip back from Africa, he had told reporters he had cut short his mission by one night because he was exhausted after working most of the night two nights in a row and getting sick in Ethiopia.

“I felt like, look, I just need to get back,” Tillerson said.

Dismissing Tillerson had been discussed at multiple levels for a long time, said a senior White House official, adding that the North Korea overture and invitation brought more urgency to the decision. Two officials said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of an upcoming meeting with Kim, the North Korean leader.

One senior White House official said that when Trump made the decision to meet with Kim while Tillerson was in Africa, an aide asked if Tillerson should weigh in on the matter. Trump said there was no reason to consult him because no matter what the group decided, Tillerson would be against it, the official said.

The former Exxon chief had been an unlikely pick for top diplomat, with no formal experience but a lifetime’s worth of personal relationships with heads of state and powerful global figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was slated to retire from Exxon in March 2017 at age 65 under the company’s mandatory retirement policy when he joined the administration.


Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller, Jonathan Lemire Ken Thomas contributed to this report.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Joy Behar, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, and the Question of Public Apologies

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 14:06

According to Vice President Pence on Monday, Joy Behar needed to make a public apology for the anti-Christian comments she made on The View. She did so Tuesday. According to Pastor Robert Jeffress, if President Trump committed adultery in the past with porn star Stormy Daniels, no public apology is needed. It's a matter between his family and God. How do we sort this out?

To Joy Behar's credit, she first called Mike Pence to apologize privately for her ugly comments, since her words were directed at him. As he told Sean Hannity, "I give Joy Behar a lot of credit. She picked up the phone. She called me. She was very sincere, and she apologized and one of the things my faith teaches me is grace; forgive as you’ve been forgiven."

However, since she made the comments on national TV, Pence said, "I’m still encouraging her to use the forum of that program or some other public forum, to apologize to tens of millions of Americans who were equally offended."

He's absolutely right, and Behar apparently agreed. She said Tuesday on The View, “So I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith. I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said.” 

It’s for Behar's own good that she followed his advice. Sins committed publicly require public apologies. And in this case, she sinned against people who are taught to forgive. So I believe she will receive an outpouring of forgiveness because she was humble and sincere. Some will still scorn and mock her, but those with a true faith will forgive.

Private vs. Public Sins

What about President Trump and his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels?

According to Pastor Jeffress, "Evangelicals knew they weren't voting for an altar boy when they voted for Donald Trump. We supported him because of his policies and his strong leadership."

As to whether the president owes America an apology (if guilty), Jeffress explained that "evangelicals understand the concept of sin and forgiveness" since "we're all sinners" and "we all need forgiveness." That forgiveness, Jeffress continued, is available to everyone through Christ. Whether or not Trump needs that forgiveness (meaning, whether he's guilty of the porn star's charges) "is between him, his family, and his God."

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Is Jeffress correct?

On the one hand, if a man committed adultery ten years ago, confessed that sin to his wife and family, and made things right with anyone else involved, there's no need for that to be disclosed publicly. As the Scriptures teach, "love covers a multitude of sins" (Proverbs 10:12). Why put someone to shame for a privately committed sin, if it has been confessed and rectified? (We're not talking something like committing murder in private. That must be dealt with in public under the law, for many obvious reasons.)

There would be, however, one exception regarding private sins and private apologies. If the private sins are related to someone's public responsibilities, then a public apology is appropriate.

If Allegations Are True, Trump Should Apologize Publicly

When it comes to allegations against the President of the United States, there are several factors involved.

First, if the allegations are true, then he is presently lying about them. That requires public confession and apology.

Second, the charges involve the payment of hush money to prevent election embarrassment, which is also a public issue.

Third, because the allegations have become public, they raise further questions about his character in the past. Perhaps even beyond what some of us understood.

Speaking for myself, if the allegations are true, that wouldn't surprise me at all. This is pretty much who I understood him to be in the past. For others, this would be a disappointment.

If the private sins are related to someone's public responsibilities, then a public apology is appropriate.

I appreciate Pastor Jeffress's gracious pastoral sentiments. But if I were counseling the president, I would say this: "Sir, if the charges are true, even if God, Melania and your family have already forgiven you, why not be honest with the nation? Americans are forgiving people. Since it's true that we knew we weren't electing an altar boy to be president, it will be easy for us to show mercy. In fact, we'll remember your humility and contrition more than your past misdeeds. That's the way forgiveness works."

Of course, if the charges are false, the president should remain steadfast in his denials. But if true, let him say to the nation, "As you know, there are many things in my past for which I'm not proud, and this is one of them. Years ago my family forgave me, but today I'm asking you to forgive me. I've also made significant changes since then, and those old days are long since behind me."

By humbling himself, he will be lifted up.

Grace to the Humble

The same will hold true for Joy Behar. She recognized the wrongness of what she said and humbled herself before her Christian viewers. Now they will forgive her and offer her a fresh start.

As the Scriptures state, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11). And, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).

If you've never humbled yourself, taken full responsibility for your actions without blaming others, and asked for forgiveness, you should try it. It's painful and beautiful at one and the same time. And more than that, it's wonderfully liberating.


Editor’s Note: This story was updated on March 13, 2018 at 11:44 a.m. CDT to include Joy Behar’s public apology.

Driver Killed, Texas Students Hurt in Alabama Bus Plunge

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 14:06

LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) -- A bus carrying high school band members home to Texas from Disney World ran off a highway and plunged into a deep ravine Tuesday in Alabama, killing the driver and injuring dozens, authorities said.

First responders used ropes to rappel down the 50-foot ravine in the middle of Interstate 10 and then had to cut some of the victims from the wreckage, said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack.

About 45 people were on the bus, the sheriff said. The driver was killed, said Capt. John Malone, who commands state troopers in the Mobile district. At least 37 people, most of them teenagers, were treated at hospitals or other facilities in Pensacola and southwest Alabama for injuries that ranged from minor to very serious, medical officials said.

The sheriff said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the bus to enter the grassy median, which abruptly ends at a steep embankment where the interstate passes over Cowpen Creek. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m., crunching the bus and leaving the passengers exposed to chilly temperatures.

Rescuers used every piece of equipment on every truck to reach them, Mack said: “This is what we call an all-out.”

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Josh Torres said his 17-year-old sister, Bianca Torres, was sitting at the rear of the bus when the impact of the wreck tossed her forward several rows. She had pain in her legs and bruising but was otherwise unscathed, and taken to a hospital for evaluation, he said.

“All that she remembers is that she felt a bump, then a crash and then the bus flipping onto its side,” Torres said.

Frances Dodson-Benson said her 15-year-old son DeWayne Benson, a sophomore who plays bass clarinet, used a borrowed phone to tell her he was OK. Dodson-Benson said her son was sleeping when he was awakened by the bus hitting “some sort of hard bumps.”

“Then there was a loud, really huge crash that was presumably when the bus finally came to a stop,” she said. “There were students on top of students, the bags, it was just a disarray, a lot of commotion, a lot of panic.”

Jesus Tejeda came upon the scene as he drove to work, finding dozens of police cars and ambulances stopped on the highway near the overpass. He looked down to see the bus lying on its side near the base of a concrete embankment, its front end crumpled.

Tejeda said he watched four people being removed from the wreckage, and couldn’t hear any yelling or sounds of panic. “Thank God they were alive but (they) had to take them on (a) helicopter,” he said in an interview conducted by instant messages.

Norman Haynes of Victoria, Texas said his daughter, 18-year-old trumpet player Makena Campa, was on the bus with her mother. He spoke with both of them after the crash and was on his way to the hospital.

“My daughter was really groggy because they had her on some very heavy pain medication,” he said. “They sounded kind of shook up. I think I’d be shook up as well.”

The interstate was closed down in both directions as the injured were flown to hospitals including emergency rooms in Mobile and Pensacola, Florida, plus a free-standing emergency room in rural Baldwin County, said Chris Elliott, a Baldwin County commissioner.

“Everybody is being transferred to a hospital to at least be checked out,” said Elliott.

Torres said his brother, also a member of the Channelview band, was on another bus not involved in the accident. That bus stopped after realizing what happened, but did not allow the students to get off, and eventually continued on toward Channelview, a Houston suburb of about 38,000.

Outside their high school, still closed for spring break, police were stationed at every entrance and no one was available to speak.

Only hours before the crash, the band’s Facebook page had been updated to show a large group posing outside Disney World, where the band performed at a music festival on Saturday.

Channelview Independent School District spokesman Mark Kramer said the district had only limited details in the immediate aftermath and was in contact with law enforcement in Alabama to get more information.

The bus charter company, First Class Tours of Houston, pledged to help local authorities investigating the crash in a statement that offered prayers for injured and their families.


Reeves reported from Birmingham, Ala., and Anderson from Loxley. Associated Press contributors include Bill Kaczor in Pensacola, Florida; David Warren in Dallas; Michael Graczyk in Channelview, Texas; and Rebecca Santana in New Orleans.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Majority of Voters in Blue States Like Trump Tax Cuts, Survey Finds

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 12:06

More than half of registered voters in blue or battleground states that Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, each of which has a Democrat senator up for re-election, say the economy is better than it was a year ago, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Axios and SurveyMonkey, polled registered voters in 10 states that voted for Trump: Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A majority of surveyed voters in nine of those states also are happy with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed and Trump signed into law Dec. 22, the survey found.

In Pennsylvania, those surveyed were divided, with 49 percent approving of the tax cuts and 49 percent disapproving.

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The survey is part of a trend showing increasing favorability toward the Trump tax cuts. The Axios/SurveyMonkey results echo those of a New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll previously reported by The Daily Signal.

A plurality in the new survey, 24 percent, said "jobs and the economy" is the most important issue, with health care close behind at 21 percent.

Respondents were evenly split on their approval of Trump's job performance: 49 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove, and 1 percent didn't answer.

If upcoming Senate elections were held today, the survey found, the 10 states would split evenly between the two parties.

Republicans would gain five more seats, potentially increasing their majority from 52 to 57, with wins in Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

Democrats would retain five seats, according to the survey, with victories in Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Notably, the respondents self-identified equally at 31 percent for each major political party. Another 35 percent said "neither," and 3 percent said they weren't sure.

Axios/SurveyMonkey surveyed a total of 17,289 registered voters in the 10 states from Feb. 12 to March 5. The survey results did not specify a margin of error.


Kyle Perisic is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

Bill That Protects Freedom of Those for and Against Same-Sex Marriage Angers Some on Left

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 11:56

Sen. Mike Lee has introduced a religious freedom bill that is designed to protect Americans who believe in traditional marriage from punishment by the government.

"What an individual or organization believes about the traditional definition of marriage is not -- and should never be -- a part of the government's decision-making process when distributing licenses, accreditations, or grants," Lee, R-Utah, said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.

The newly introduced version is different from the original version, introduced in 2015, in that it also includes protections for "those who support any federal legal definition of marriage between two people, including same-sex marriage," CNN reported.

Lee says his bill, reintroduced Thursday, would help protect Americans from being penalized for their religious beliefs.

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"The First Amendment Defense Act simply ensures that this will always be true in America -- that federal bureaucrats will never have the authority to require those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage to choose between their living in accordance with those beliefs and maintaining their occupation or their tax status," Lee said.

Groups on the left have attacked the bill. The American Civil Liberties Union's Ian Thompson, a legislative representative, said the bill would promote "taxpayer-funded discrimination."

The Human Rights Campaign's Sarah Warbelow told CNN of the change to the legislation: "It appears to be a false attempt or a failed attempt to make this legislation constitutional by making it seem they're not just targeting LGBTQ people."

Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, which works to "secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide," was similarly negative.

"Any changes made to this bill can't hide its true animus: to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people," Davis told CNN.

Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that she believes the legislation would provide protection for those who believe in traditional marriage as well as those who believe differently.

"Sen. Lee has introduced much-needed legislation to protect the freedom to act according to the view that marriage is between one man and one woman," Kao said. "Even though the Supreme Court described this view as 'decent and honorable' in Obergefell v. Hodges, we have seen a wave of litigation against people who hold a belief that has been shared by people around the world for millennia. In a pluralistic society, there should be room for civil disagreement on marriage."


Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation's Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel.

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

Obama: If I Did It

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 11:53

This week, Fox aired O.J. Simpson: If I Did It. The special contained interview footage from 2006 where Simpson describes murdering his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman. Except he describes to publisher Judith Regan the crime as a hypothetical, involving the help of a friend named “Charlie.”

If the show did well enough in the ratings perhaps Fox will make it a series. One episode sure to draw huge numbers, Barack Obama: If I Did It.


JUDITH REGAN: Before we get to the events surrounding the surveillance and undermining of the Trump campaign and administration, I want to go back to your Senate campaign. Curiously, both your primary and general election opponents had their sealed divorce records pried open. The salacious information was then used to destroy the candidacy of each man. Can you explain how that happened?

OBAMA: Hypothetically speaking. This guy I just met, Charlie, apparently went to the two judges, and used some of that old Chicago-style arm twisting to get those files. But Judith, it’s their own fault. They’re the ones who got divorced. And people have a right to know every little bit of everything on their candidates.

REGAN: But that doesn’t seem to apply to you. Like the Congressional Black Caucus burying that photo of you laughing it up with Louis Farrakhan. Or the L.A. Times burying the tape of you offering high praise of PLO terror group’s former mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi.

OBAMA: (cold killer stare)

REGAN: Your Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath about the nature of the surveillance your NSA was conducting on American citizens.

OBAMA: Well, again, if I had done that, I would argue that we have to know what people were up to. I don’t want my kids being around the kind of people who deserve to be spied on. What parent would want that?!

REGAN: Then your CIA director John Brennan lied about how you were spying on members of Congress, including members who were opposed to your Iran nuclear deal.

OBAMA: That was their fault. I mean, imagine I’m trying to make this deal, and they think that helping Iran get a nuclear weapon is wrong? So Charlie and the CIA would have taken a look at some private conversations. But then it gets blown into this whole big thing, man. I mean, it’s no worse than breaking into a reporter’s computer when they’re doing stories critical of you. Who doesn’t do that? I mean, in theory?

The scene cuts back to the studio where host Soledad O’Brien is sitting with Judith, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Stream managing editor Al Perrotta.

SOLEDAD: Dennis, you are crying. Why?

DENNIS: I was one of those targeted. I never thought I’d see a President use the intel community against a sitting members of Congress.

SOLEDAD: Al, what do you make of what you’ve seen so far?

AL: I think we’ve seen a pattern going back to Chicago of Barack Obama abusing the court system, using salacious information against opponents. We also see him using -- with Brennan and Clapper’s eager help --America’s intelligence apparatus against his political foes.

SOLEDAD: What do you call that?

AL: Foreshadowing.

Hillary Email Investigation

The interview of Obama resumes …

REGAN: I want to touch on the Hillary Clinton email investigation. In April 2016, you told Fox News that Clinton “never would have intentionally harmed national security.” Intent is not part of the statute. Yet, a couple weeks later, the Washington Post reported that FBI agents have found “scant” evidence Hillary “intended” to mishandle classify information. James Comey would later use lack of intent as an excuse for letting Clinton avoid prosecution.

OBAMA: If you like your server, you can keep your server.

REAGAN: The very same day of the Post report, FBI lawyer Lisa Page met at the White House to discuss the Hillary investigation. A day before that, she and lover Peter Strzok were saying there would be “pressure” to end the investigation because Trump had just secured the nomination.

Given that you were Comey’s ultimate boss, and the intent idea was yours, what happened in that White House meeting? Did you put “pressure”on the FBI?

OBAMA: We’re talking hypothetical here. Charlie wanted the meeting. He came up with the intent idea while I was watching March Madness. He didn’t want the investigation clouding Hillary’s path to victory. But did he put “pressure” on the FBI? What’s pressure? I know pressure. One time, right after discussing the beheading of an American, I had to tee off with a new driver I’d never used on a par five.

REGAN: But something else curious happened. At the same time, Comey had a draft memo describing how Hillary Clinton had emailed you from her unsecured private server while traveling in a hostile country. Meaning, it was highly likely an enemy was hacking in.

OBAMA: You don’t know Hillary. Man, she was emailing me all the time with her private email. Wanting this, wanting that. Wanting to send weapons to Libya. Wanting to bomb Syria. Wanting donations to her Foundation. And people want to blame me? I tried to keep a distance from her server business, but she couldn’t help herself. (laugh) Ladies can’t help themselves around me.

REGAN: But here’s the thing. The reference to you ended up being deleted. In other words, evidence of your awareness of and involvement in her dangerous email scheme. Who pushed for that deletion?

OBAMA: Charlie. No question.

REGAN: Did you want Hillary’s case to go away in order to protect your own skin?

OBAMA: That’s what hurts me the most about this whole thing, Judith. After all my years in the public eye, all my amazing accomplishments, people would think I only think of me.

Cuts to the studio with Soledad O’Brien.

SOLEDAD: Al, what strikes you the most about that part of the interview?

AL: Aside from the media’s stunning lack of curiosity? I’d say that real possibility Obama was not only neck deep in interfering with cases connected to 2016, but was neck deep involved in those cases.

SOLEDAD: Why are you still crying, congressman?

KUCINICH: Hillary never emailed me from a hostile country on her unsecured system. And I busted my tush for her in Ohio.

That Tapping Sound

Returning to the interview …

REGAN: On March 4, 2017, President Trump tweeted that Obama “had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower.” Your spokesman’s response was that no one at the White House had ordered surveillance. You are a lawyer …

OBAMA: So’s Charlie. And a darn fine community organizer to boot.

REGAN: You know lawyer-speak as well as anyone. There would not be an order from the White House. There is an application to a FISA court from the FBI and Department of Justice, neither of which is physically located in the White House. However, they are part of the executive branch. And we now know, such surveillance did happen.

On November 17, 2016 NSA director Mike Rogers made a trip up to Trump Tower. You didn’t know about it. Clapper and Brennan didn’t know about it either. Rogers, well aware of the systematic abuse of the FISA courts, reportedly warned Trump about the surveillance. The next day, Trump suddenly moved his transition operation to his New Jersey golf club.

And word breaks that you, Clapper and Brennan wanted Rogers fired.

OBAMA: What guy wouldn’t get angry? Nobody wants to see someone under their control stepping out on them.

That Steele Dossier

REGAN: The basis for that surveillance was the salacious Steele Dossier. Andrew McCabe said that without the Steele Dossier, there would be no FISA application.

That dossier became the basis for the “Trump-Russia collusion” story. The dossier and collusion story was being spread throughout Washington and the media by the FBI, DOJ, Brennan’s CIA, the State Department, the Defense Department, and White House staffers. Clapper leaked to CNN about the classified briefings being given you and later President-elect Trump. Your National Security Adviser Susan Rice first denied then confirmed being a part of the effort to unmask people connected to Trump.

How’s that happen?

OBAMA: Hypothetically, the presidential race began getting going in mid 2015 --

REGAN: Or roughly around the time Sally Yates denied the DOJ inspector general permission to oversee the National Security Division which handles FISA requests --

OBAMA: Charlie wanted to know everything there was to know about our foe. Again, he wanted to abuse the courts. Again, he wanted to misuse the nation’s intelligence capabilities. Again, he wanted to help ensure the election went the direction I … uh … Charlie wanted it to go. He wanted that information out. He wanted that information out!

Somehow, though, the phone and pen ended up in my hand. Hypothetically, of course.

As I told Fox News, I don’t talk to the Attorney General or FBI directors about investigations.

REGAN: But Lisa Page talked about helping James Comey prepare to brief you.

OBAMA: That may have been preparing to brief Charlie. I didn’t know what the FBI was up to.

REGAN: Page was speaking specifically of you: “He wants to know everything we are doing.”

OBAMA: Hypothetically, I did.

REGAN: Shortly before you left office you held a meeting to go over the Russian investigation. According to Susan Rice, you were worried about sharing too much intelligence with Trump.

OBAMA: Not true. He needs all the intelligence he can get! (LAUGH) No. Seriously. I was really worried about the Russian interference in the election.

REGAN: Yet Rice gave NSA operatives who were set to fight the interference a “stand-down” order. Yet you took no serious action. You denied Russia could interfere with the election. It wasn’t until Trump won that suddenly you were gloom and doom. Explain how you allowed all of this to happen. … The politicization of the Justice Department and FBI? The misuse of the intelligence apparatus? The leaking? The lies? The Russian meddling?

OBAMA: Like the sign on my desk said, “The Buck Stops With Charlie.”

One Final Question

JUDITH: One final question. Just out of curiosity. What were you actually doing the night of the Benghazi attack?

OBAMA: Remember, this is just a hypothetical. I don’t remember.

I’m Proud to Be in the GOP

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 11:21

There are two kinds of pride. One is a deadly sin, in which we take credit for gifts that were handed to us. And refuse to acknowledge the Giver.

But there's another kind. And it's bound up in gratitude. We see that we have been blessed. In our hearts, we recognize that we take part in something great, and good. We didn't create it, but we signed onto it. When the gift was offered, we accepted. We're thankful, and we feel honored. We try to give something back. Or better, to pay it forward. That's the kind of pride we ought to take in our country. In our church. In our family, and in all the other worthy groups we take part in that build up society.

Proud of My … Political Party?

And I'm going to rattle a few media cages by saying right now: That's how I feel about the Republican Party. I know, I know. It's not perfect. You can probably rattle off right now a list of annoying RINOs whom you'd like to see poached in the primaries. We can find low points in our history. But what other political party in American history has been on the right side so often? On issues where it really counted. Which other party was founded on such a clear and admirable principle as Abraham Lincoln's Republican party?

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It favored abolishing slavery as quickly as possible. That was back when the Constitution itself enshrined it. A Republican administration held this country together through a brutal Civil War. Issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Then pushed through the 13th Amendment abolishing that evil. And the 14th Amendment, intended to enforce legal equality and votes for former slaves. Massive resistance by members of the Democratic Party stopped that equality in its tracks.

It would be presidents from that same party that segregated the civil service, rounded up Japanese-Americans in camps, and dropped both atomic bombs on civilian targets.

The Party of Principle

It took 100 long years before we could finally overcome the Democrats’ allergy to equality. Republicans sponsored and overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Democrats filibustered them. When segregationist Democrats added women's rights to the Civil Rights Act, they thought they were giving the Act a "poison pill." But Republicans were fine with it, and they led the charge to pass it.

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That shouldn’t surprise us. It was Republicans who pioneered in granting voting rights to women in the 19th Amendment, too.

Democrats only latched onto the Civil Rights issue when they saw that they could garner more votes from it. Concern for vulnerable Americans ... that came a distant second. For parties without a principle, that's how it tends to go.

The Party of Life

When the next great civil rights issue came to forefront, what happened? Lawless judges pretended to find a right to destroy the most vulnerable among us, the child in the womb. Where? In the Constitution's ban on "unlawful search and seizure." Which party acted? Some honorable Democrats like Ellen McCormack tried to hold that party to its rhetoric of concern for the least among us. But by 1992, pro-life Democrats like Gov. Robert Casey were forbidden to speak at the party's convention. Now, the DNC won't even back pro-life Democrats for mayors of little towns. The great pro-life Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski is fighting for his life. His own party is against him.

Democrats only latched onto the Civil Rights issue when they saw that they could garner more votes from it. Concern for vulnerable Americans ... that came a distant second. For parties without a principle, that's how it tends to go.

Meanwhile, with Ronald Reagan and the awakening of American Christians, the pro-life movement swept the Republicans by storm. Now the GOP is the most pro-life party in the world west of Warsaw, Poland. That's some pretty good company to be in, don't you think?

Winning the Cold War

Speaking of Poland, which party was it that stood firm against the evils of Communist tyranny throughout the whole life of that movement? From 1917 till 1990, when the Soviet Union finally collapsed, and Eastern Europe was free. The Republican Party. We never had to worry that secret Communist Party members or fellow travelers were getting close to our president. The Democrats did. They're the party of Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, and Henry Wallace -- each of whom encouraged FDR to knuckle under to Stalin.

No, our party stood by Taiwan, and South Korea, and South Vietnam, and then by Poland when Solidarity faced repression by Communist jackboots. Ronald Reagan flouted the experts, who begged him not to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." He laughed at the specialists, who assured him it would last for centuries. He knew that the souls of every person in each of those captive nations were special and precious. And he dreamed of setting them free. He played hardball with the Soviets, but knew when to negotiate. He lived to see our adversary collapse after he left office.

Defending the Most Vulnerable

Today the Republican party stands for the sanctity of life. For individual freedom, and the free exercise of religion. For our right to express ourselves freely. To defend ourselves against violence. For the rights of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East to live in peace. For the right of Israel to exist in peace and safety.

We also want to protect some groups of vulnerable Americans you don't hear about. We want to save less-skilled workers from exploitation. That means controlling our borders and making employers obey the law. So they can't use illegal immigrants as expendable units in sweatshops. Or run down the wages of less privileged Americans, by replacing them with workers who lack legal protections.

The Golden Thread

From the days when the party was founded, in rejection of cruel, forced labor, to today -- when we seek the rule of law on our nation's borders and justice for unborn children and their mothers ... a long golden thread connects these principled stances. And I'm more than a little proud to take up that thread, and carry it into the future. To pass it on, help weave it more deeply into our nation's tapestry.

So I'll just go ahead and say it: I'm proud to be a Republican. And you should be too.

Maybe Trump is the Only One Who Knows How to Play This Game

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 11:00

Who or what is responsible for progressives' aggressive attack on common sense ideas? Even center-right thinkers like the New York Times' David Brooks are noticing the new wartime tactics.

First Democrats denounce. Next Hollywood disdains. Then the Sports-Entertainment complex shames. Finally Big Business threatens to take away jobs.

Republicans had hoped these shock and awe attacks would be confined to gay issues. But success breeds imitators. These war tactics give progressives control over the Republican agenda. So they are migrating to other issues. Cue Democrats’ attack on the NRA, followed by Hollywood’s ritual two-minute anti-NRA hates. Then the corporations pile on NRA members. Each phase means more mainstream anti-NRA stories, more late-night comics, the next round of Hollywood tweeting, the next corporate punishments.

Clearly, something big is happening that Republicans and conservatives have no clue how to deal with.

The Left’s War Tactics

So it is good that David Brooks penned an extremely important column on the left's culture war tactics. He's right: These tactics work. Brooks points to just a few of several common-sense ideas that can now end your career: Men and women are different. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Affirmative action is wrong. “Only women can have babies” is the new racism.

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Brooks and other centrists on the right and left are concerned. Good. But there is one flaw in their analyses. These tactics are not new. The process has been unfolding for the last decade. Brooks is wrong about one big thing: Trump did not make the left go crazy.

Trump: The Response, Not the Cause

As I have argued here and here, Donald Trump is best seen as the response to this delegitimization process -- certainly not as its cause. The reason "respectable" mainstream conservatives are respectable is precisely because when the left attacked Trump they played dead or played along. They didn't stand up, and they didn't push back.

Indeed, unwittingly, Brooks himself engages in such delegitimization when he accuses Trump of "racial prejudices." For years "racism" has been a club used to silence people and ideas. Racism is ugly and wrong. But the left now calls anyone racist who wants to discuss vetting immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, ending illegal immigration, increasing border security, or who opposes tearing down historic monuments and renaming beloved football teams.

Donald Trump's appeal comes precisely from his refusal to bow down to progressive elites’ self-imposed moral authority on hate.

Donald Trump's appeal comes precisely from his refusal to bow down to progressive elites’ self-imposed moral authority on hate. This explains his attacks on the "fake news" media, the NFL, and deep-state cliques within the FBI and DOJ. Rather than accept the left as the cultural arbiters, Trump confronted it. Progressive hates President Trump precisely because he contests their moral authority. He exposes PC as a club used to silence decent people for having reasonable concerns. These same decent people responded in the only way they could: they voted for President Trump.

Mainstream Conservatives Are Missing It

The left's culture war has successfully shut up Republicans on most cultural issues, except one: abortion. Over the last decade, pro-lifers have gone on offense and begun to defeat those who support this barbaric procedure. And they continue to gain ground. Why? Because pro-lifers fight hard and publicly, in politics as well as policy.

President Trump won in large part because he stood up for ordinary Americans against the left's hate machine. Trump understands this. The left also understands this; that is why they hate Trump so much.

The only ones who still don’t have a clue are “mainstream conservatives.”

Border Wall Would Pay for Itself by Cutting Welfare Use by Illegal Immigrants

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 00:17

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said Mexico would foot the bill for his proposed wall along the southwest border, but the barrier could end up paying for itself by saving the U.S. Treasury billions in welfare payments.

Estimates for building a solid physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border range from $18 to $25 billion, depending on the type and distance of the wall. Once constructed, though, the barrier would save several times that amount by reducing the number of illegal border crossers who end up on welfare rolls, according to Steven Camarota, the research director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

"The wall could pay for itself even if it only modestly reduced illegal crossings and drug smuggling," he told the New York Post.

Camarota crunched the numbers and found that if the border wall cut an expected 1.7 million illegal crossings by 200,000 -- about 12 percent -- over a decade, it would pay for itself in fiscal savings from welfare, public education, tax credits and other benefits available to low-income, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

At the higher end of effectiveness, if a wall stopped 50 percent of those expected crossings in the next 10 years, it would save $64 billion -- nearly four times the cost of the wall -- in welfare and social spending alone.

That's because, despite a prohibition on illegal immigrants using federal welfare, the majority of households headed by illegal immigrants are on welfare through their children. U.S. Census Bureau surveys show that about 62 percent of all illegal immigrant-headed households use at least one federal welfare program, according to a 2015 CIS report authored by Camarota.

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Use of Medicaid is especially high -- about half of all illegal-immigrant households use federal programs that pay for the hospital bills of poorer Americans. That figure jumps to 72 percent for illegal immigrant households with children.

Many illegal immigrants also receive refundable tax credits for their U.S.-born children because the IRS requires a filer only to show a taxpayer identification number to receive the child tax credit. That interpretation translates to a huge subsidy: In 2013, 4.4 million filers using a taxpayer identification number claimed child tax credits worth $6 billion, according to a 2013 GAO report.

Some border security experts say access to welfare and tax credits is a powerful magnet for illegal immigration. A wall along the southwest border would go a long way toward deterring those looking to cross into the U.S. illegally to take advantage of welfare programs, explained Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.

"When you look at what a wall will do in allowing us to apprehend the vast majority of those individuals that are coming across the border, it will cut down on how much the taxpayer burden will be, which then will go straight into funding the wall," he told Fox & Friends on Monday.

The Department of Homeland Security has not yet developed an effective way to measure precisely how effective walls are at countering illegal immigration, but previous examples of border barriers have proven to work where they have been built.

A 2006 Congressional Research Service analysis of the southern border found that a fence in the San Diego sector, combined with an increase in agents and other resources, caused apprehensions in the sector to decline by 76 percent over a 12-year period from 1992 to 2004. In El Paso, a two-story corrugated metal fence first erected under the Bush administration reduced illegal border crossings in the area by 89 percent from 2006 to 2012, reports the New York Post.


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Professor Kicks Student Out of Class for Challenging Feminist Arguments in Class on Christianity

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 00:04

An Indiana University Pennsylvania professor barred one of her students from a class on Christianity for refusing to apologize for challenging transgender and feminist arguments.

Lake Ingle, an Indiana University senior, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he appeared before the university's Academic Integrity Board (AIB) on March 9 to dispute Dr. Alison Downie's attempt to have him permanently removed from a class called "Special Topics In Christianity: Self, Sin, And Salvation."

Downie sanctioned Ingle and tried to have him barred from the class for challenging the premise of a Feb. 28 class discussion based on a Ted Talk by Paula Stone Williams, who is a transgender woman. Ingle told TheDCNF that he objected to the discussion because Downie allegedly prompted the class to talk about "the reality of white male privilege," systemic male sexism, and concepts like "mansplaining" based on Williams' talk.

"I protested to the use of anecdotal evidence to then start a discussion and trying to reference the material or the speaker's account as if they were facts. The professor made it very clear that these things (White male privilege, mainsplaining, etc.) were ... well, she seemed to me that she made it clear that they were a reality and not part of an ongoing discussion," Ingle told TheDCNF.

The course's syllabus says the class "traces historical developments and contemporary debates in Christian understanding of the human, sin, and salvation" and that students will gain an understanding of these subjects by engaging with and discussing "a range of Christian perspectives."

Downie also wrote in the course's "Classroom Policies and Expectations" that students are expected to be active participants in each session.

"Learning is an active, sometimes downright uncomfortable and difficult process which requires sustained, committed involvement in a supportive (and, I hope fun) respectful atmosphere....In my view, if a course (or research) is not challenging, even disruptive in some ways, it is not likely to be particularly rewarding," Downie wrote.

Downie clarified further down in the document that students can cultivate a respectful atmosphere by seriously engaging with the course material through analysis and critique based on a thorough understanding of the selected author's or speaker's position.

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Ingle also alleged that Downie opened up the class discussion only to the female students. Male students were, according to Ingle, instructed to remain silent until the female students had their chance to speak. Ingle told TheDCNF that he waited for up to a minute, during which time no student spoke, before speaking out and giving what he described as a "passionate" rebuttal of the premise of Downie's proposed discussion.

Ingle told Campus Reform that Downie tried to silence him "because I am not a woman." Ingle refused to be deterred, however, and according to the Facebook post "took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim there are only two biological genders" and disputed the gender wage gap. Ingle has since deleted the Facebook post in accordance with advice from his legal counsel.

Ingle told TheDCNF that the class continued without disruption after he spoke out, but Downie met with him the following day to give him an Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement. The documents described Ingle's alleged violation and the disciplinary terms to which Downie asked Ingle to agree.

Academic Integrity Referral Form

Downie asked that Ingle agree to write an apology to her for "behavior which has significantly damaged the learning environment of this course," begin class on March 8 by reading an apology to the class, and then listen silently as Downie opened up the floor for herself and Lake's classmates to share "how he or she felt during Lake's disrespectful and disruptive outbursts."

Explanation Of Alleged Violation

Ingle refused to sign the documents, alleging that Downie's account of the incident included false statements and claims that he never made.

"I did not object to the views of the speaker (Paula Stone). Rather, I objected to its misuse as hard evidence to support the 'reality' of phenomena that are not only a matter of opinion, but also empirically unsupported (wage gap statistics). It is my belief that the instructor's decision to file these sanctions is an attempt to bully me into redacting my views, making it a matter of free speech," Ingle wrote in his Facebook post, which he provided to TheDCNF.

Upon his refusal to admit fault and agree to the disciplinary terms, Ingle received a letter from Provost Dr. Timothy Moerland, explaining that he was barred from the class upon Downie's request. The letter explained further that Ingle could not return to class until the academic integrity charges against him had been adjudicated and that he was not allowed to have any form of contact with Downie or the class members.

Letter From Provost

Ingle told TheDCNF that Downie claimed at the March 9 hearing before the AIB that she had taken issue with Lake's contributions to class discussions, which Downie allegedly described as "domineering and agressive," since week two of the course. The course is now in week seven, and Lake and his counsel argued that Downie never made any issue known to Lake concerning his class contributions until Feb. 29. A student witness also testified on Ingle's behalf at the hearing, according to Ingle. The unnamed student allegedly testified that while Ingle's comments during the Feb. 28 class were "passionate and enthusiastic," they were not disrespectful.

Ingle also told TheDCNF that, if the AIB does not rule in his favor, he will not be able to graduate on time and will be forced to repay any federal loans that he has received.

The AIB will issue a ruling in Ingle's case by March 19.

Downie did not respond to TheDCNF's request for comment by the time of publication.


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White House Releases Factsheet on Trump’s School Security Proposals

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 22:06

President Trump says he’s taking immediate action to make schools safer. Yesterday the White House released a “factsheet” of security proposals. The factsheet calls for immediate action in four key areas to help keep students safe from school violence.

Harden the Schools

Trump will help states by providing training for qualified school employees. The Department of Justice will team up with local law officials to offer voluntary firearms training. Trump also wants to see veterans and retired cops go into education careers. He will support their transition process.

He also calls on  states to audit school districts to ensure they comply with state “emergency preparedness” plans.

States and local officials  are encouraged to launch public awareness campaigns based on “See Something, Say Something.” It will encourage people to keep an eye out for and report suspicious behavior. 

Strengthen Background Checks and Prevention

Trump wants to shore up background checks and police operations. He’s pushing states to adopt “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPOs). The ERPOs will allow police to take guns away from people who “have demonstrated” they are a threat to themselves or others. It would also temporarily prevent them from buying guns.

The president backs the Cornyn-Murphy bill. The bill will help “improve the accuracy and effectiveness” of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It will hold federal agencies more accountable for reporting to the NICS and provide incentives to states to report to the system. 

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The president also supports the “STOP School Violence Act” legislation. The Act provides grants to states to use for training, equipment and assistance to help schools recognize and prevent violence. The grants may be provided as early as this year. 

The administration will promote the FBI’s tip line and audit the service to improve accountability. The DOJ will provide emergency and crisis training for local law enforcement. 

Reform Mental Health Care

Trump wants to expand and reform mental health programs. One aspect is doctors and family services working more closely. Trump is also calling for supporting programs that use court-ordered treatment. He wants a review of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). He also wants a review of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), among other privacy protections. Trump wants to see if any changes are needed to improve team work between doctors, schools and police.


Trump will create a federal commission to “address school safety and the culture of violence.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will head up the group. It will develop a process to study and provide guidance on school safety. It will provide guidance in areas like age restrictions on certain gun purchases and the effects of press coverage of mass shootings


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