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the thinking everyman’s national daily—championing freedom, smaller government and human dignity.
Updated: 6 hours 28 min ago

Storm Moves Up East Coast Dumping Snow, Knocking Out Power

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:53

NEW YORK (AP) -- The second major storm in less than a week moved up the East Coast early Thursday, dumping heavy snow and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses from Pennsylvania to New England.

Some places saw more than 2 feet of snow by late Wednesday. Montville, New Jersey, got more than 26 inches from the nor’easter. North Adams, Massachusetts, registered 24 inches and Sloatsburg, New York, got 26 inches.

Major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor saw much less. Philadelphia International Airport recorded about 6 inches, while New York City’s Central Park saw less than 3 inches.

The storm made traveling treacherous. Thousands of flights across the region were canceled.

It was not much better on the ground. Members of the Northeastern University women’s basketball team pushed their bus back on course after it was stuck in the snow outside a practice facility in Philadelphia. The Huskies were in the city to compete in the 2018 CAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The team posted a video of the feat on its Twitter account.

Amtrak suspended service between New York City and Boston until at least 10 a.m. Thursday. New York City’s Metro-North commuter railroad suspended service on lines connecting the city to its northern suburbs and Connecticut because of downed trees. It was not immediately known when service would be restored.

“It’s kind of awful,” said New York University student Alessa Raiford, who put two layers of clothing on a pug named Jengo before taking him for a walk in slushy, sloppy Manhattan, where rain gave way to wet snow in the afternoon. “I’d rather that it be full-on snowing than rain and slush. It just makes it difficult.”

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The storm was not predicted to be as severe as the nor’easter that toppled trees, inundated coastal communities and caused more than 2 million power outages from Virginia to Maine last Friday.

It still proved to be a headache for the tens of thousands of customers still in the dark from the earlier storm -- and for the crews trying to restore power to them.

In New Jersey, the state’s major utilities reported more than 300,000 customers without power by late Wednesday, with some left over from last week. Utilities across the Northeast also reported tens of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through Thursday for most of New England as the storm continued to make its way through.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, public works crews late Wednesday had a hard time keeping up with the snow.

“It’s heavy. Well, it was so warm earlier that it just melted when it hit the ground and now it’s heavy,” said Jesse Nadeau. “It’s the heaviest part of the storm right now for the next couple of hours. Heavy and wet.”

In North White Plains, New York, 10 people were taken to hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator inside a home, police said. All were expected to survive.

In Manchester Township, New Jersey, police said a teacher was struck by lightning while holding an umbrella on bus duty outside a school. The woman felt a tingling sensation but didn’t lose consciousness. She was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.


Porter reported from Newark, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Michael Catalini in Morrisville, Pennsylvania; Michael Sisak and Rod Hicks in Philadelphia; Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Bruce Shipkowski in Toms River, New Jersey, and Rodrique Ngowi in Worcester, Massachusetts, contributed.

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

Lord, I Know You Order My Steps, But Through a Field Full of Cow Patties?!

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 10:00

At first glance, the Facebook post from a friend seemed worth only a quick glance and warm smile: A picture of our beaming, beautiful friend Stephanie standing next to nice-looking young man on stage at an awards show. (No, not the Oscars. Though I would not at all be surprised to see her win an Academy Award someday.)

The caption expressed Stephanie’s joy at being able to be present at an award with “my man.” “Aw, that’s nice,” I thought. “I’m happy for her.”

Then a lightbulb went off. That’s the guy she met while doing a play at a theater in Bedford, Texas. Oh, how she hated being in that play. The director treated her like an ignorant piece of dirt. Her co-star was arrogant, ungiving and absent for many for rehearsals. The people running the theater and most of the cast wanted nothing to do with her. The play itself was also awful. If I recall correctly, even the popcorn was stale.

Stephanie was miserable. She dreaded every night. She wanted to quit. “Why am I doing this?!” But she’s a pro so she soldiered on, gradually forming a friendship with one of the actors. After the show thankfully ended its run, romance blossomed.

So is Stephanie glad she did the show now or what? Did God add an unexpected blessing at the end of that painful run?

He does that, doesn’t he?

The Muck of Texas

Last Saturday, I was out with other men from my church clearing fallen branches from some church property. While dragging some branches up a hill, a fellow I’d just met asked, “Do you like being in Texas?”  I didn’t answer right away. For one thing, the question he should have asked is, “Do you need oxygen?” or “Man, just how bad a shape are you in?”

Seriously, I have a tough time with the question. Our four years in Texas have been a struggle. We’ve seen an unending series of deaths and family dysfunctions, along with betrayals and cruelty that have us muttering, “At least in L.A. no one pretends to be pious before stabbing you in the back.” We’ve had doors inexplicably slammed in our face. Rugs pulled out. We’ve wrestled with a fixer-upper where no initial fix ever goes right. At bedtime we count mosquitoes instead of sheep. My wife, at God’s prompting, gave up her acting career when it was going better than ever, to … well …  well … He hasn’t said yet.

And we miss very much being around my family, and trees and mountains and water. This isn’t home.

Yet, enough good -- even miraculous -- things have happened in Texas to prove we were not forsaken. To prove His hand is on our lives. That He has indeed ordered our steps, even if those steps take us through a field loaded with cow patties.

The Lord Has Us Where He Wants Us

We are disciples. That means we follow Christ. We are sheep following the Shepherd. And so we are guided … in our case to Dallas/Ft. Worth.

God had to be thinking of Texas when He said, through the prophet Isaiah: “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”(Isaiah 58:11)

Paul echoes the point, saying, “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)  

Sure, sometimes amid His wonderful showering the world throws down hail. And that hail can smash up your “watered garden.” I can show you the damaged flower beds.

No Asterisk

However, even the hail the Lord turns into hallelujah’s. 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

This is why Paul tells us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thesselonians 5:16-18)

The “all” doesn’t come with an asterisk. 

Whatever field He has placed you in at this hour, I pray you will understand how firmly He has you in his care. He has not dumped you and driven on down the road. He’s there with you. His work and will is being done. There is purpose for your placement, even if like some episode of Fixer Upper, you have to wait until the hour’s up for the great “reveal.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says it best: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Even bad productions and barren plains far from home. 

Military Photo of the Day: Coast Guard Crew Goes for a Swim

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 08:00

A U.S. Coast Guard crew demonstrates a search and rescue operation in Homer, Alaska.

Wow! Thanks to Ben Mitchell for taking this photograph.





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Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Sessions’ Anti-Sanctuary Lawsuit

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 01:37

The U.S. Department of Justice sued California Tuesday over provisions of state law which allegedly inhibit the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The lawsuit is the first salvo in a new federal effort to aggressively enforce immigration statutes.

The suit names California, Democrats Gov. Jerry Brown, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra as defendants.


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At a general level, the suit is a constitutional challenge to the state's sanctuary laws. The Justice Department said California has adopted laws that undermine powers the Constitution delegates to Congress exclusively.

In turn, California will likely reply that their provisions aren't truly in conflict with federal law, and that the Trump administration cannot coerce state agencies into compliance with federal goals. The latter concept is referred to as anti-commandeering.

The lawsuit challenges three state laws.

The Justice Department argues the statutes inhibit enforcement of two federal laws: the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Immigration Reform and Control Act (ICRA). These laws govern the entry, status, and removal of foreign aliens, and sets forth federal authority to investigate, detain, and deport illegal immigrants. ICRA particularly bans the employment of illegal aliens.

The first law (Law A) prohibits private companies from voluntarily cooperating with immigration authorities in several important respects. It forbids employers from sharing records about legal status or allowing immigration agents into "nonpublic" business spaces without a warrant, and requires supervisors to warn employees in advance of immigration inspections.

The successful enforcement of the INA and ICRA, they note, assumes cooperation and collaboration between federal, state, and local agencies.

"These provisions, individually and collectively, have the purpose and effect of interfering with the enforcement of the INA and IRCA's prohibition on working without authorization," the complaint says.

The second law (Law B) gives the attorney general of California significant power to investigate certain facilities where immigrant detainees are housed. Through contracts with the federal government, private prisons and local detention centers quarter foreign nations pending deportation proceedings. Law B allows the AG or his designee to audit these stations for compliance with state safety laws, as well as the due process provided to detainees and the circumstances surrounding their apprehension.

DOJ claims no other federal subsidiary in California is subject to such heightened scrutiny.

The complaint suggest the primary purpose of these intrusions is to slow the administration of the removal process.

"The statute thus commands an improper, significant intrusion into federal enforcement of the immigration laws," it reads.

The third law (Law C) limits the scope of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement with respect to the immigration status of individuals in California's custody. The government often waits to deport criminal aliens until the conclusion of their jail terms. Under the terms of Law C, state and local officials may not disclose a prisoner's personal information to federal immigration authorities, with certain exceptions.

What's more, Law C requires the federal government to present a warrant before the state that will release criminal aliens to federal custody. Federal law relies on a system of civil administrative warrants for immigrant arrest and removal, and does not use judicial warrants, which can be harder and more time-consuming to obtain.

"These provisions impermissibly prohibit even the most basic cooperation with federal officials," the lawsuit states.

At several points the lawsuit quotes a 2012 Supreme Court decision, Arizona v. U.S., which struck down rigorous state laws meant to enhance enforcement of federal immigration statutes. The three provisions in question made it a state crime to be unlawfully present in the U.S., allowed warrantless arrests of suspected unlawful immigrants, and enjoined illegal immigrants from holding or searching for jobs.

A fourth provision requiring police to check the immigration status of all arrestees was upheld.

A five justice majority explained that Congress has broad power to set and enforce immigration law, and that federal statutes must prevail over state measures where the two conflict. Those same principles are applicable here, DOJ argues.

"The provisions of state law at issue have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California," the complaint reads. "The supremacy clause does not allow California to obstruct the United States' ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted or to take actions entrusted to it by the Constitution."

The Constitution's supremacy clause gives precedence to federal laws over the states where constitutional powers and interests are concerned.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the federal trial court with offices in Sacramento and Fresno.

Speaking by phone with reporters Tuesday night, Becerra said California works in concert, not in opposition, to federal law, and that state entities cannot be used in furtherance of federal policy goals.

"In California, our state laws work in concert with federal law," he said. "Our teams work together to go after drug dealers and go after gang violence. What we won't do is change from being focused on public safety. We're in the business of public safety, not deportation."

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Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Mexico, Canada and Others May be Exempted from Trump’s Tariffs

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 01:12

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House said Wednesday that Mexico, Canada and other countries may be spared from President Donald Trump’s planned steel and aluminum tariffs under national security “carve-outs,” a move that could soften the blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners and dire economic warnings from lawmakers and business groups.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the exemptions would be made on a “case by case” and “country by country” basis, a reversal from the policy articulated by the White House just days ago that there would be no exemptions from Trump’s plan.

The update came as congressional Republicans and business groups braced for the impact of expected tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, appearing resigned to additional protectionist trade actions as Trump signaled upcoming economic battles with China. Trump was expected to announce the tariffs Thursday afternoon.

The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors worried about a potential trade war.

“We urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers,” 107 House Republicans wrote in a letter to Trump.

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At the White House, officials were working to include language in the tariffs that would give Trump the flexibility to approve exemptions for certain countries.

“He’s already indicated a degree of flexibility, I think a very sensible, very balanced degree of flexibility,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC. “We’re not trying to blow up the world.”

Trump signaled other trade actions could be in the works. In a tweet, he said the “U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft.” A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the U.S. trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are “unreasonable or discriminatory” to American business.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said an announcement on the findings of the report -- and possible retaliatory actions -- was expected within the next three weeks.

Business leaders, meanwhile, continued to sound the alarm about the potential economic fallout from tariffs, with the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raising the specter of a global trade war. That scenario, Tom Donohue said, would endanger the economic momentum from the GOP tax cuts and Trump’s rollback of regulations.

“We urge the administration to take this risk seriously,” Donohue said.

The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security. He has tried to use the tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, suggesting Canada and Mexico might be exempted from tariffs if they offer more favorable terms under NAFTA.

Lawmakers opposed to the tariffs, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have suggested more narrowly focused approaches to target Chinese imports. But members of Congress have few tools at their disposal to counter the president, who has vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge.

“I don’t think the president is going to be easily deterred,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who has suggested hearings on the tariffs.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Trump had listened to him and others who disagree with the direction of the trade policies. “I thank him for that and he’s been a good listener. The difficulty is so far I haven’t persuaded him,” Alexander said.

Republicans in Congress have lobbied administration officials to reconsider the plan and focus the trade actions on China, warning that allies such as Canada and members of the European Union would retaliate.

The EU said it was prepared to respond to any tariffs with counter-measures against U.S. products such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi’s jeans and bourbon. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the EU was circulating among member states a list of U.S. goods to target with tariffs so it could respond quickly.

The president plans to rally Republicans in western Pennsylvania on Saturday in support of Rick Saccone, who faces Democrat Conor Lamb in a March 13 special House election. Trump has told associates the tariffs could be helpful to the GOP cause in the election in the heart of steel country.


Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Matthew Daly and Alan Fram in Washington and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.


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

Republican Jewish Coalition Calls on Democrats to Resign Over Farrakhan Ties

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 18:54

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) has called on seven House Democrats to resign after The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed their direct ties to notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.

California Reps. Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, New York Rep. Gregory Meeks and Texas Rep. Al Green have all attended meetings with Farrakhan while in Congress, according to photos, videos and witness accounts of the meetings reviewed by TheDCNF.

TheDCNF previously reached out to the seven Democrats for comment. Six of them declined to comment. The seventh, Rep. Danny Davis, confirmed his relationship with Farrakhan in two phone calls with this reporter. Davis called Farrakhan an "outstanding human being" in one of those phone calls and said in the second he isn't bothered by Farrakhan's stance on "the Jewish question."

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"There can be no question about how abhorrent it is for these Democrats to be connected to Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan is first and foremost a preacher of hate. He preaches about Jewish 'control' over the government and media and has claimed to have 'pulled a cover off of that Satanic Jew,' saying 'your time is up, your world is through.' And those were just the comments from last week," RJC executive director Matt Brooks said in a statement.

"Anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Farrakhan is the moral equivalent of a leader of the KKK. If it was discovered that members of Congress had met with the leader of the KKK, they would need to resign. In this case, for meeting with, and embracing, Louis Farrakhan, nothing short of resignation is acceptable from these seven Democrats," Brooks said.

The left-wing Women's March organization has faced a similar backlash over their leaders' ties to Farrakhan and public defense of him.


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Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Why The Stream? To Give You a Joshua and Caleb Report

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 18:46

Do you want fake, deceptive, manipulative news fed by fear, doubt and unbelief? Or do you want the truth that is filled with faith, hope and trust in God's desire to bless your life in every possible way?

Today's news media is like the 10 spies who returned from scouting the Promised Land of Canaan. (Numbers 13-14) They push aside the milk and honey, dwell on the problems, and promise a fearful future. Their reports drip with despair and distortion. They diminish the God-given power of man and distain the promises of God.

The Stream serves to follow the footsteps of those other two scouts, Joshua and Caleb. We don't deny the troublesome "giants" in the land. But we know we are not grasshoppers. And we know our God.

The Promised Land

God not only delivered Israel from bondage to Pharaoh and Egypt, but also desired to lead them to freedom in a land of abundant fruitfulness and blessing.

Where others see "strong fortifications" and a "land that devours its inhabitants," we see a land that can prosper its inhabitants.

We can see America as such a land; a land where you have bountiful resources and opportunities that only freedom offers; opportunities to reclaim what the enemy has stolen, limited or damaged.

For instance, the tools are at hand to:

Greatly improve the economy. Limit foolish, excessive taxation. Eliminate out of control federal government overreach, damaging regulations, and ineffective, unsustainable bureaucratic agencies. Uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Repair entitlements that require no accountability or responsibility. Demand the wise use of people's money and vote out of office those who are lousy stewards.

We can protect the lives of the innocent and unborn. And we can send packing politicians who openly, blatantly cast aside the Ten Commandments, religious liberty and the preciousness of life.

In other words, where others see "strong fortifications" and a "land that devours its inhabitants," we see a land that can prosper its inhabitants.

But we can't do it alone. In fact we can't even start without the Lord in our corner.

Joshua and Caleb Share the Key

Joshua and Caleb understood, as The Stream understands, that not even an acre of ground can be captured, but for the Lord. "If the Lord is pleased with us," they say. "Do not rebel against the Lord," they warn.

The One who knows what the best is and wants nothing but the best for His children, "led them out to lead them in."

Those who follow Him and trust Him will themselves become a well watered garden and an inspiration to all who observe the fruit of love, joy, peace and every aspect of Holy Spirit life manifested in their lives, even when facing challenges, threats and attacks.

Paul said that we are God's cultivated field: "For we are God's fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God's cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God's building." (1 Cor. 3:9 Amplified)

We are to yield our lives, allowing Him to plant good seed of the Word, and bless with the sunlight of His radiant glory. The receptive soil of your yielded lives will produce fruit 30, 60 and 100 fold for His glory and kingdom purpose. The world will be impacted by the weight of His transforming truth, power and presence revealed through Spirit-filled believers.

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He then says He has given us a garden to tend and oversee. It is far greater in potential blessings and productivity than the Garden of Eden, and much larger. It's called "Planet Earth." Always remember, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof."

The fulfillment of every worthy dream and goal is made possible when those created in His image accept with total dedication His command to allow the reality of His kingdom presence and peace in our lives to prevail.

There is not a challenge, need, goal or dream that cannot be accomplished by those created in the image of the Creator, by those who willingly submit to the direction of Divine Providence. Believe it and let's together claim the land of promise in our day by yielding everything to Him with no strings attached. Amazing things will happen.

Don't believe me?

Look Around Your Land

Consider a few amazing wonders -- needs met, miraculous inventions and meaningful comfort and blessings:

No bird can fly as high or fast as man can now. We control the temperature in our homes, workplace, transportation, and even in automobiles. We have shopping centers and stores. Multiple means of transportation -- highways, bridges. Meaningful laws and security. Communication via radios, television, smart phones and now the internet, where knowledge is available at your fingertips. The good news can now reach every nook and cranny at every corner of the earth. The Stream does this.

There is nothing man, created in the image of God, cannot accomplish. However, there's also nothing the deceiver and destroyer cannot diminish, damage or destroy -- except God's unshakable kingdom. Every good thing is under attack by the enemy, the principles and powers of darkness.

The enemies of truth and freedom aren't going to hand over the land without a fight.

The Lord enables us to be "overcomers" and "more than conquerors." Believers can reclaim the land that the enemy has taken and we can restore principles and values that the enemy has cast aside. God's people can and must reclaim the land of promise, not by sitting on the sidelines merely going to church, but by being the church and fulfilling our kingdom purpose.

As in any war, victory depends on a true assessment of the challenges and wisdom necessary to determine the best approach.

Every challenge and crisis will be met with wisdom from above, unconditional love, and determination with the faithful pursuit of God's will on earth, because His kingdom is at hand and is manifest through the lives of born again believers who are serious about the Lord's great commission.

We can witness mountain-moving manifestations of God's presence with abundant harvests, blessings, provision, peace and comfort. But as in any war, victory depends on a true assessment of the challenges and wisdom necessary to determine the best approach. Which gets me back to the purpose of The Stream.

The Purpose of The Stream

The Stream was birthed in prayer and launched to share truth, insight and inspiration to give understanding of the times, reveal serious problems and the best approach to find effective solutions. The Stream seeks to help find common ground to address our common concerns, guided by God and articulated in The Stream's Ten Principles:

Every human being has equal value and dignity. We are inherently and specifically social. Marriage and the family are the fundamental social institutions. We can know God and moral truth. Judeo-Christian religious faith guards our freedom. We're all sinners. We need a state strong enough to protect and maintain the rule of law but limited enough not to violate it. We are meant to be free and responsible. When we're free, we can create wealth and value. Culture comes before politics.

I believe Kingdom people will embrace the true Joshua and Caleb reports and follow the Shepherd's guidance, living in the shadow of the Almighty. This is not only the mission and goal of The Stream, but also the desire of our Father for his family through which He can bless the nations of the world.

Dems, Women Candidates Score Big in Texas Primaries; GOP Also Breaks Records

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:34

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Women running for Congress surged to big wins and Democrats smashed recent turnout levels in Texas’ first-in-the-nation 2018 primary elections, giving Republicans a potential glimpse of what’s ahead in the first midterms under President Donald Trump.

Energized and angry Democrats in Texas, where the GOP has dominated for decades, came out in force to surpass 1 million voters Tuesday -- the first time the party has eclipsed that benchmark in a midterm primary since 2002, just months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Equally striking was the showing by women on the ballot: Of the nearly 50 women running for Congress in Texas, more than half won their primaries outright or advanced to runoffs. What’s more, at least three of those runoffs in May will feature women going head-to-head, including a key race for Democrats in their bid to take control of the U.S. House this fall.

“It’s Trump. It’s Trump,” said Veronica Escobar, who won her Democratic primary and is now poised to become one of the first Hispanic women to represent Texas in Congress.

“I’ve spoken to innumerable senior citizens, retirees, parents of disabled children, people who understand what this administration means to their families. And they’re afraid.”

Not all women fared so well. Kathaleen Wall, a Republican megadonor in Houston who pumped $6 million of her own money into her race for Congress, failed to survive a crowded nine-person field despite outspending all other candidates and having the backing of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Wall’s failure was also a potential warning sign of the limits of Republicans going all-in on Trump this election year. She partly staked her candidacy on TV ads that told voters there was little daylight between her and the president, who remains popular among GOP voters despite his rough edges and low approval ratings nationwide.

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For all the talk of renewed Democratic energy heading into the 2018 midterms, Texas Republicans also set a new benchmark for turnout in a midterm election.

More than 1.5 million people voted Tuesday in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, won by incumbent Ted Cruz. That beats the previous record of 1.48 million in 2010, during former President Barack Obama’s first term.

Democrats showed up despite the long odds this November of ousting Republicans such as Cruz -- who released a radio ad after clinching the GOP nomination Tuesday night, telling voters that Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke “wants to take our guns.”

O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso, has called for banning AR-15-style assault rifles in wake of last month’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.

Neither that tragedy nor a mass shooting at a Texas church last fall played as dominant campaign issues in Texas, but with the GOP’s majority in Congress on the line this fall, Democrats showed up.

Democrats have their sights on flipping three GOP-controlled congressional seats in Texas that backed Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, including a Houston district where liberal favorite Laura Moser forced a runoff with Lizzie Pannill Fletcher. Another is a sprawling district that runs along the Texas-Mexico border, where Gina Ortiz-Jones advanced to a May runoff and another woman, Judy Canales, was battling to join her.

“I think that a Congress that is only 20 percent women is not where we need to be,” Ortiz-Jones said. “This is not a spectator sport. We’ve got to participate, all of us and that’s what’s important.”

College students waited more than an hour to vote in liberal Austin and rural counties offered Democratic candidates for the first time in years. Many women ran in a record eight open congressional races this year in Texas -- two of which are up for grabs after longtime GOP incumbents abandoned plans for re-election amid scandal.

While 2002 was a high water mark for Democratic turnout in Texas it also showed the limits of the exuberance for turning the state blue. In November that year, the Democrats running for statewide office were all beaten, just as they have been since 1994.

For Republicans, the primary was a vivid exhibition of the Trump effect in GOP politics. George P. Bush, the Texas land commissioner, won a contested primary after he cozied-up to a president who once called his dad, Jeb, a pathetic person.

Trump won Texas by 9 points in 2016. It was the smallest margin of victory by a Republican presidential candidate in Texas in 20 years, but Cruz dismissed talk of a Democratic takeover this fall.

“Left-wing rage may raise a bunch of money from people online, but I don’t believe it reflects the views of a majority of Texans,” he told reporters after winning the nomination.

Democrats will have a tough time winning statewide races in November despite the “Trump effect” because they have fielded little-known candidates against top Republicans, such as Republican Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Even Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been indicted on felony securities fraud charges, clinched his party’s nomination unopposed.

Abbott will face either Lupe Valdez, who was Texas’ first Hispanic, lesbian sheriff, or Andrew White, who opposes abortion and whose father, Mark, was governor in the 1980s.


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Aussie Diplomat Who Got Trump-Russia Ball Rolling Tied to Clinton Foundation

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:30

Seems Hillary Clinton’s finger prints are everywhere but the Oval Office. 

Remember the main argument Democrats have been using to push back against the Nunes Memo? “The FBI investigation didn’t start with the Clinton-funded Steele Dossier. It began with an Australian diplomat warning the U.S. about another Trump adviser!”

Well, put another shoe on the barbie. It turns out that very same Australian diplomat was responsible for a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. John Solomon and Alison Spann broke the story last night at The Hill. 

Once again, there’s a Clinton connection to the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign. In fact, every element cited as basis for the Trump-Russia collusion investigation has its roots with Hillary. A Hillary Clinton spokesman tells The Hill any connection between the 2006 grant and the current Russia investigation is “laughable.”

Perhaps. But let’s see how funny the situation really is. 

The Aussies Pump Money into Clinton Foundation

In 2006, Alexander Downer was Australia’s foreign minister. He secured a $25 million donation from the Aussie government to the Clinton Foundation to help fight AIDS in Asia. Signed the deal with Bill Clinton himself.

Downer boasted of the Foundation’s “impressive track record to provide practical assistance with procurement, supply chains and health system strengthening.” At the time, says writer Michael Smith, the Clinton Foundation’s Asia Pacific operations had “a total staff of one.” 

The money was re-routed to the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Although auditors accused the charity of inadequate budget oversight and “management weaknesses,” the project did help thousands of HIV-infected patients in Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, China and Indonesia. 

The Clinton Foundation defends the Australian donation and urges Americans to focus on those patients helped. Their statement to The Hill also notes the $25 million was a small percentage of the $2 billion a year the Australian government doles out in developmental assistance. 

All told, the Australian government pumped $88 million into the Foundation between 2006 until shortly after the 2016 election. Nearly $9 million a year. In fact, according to The Australian, Australia was “the single biggest foreign government source of funds for the Clinton Foundation.”

That raised eyebrows Down Under. Wrote The Australian, as quoted by “It’s not clear why Canberra had to go through an American foundation to deliver aid to Asian countries (including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam). There is now every chance the payments will become embroiled in presidential politics.”

Indeed, why go through a middle man? A man named Clinton.

Presidential Politics

The Clinton Foundation was founded in 1997. The Clinton Health Access Initiative in 2002. What was going on in 2006 that could explain the Aussies suddenly breaking open the piggy bank? The Australian newspaper offered a clue in 2008. “The donation was made when the insurgency in Iraq was crippling the presidency of George W. Bush and when Ms. Clinton was clear favourite for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 election.” 

In other words, Hillary Clinton was set to be next President of the United States. 

Australian money began flowing into the Foundation. It continued flowing through Hillary’s time as Secretary of State and the 2016 campaign. The Foundation wasn’t the only one rolling in Aussie dough. Throw in Clinton’s Global Partnership for Education and Australia funneled $460 million into Clinton-affiliated groups. (And former Aussie prime minister and vocal Hillary supporter Julia Gillard became chairman of the Global Partnership.)

But in late November 2016, the money stopped. Australia announced it was not renewing any of its Foundation partnerships. (Despite signing a five-year pledge in 2014.)

What was going on late November 2016? Hillary Clinton was not going to be President of the United States.

Perhaps …

Perhaps the timing is coincidental. Perhaps they simply realized the wasteful Clinton Foundation was not the wisest place to put their charitable dollars. Charity Navigator had put the Foundation on its “watch list” of problematic non-profits 20 months before. 

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So, you might be saying, the Clinton Foundation was a “slush fund.” So the Aussies -- like so many other nations and players -- gave millions to the Clinton’s rather than directly to charities actually on the ground. An ante. The price of having a seat at the Clinton Table. 

Certainly such seats paid off. The International Business Times detailed the benefits for Clinton donors when it came to arms deals while Hillary was Madam Secretary. We know all about Russia and Uranium One. 

But what’s that have to do with Alexander Downer and Trump Russia Collusion Investigation? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps nothing beyond proving Hillary had friends in high places Down Under. That Downer and the Clinton’s had a business ties.

Perhaps it just sets the stage for the drama now being played.

Downer and the Investigation

Alexander Downer is now Australia’s ambassador to London. In May 2016 he meets in a London bar with a young chap named George Padapolous. The one-time Trump campaign adviser is a talker. A boaster. Particularly, it seems, when drunk. He starts blabbing that the Russian government has dirt on Hillary. He would claim he was told by an associate that Russian officials had obtained Hillary’s emails. 

The U.S. knew by May 2016 that Hillary’s server was easy pickings for our enemies. The early draft of the Comey Memo concluded it was “reasonably likely” Hillary’s emails were grabbed. Fox News reported Monday that Peter Strzok knew of a possible breach, but did nothing.

Downer sat on this barroom blubber for two months. However, when Democratic emails -- not Hillary emails, mind you -- began showing up on WikiLeaks, the Aussie government decided to share the quadruple hearsay with their American counterparts. 

The positive spin on this: That’s what friends do. The cynical spin: That’s what friends with a long standing relationship with Hillary do in an election battle. 

And on the basis of what an Aussie diplomat says a drunk said an associate said a Russian official said, the FBI launched a probe into the Trump campaign. 

Jim Jordan Cries Foul

Rep. Jim Jordan is crying foul. He can’t believe the FBI kept Downer’s $25 million tie to the Clinton’s away from Congress. Then again, that’s been the pattern, he says. “We continue to get new information every week it seems that sort of underscores the fact that the FBI hasn’t been square with us.” 

Information such as:

Hillary funding of the Steele Dossier Hillary operatives providing information for the Dossier Hillary supporters pushing the Dossier and plotting against her opponent And now a huge Foundation supporter providing the FBI an opening to investigate Trump.

So why is the Downer connection important?

“The Clintons’ tentacles go everywhere,” says Jordan. “So, that’s why it’s important.”

House Majority Leader Says Lawmakers Will Question FBI on Parkland ‘Failures’

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:13

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday that lawmakers will be looking into why law enforcement failed to act quickly in the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, shooting.

"We will also have the FBI up here talking to the Oversight and Judiciary [committees] on where the failures happened and why, to make sure they can make corrections so it can never repeat itself again," McCarthy said Tuesday at the weekly Republican press conference.

There were reportedly repeated warnings about the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, who was a former student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and whose killing rampage left 17 at the school dead.

A woman said on the FBI's tip line that she thought Cruz was "going to explode," and go "into a school and just shooting the place up," The New York Times reported.

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The Naples Daily News reported that "Broward County deputies received at least 18 calls warning them about Nikolas Cruz from 2008 to 2017, including concerns that he ‘planned to shoot up the school’ and other threats and acts of violence before he was accused of killing 17 people at a high school."

Neighbors of Cruz were reportedly concerned he "planned to shoot up the school" after seeing photos of him on Instagram "brandishing" guns.

McCarthy also said that lawmakers will vote next week on a $50 million bill that would strengthen school security, provide federal funding to "threat assessment teams" that assist schools in sifting through reported threats, devise anonymous reporting systems to assemble reports from students and others, and "fund training and technical assistance for schools and law enforcement to help identify warning signs of potentially violent behavior," according to The Washington Post.

The bill is sponsored by Reps. John Rutherford, R-Fla.; Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.; Ted Deutch, D-Fla.; and Hal Rogers, R-Ky. There are more than 30 co-sponsors and the bill has the support of Sandy Hook Promise, an organization created by parents of victims from the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.


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

America’s Betrayal of the Kurds: The New Munich Surrender

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:01

Remember ISIS? They’re the rabidly Muslim group that imitated their prophet Muhammad directly. Indeed, at The Stream I’ve called them the "Muslim Franciscans.”

ISIS murdered tens of thousands of Christians and other non-Muslims, and Muslims who disagreed with them. They chained up and raped thousands of girls and women as sex slaves. They sponsored or encouraged dozens of brutal terror attacks throughout the West and in America.

ISIS Will Rise Again, Thanks to Turkey, al Qaeda, and the U.S.

And now they have lost their only really effective enemy. The Syrian Kurdish/Christian alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces were the first to beat ISIS in battle. They conquered its capital of Raqqa, and ended its pretensions to be a "caliphate." They did so in partnership with a few U.S. advisors and some modest American help.

But now the SDF have announced that they’re pulling out of the fight against ISIS. So we can expect that brutal organization to make a resurgence in Syria and Iraq. Who knows if they will get so strong that they must be attacked again? But if that happens, American soldiers will have to do the fighting. The Syrian Kurds are out.

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Abandoning Our Allies

Why? Because we abandoned our only real allies in the region. We left them to suffer a brutal invasion by Turkey and the forces of al Qaeda. (Yes, that al Qaeda.) All in service of the expansionism of Islamist dictator Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. So the Syrian Democratic Forces have pulled out of the fight against ISIS. Now they will send their brave soldiers, men and women, Muslim and Christian, to fight against a NATO member and its terrorist militias.

So to save their women and children now, the Kurds and Christians are leaving ISIS alone. If anyone fights ISIS now, it will American soldiers and airmen, whose flag-draped coffins will stream back into the U.S. by the hundreds, and maybe the thousands.

In a statement, the Syrian Democratic Forces cited "the increase in the Turkish brutal air and land bombardment causing dozens of civilian innocent victims. … We would not take this decision if it had not been for the international silence towards the Turkish aggression."

The facts are clear: The only force in Syria that favors religious freedom and rights for women regards Turkey and al Qaeda to be greater threats than ISIS. They share the same ideology as ISIS, drawn from the same branch of the same religion. Turkey even helped ISIS over the years, buying its oil and keeping it going. Now it will fill ISIS’s sandals and reenact its crimes.

Kurds and Christians Will Now Fight a NATO “Ally,” Turkey

So to save their women and children now, the Kurds and Christians are leaving ISIS alone. If anyone fights ISIS now, it will be American soldiers and airmen, whose flag-draped coffins will stream back into the U.S. by the hundreds, and maybe the thousands.

Now that’s a foreign policy triumph of which President Trump can be mighty proud: Leaving the Kurds to suffer the fate of the South Vietnamese. Gee, won’t people be lining up to be U.S. allies next time.

How Britain Ended Up Alone in 1940

On Sunday, one of the only worthy films to be honored was Darkest Hour. It depicted a great man’s response to a desperate situation. Winston Churchill took over the reigns of Britain when it faced the Nazi juggernaut friendless, at almost impossible odds. It’s a testimony to one man’s profound leadership, and a nation’s hidden strengths.

But how did Britain get to be so friendless? By abandoning its allies and failing to keep its word. By denying obvious dangers and hiding behind wishful thinking. Remember the grand strategy of the British and French after World War I to keep Germany down: Surround it with small countries strongly motivated to resist imperialism. Keep a firm military alliance with each of them. Prevent Germany from rearming, and support its moderate politicians.

But cynicism and cowardice among leaders in Britain and France undermined this policy. Afraid of a fight, denying the plain words they read in Mein Kampf, they chose appeasement. They let first the Rhineland, then Austria, then Czechoslovakia fall to the Nazi juggernaut. They ignored Hitler’s brutalities, as today the U.S. ignores Turkey’s. They mocked the German promises to dominate all Europe.

The West’s Next Enemy: Erdogan

So today, we say nothing when Turkey meddles in Western elections. When Erdogan tells Turkish emigrants to outbreed and outvote their Christian hosts. When Erdogan blackmails the EU with threats of millions more Muslim migrants dumped on its doorstep. Just as the British pretended that the SS were not a threat, now we imagine that al Qaeda has somehow changed its stripes.

We are laying the groundwork for another "darkest hour" for Europe and for the West. Will we have a Churchill to take charge when we face our own Dunkirk? Don’t presume on God’s giving us another second chance. The next tide of Jew-hating, anti-Christian totalitarianism might well prevail. If it does, we will look back on our abandonment of the Kurds as we do on Neville Chamberlain’s pathetic surrender at Munich. It seems that "America First" has given way to "Peace in Our Time."

Trump’s Tariffs Would Be a Massive, Self-Inflicted Wound

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:58

Oftentimes in global politics, a country will seek to punish its foreign adversaries by imposing economic sanctions against them, preventing them from purchasing goods or natural resources on the international market.

But this week, President Donald Trump is considering imposing economic sanctions on the United States, in the form of tariffs. This is being done in the name of benefitting our citizens, but that will certainly not be the result.

Make no mistake -- some Americans will be badly hurt by the president's plan to jack up the price of steel and aluminum by imposing tariffs on those imports.

A Commerce Department official has argued that these tariffs would have negligible effects on the economy as a whole. This will be of no comfort to workers who will lose their jobs when their employers find it economically unsustainable for their companies to buy -- at inflated prices -- the specialized steel and aluminum they need to manufacture auto parts, machinery, or other products.

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As Christine McDaniel, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, points out:

Imagine a large bridge collapses in Boston. The impact for the local economy will be felt widely. The impact for the economy as a whole, however, will be negligible (e.g., likely small but negative).

Does that mean that we should be dismissive of the large negative impact of the bridge collapse in Boston, or that we should dismiss the overall negative economic impact just because it is small? Of course not.

And this negative impact is only small relative to the enormous size of the overall U.S. economy.

According to a recent Heritage Foundation study, in 2016, steel-consuming manufacturers that would be harmed by the proposed tariffs employed roughly 6.9 million Americans and the construction industry that uses these metals supported another 10.1 million jobs.

That compares to just 140,000 directly employed by the steel industry whose wages might go up as a result of the rise in the price of steel.

A new report utilizing the same economic model as the Commerce Department found that the net job losses caused by the proposed tariffs will be 146,000 jobs. That's more than the steel industry as a whole contains.

To be specific, it found that U.S. iron and steel employment and nonferrous metals employment would increase by 33,464 jobs, but the impact on the rest of the economy would be a loss of 179,334 jobs. In sum, the effects of these tariffs would be overwhelmingly negative.

Engaging in free trade with other countries is not a zero-sum activity. Winners from free trade vastly outnumber the losers both in and outside the United States.

Not so with the president's proposed tariffs. The losers would dramatically outnumber the winners, and American workers and consumers would ultimately pay the price in the form of lower wages and lost jobs.


Patrick Tyrrell is a research coordinator in The Heritage Foundation's Center for International Trade and Economics.

Anthony B. Kim researches international economic issues at The Heritage Foundation, with a strong focus on economic freedom. Kim is the research manager of the Index of Economic Freedom, the flagship product of the Heritage Foundation in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Read his research. @AKFREEDOM

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

Snowy Nor’easter Brings Threat of More Power Problems

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:58

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Another snowy, blowy nor’easter threatened a new round of power outages as it swirled ashore early Wednesday, causing officials to close schools and government offices and raising concerns for utility customers still trying to bounce back from an earlier storm.

A wintry mix of snow and light rain started falling early Wednesday in many areas, but the precipitation was expected to soon turn to all snow in most areas and then continue through the day.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that stretched from eastern Pennsylvania to most of New England, which was due to be in effect through Thursday morning. Snow accumulations could easily surpass a foot in areas west of the I-95 corridor, with some places in northwest New Jersey forecast to get up to two feet.

“I’m not looking forward to another round of this, but it is what it is,” Chris Martin said as he prepared to leave his Toms River, New Jersey home and head to work at an information technology firm in Philadelphia. “All in all, it hasn’t been a terrible winter, and it seems that March is always our worst month for major storms. We’re a hearty bunch, so some snow and rain isn’t going to stop us.”

Martin had already arranged to stay in Philadelphia overnight, preferring not to take a chance with the expected treacherous road conditions.

“I keep telling myself spring is tight around the corner,” Martin said with a laugh. “If Mother Nature wants to give us one last blast of winter, that’s up to her.”

Heavy, wet snow and gusting winds could take down trees already weakened from last week’s storm and snap power lines, adding to stress for customers who’ve gone days without power.

Utility workers took advantage of milder temperatures and sunshine Tuesday in their scramble to restore electricity to thousands of customers around the Northeast.

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The outages turned to outrage for a New Jersey man whose home had been without electricity since Friday. Robert Winter, 63, threatened to kidnap a utility company employee and blow up a substation, according to police in Vernon. He was charged with making terroristic threats.

More than a foot of snow is expected for some interior areas, the weather service said. Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains and parts of western Massachusetts could see up to 18 inches.

Damaging winds are forecast with gusts of up to 60 mph on Cape Cod, 45 mph at the Jersey shore and 30 mph around suburban Philadelphia.

Depending on the storm’s track, communities along the Interstate 95 corridor could see heavy rain, heavy snow or a mix of both.

Transportation departments in Philadelphia and Boston loaded up salt trucks and treated roads Tuesday, and some airlines waived ticket change fees for airports in the storm’s projected path, such as Newark, Philadelphia, Boston and New York’s JFK.

Amtrak canceled some train service Wednesday, and regional rail trains in Philadelphia will be operating on a weekend schedule.

School districts and municipal operations around Pennsylvania and Connecticut are closed for the day. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared states of emergency.

The National Weather Service urged people to stay off the roads to allow emergency and road crews to do their jobs. Some areas will get as much as 2 to 3 inches of snow an hour. Officials advised homeowners to be careful while shoveling, saying the weight of it has been known cause heart attacks.

A slight consolation is that the storm is not expected to bring the coastal flooding like the one last week. Some New England and New Jersey communities are still feeling the effects of that storm.


Associated Press writer Bruce Shipkowski, in Toms River, New Jersey, contributed to this story.

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

WATCH: US-Israel Alliance Has ‘Never Been Stronger’ Says Pence — and Democratic Leaders

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:45

Early this week, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Ambassador Nikki Haley and other national leaders addressed the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference.

While the threat of Iran and other rogue nations loomed large, the general sessions with over 18,000 attendees were celebratory at times. Many speakers noted this coming May will mark 70 years since the founding of modern-day Israel.

"To this day, we marvel at the faith and resilience of a sacred and broken people, once scattered," said Pence, referencing the Holocaust. "Just three years after walking through the valley of the shadow of death, [they] rose up to reclaim a Jewish future and rebuild a Jewish state."

The event in Washington, D.C., concluded Tuesday with an address from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Today, together, we are writing a new chapter in our common story," he said. "It's a story of freedom, justice, peace and hope."

"Because we're animated by the same values, America and Israel have forged an eternal bond that can never, ever be broken."

Support for Israel Crosses the Political Aisle

AIPAC showcased pro-Israel leaders in both U.S. political parties. On Monday, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., shared the stage with minority whip Steny Hoyer. D-Md. Opponents on most issues, the two House leaders answered questions jointly to show their unified voice on these issues.

"We've seen such great support from Republicans and Democrats," says Sharren Haskel, a member of the Israeli Knesset. "We have to make sure Israel stays a bipartisan issue."

A rising political star in Israel, the 33 year-old spoke at several AIPAC breakout sessions. "Our friendship is based on mutual values of liberty and equality," says Haskel. "The relationship is necessary for stability in the Middle East and to safeguard the values America defends."

Remarks by Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., illustrated her points. "I believe that you can find common ground while still standing your ground," she said. Klobuchar ticked off a list of pro-Israel policies enacted by the Senate, while warning of troubling incidents of vandalism against the Jewish community.

"This last [year,] all 100 senators joined together to push back at the U.N. on the anti-Semitism that we have seen there," the Senator continued. "We need to take on anti-Semitism across the world and at home. In my state, our community centers in Minnesota were targeted last year -- even swastikas [painted] on their homes."

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., related how pro-Israel support has been sustained over decades. "Presidents come and go," he said. "But Congress is the source in Washington of the continued bedrock relationship between the United States and Israel."

As attendees applauded, the conservative added: "Now don't clap too much for Congress."



Embassy Move Keeps Moving Forward

Most of the crowd represented a cross-section of the American Jewish community, with some Christian leaders also in attendance. "The highlights were Nikki Haley and Mike Pence speaking," recalls Haskel, the young Knesset member. "They are very much appreciated in Israel. We really respect all of the work they do and their support."

Indeed, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley received perhaps the loudest and most sustained applause. She addressed an issue utmost in attendees' minds -- the impending move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv.

"Jerusalem was, is and will always be the capital of Israel," stated Haley. "This was not something that was created by the location of an embassy. America did not make Jerusalem Israel’s capital. What President Trump did, to his great credit, was recognize a reality that American presidents had denied for too long."

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Dr. Mike Hayes often participates in AIPAC with his team at the Center for National Renewal. The center on Capitol Hill educates Christian leaders on national issues, including the biblical and historic narrative of  Israel. "On the 70th anniversary of Israel, the United States is publicly recognizing something that should be obvious," he says in an interview.

"People may ask, Why is this important?" Hayes continues. "The embassy is just a physical building. They'll move a lot of office furniture, paperwork and the ambassador's office. But it is very significant to have the exceptional nation of the United States reaffirm their right to exist and recognize their capital as Jerusalem."

Appearing with Netanyahu at the White House on Monday, President Trump said he may travel to Israel for the planned May 14 ceremony. "Others promised they were going to do this and never did it," notes Hayes. "Plans are in motion and President Trump is actually doing it."



Enemy at the Gates

The planned embassy move could spark further unrest in Israel and its neighboring nations. The region is already a hotbed of violent attacks, as many speakers noted.

"Iran has been building up their military presence in Syria and in Lebanon," said Senator Klobuchar. "We’re talking right on Israel’s northern border. This is a real wake-up call for Washington."

"Too many younger Americans … do not realize that if Israel were weak, her enemies would immediately seek her destruction." -- Senator Chuck Schumer

Her Army veteran colleague echoed these concerns. "As serious a problem as North Korea is with nuclear weapons, Iran is an even graver problem for Israel and our allies in the Middle East," said Senator Cotton. "Iran is at the crossroads of civilizations. It has a very aggressive ideology that it tries to export."

Prime Minister Netanyahu made the threat of Iran central to his remarks. "If I have a message for you today, it’s a very simple one," said the Israeli leader. "We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran."

Democratic leaders spoke with particular passion, as many in the party have shifted to opposing Israel. During the conference, progressive activists hit these members with a barrage of criticism online.

"Too many younger Americans don’t know the history," said Senator Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "As a result, they tend to say, Both sides are to blame. Many younger Americans didn’t grow up knowing Israel was attacked time after time."

"They do not realize that if Israel were weak, her enemies would immediately seek her destruction."



Activists Hit the Hill

Following the final session on Tuesday, thousands of AIPAC activists organized in small groups by Congressional district. Buses transported them to Capitol Hill.

They had scheduled meetings with their House and Senate members, armed with talking points and past voting records. In many cases, local Jewish leaders and Christian pastors met side-by-side with their members of Congress to advocate for Israel.

Among their top priorities: the Taylor Force Act, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and a new Congressional bill to impose sanctions on Iran. The latter would strengthen policies already set in motion by the Trump administration.

Despite the threats facing Israel, the activists left with greater hope for the future. Vice President Pence offered a higher view of events in the region.

"The winds of change are blowing across the Middle East," said Pence. "Longstanding enemies are becoming partners [and] old foes are finding new ground for cooperation. The descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are coming together in common cause."


Military Photo of the Day: Joint Air Exercise Near Guam

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 08:00

U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy aircraft fly in formation alongside Japanese and Australian aircraft during an exercise in the vicinity of Guam on February 21, 2018.

Thanks to Senior Airman Jarrod Vickers for capturing this image!





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In Italy, Populist Left May Take Power With Aid of Traditional Left

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 02:57

ROME (AP) -- Former Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Tuesday challenged members of his defeated Democrats to publicly declare if they’ll support the populist 5-Star Movement, throwing down the gauntlet as he tries to prevent his party from fracturing and backing its political nemesis.

Analysts say he has reason to worry. Given both the numbers and ideologies, a 5-Star government supported by elements of the Democratic Party may be the most stable and logical solution to Italy’s inconclusive elections.

Renzi has said he would resign as party chair given the Democratic Party’s disastrous showing of less than 23 percent of the vote -- the worst result ever for the left.

And he pledged the Democrats wouldn’t align with either the 5-Stars, which emerged from the election as the single-biggest party with 32 percent of the vote, or the center-right coalition, led by the anti-immigrant League, with 37 percent.

In a Facebook message Tuesday that suggested defections were a real threat, Renzi reminded his supporters that both the 5-Stars and the League “represent the opposite of our values.”

“They’re anti-European, anti-political and have used a language of hatred,” Renzi wrote. “They said we were corrupt, mafiosi, and that we have blood on our hands because of immigration. I don’t think they’ve changed their mind overnight.”

“For me, the Democratic Party has to be where the people put us: in the opposition,” Renzi wrote. “If anyone from our party thinks otherwise, let him or her say so,” either in an upcoming party meeting or in Parliament.

The success of the 5-Stars, a grassroots internet-based movement that only was launched nine years ago, came in great part at the expense of the Democrats, including in their onetime stronghold of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy.

Researchers at the Bologna-based Cattaneo Institute, analyzing data from a select number of cities, concluded that of the 2.6 million voters the Democrats lost since the 2013 general election, “relevant numbers” went to the 5-Stars, as well as to a lesser degree the League and a new left-wing party.

“All this indicates that the 5-Stars are the Democrats’ competitors, offering electors a ‘truer’ left than that embodied by a leader like Renzi,” the researchers said.

As a result, analysts say, Renzi has reason to be concerned about the rank-and-file’s intentions.

“I always start from the numbers. And the numbers tell me there are not many coalitions available,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political scientist at Rome’s LUISS University. “Today it looks very strange. But after a few weeks of useless searching, I think … it won’t look so strange.”

Paolo Magri, director of the ISPI think tank in Milan, said precisely because many of the 5-Stars’ new voters hailed previously from the Democratic Party, “a tie-up with the (Democrats) is more acceptable than with the League.”

“The 5-Star program is so malleable that it allows different readings,” he told The Associated Press. “The legitimate choice of the 5-Stars was to water down themes more crucial to the program so they would be appealing to both ends of the spectrum.”

The 5-Stars call themselves a grassroots “direct democracy” movement, with members voting for candidates and platforms via its online platform. The 5-Stars defy typical left-right ideology, espousing a platform that is green and anti-bank, and for the campaign, included a proposed monthly payment to Italians just for being citizens.

The 5-Stars have evolved since the last parliamentary election when they refused to deal with any party, and want to become “the new establishment,” D’Alimonte said.

“From anti-establishment to new establishment, and they want to gain credibility,” which they can do more effectively with the Democrats than with the extremists of the League, D’Alimonte said.

Indeed, while both the League and the 5-Stars often share the euroskeptic and populist monikers, such labels paper over their differences.

“The League is ideologically euroskeptical. The 5-Stars are tactically euroskeptical,” Magri said.

Silvio Berlusconi, the three-time premier who dominated Italian politics for the past quarter century, was left in the dust of the election aftermath. In a major upset, his Forza Italia party came in second to the League within the center-right.

In his first comments since the election outcome, the 81-year-old Berlusconi said the results would have been different if he hadn’t been prevented from running as a candidate because of a tax fraud conviction. But he insisted he was still the head of Forza Italia, the “director of the center-right and the guarantor of the cohesiveness of the coalition.”

Trump Economic Aide Cohn Resigns Over President’s Tariffs

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 02:44

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top economic adviser Gary Cohn is leaving the White House after breaking with President Donald Trump on trade policy, the latest in a string of high-level departures from the West Wing.

Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, has been the leading internal opponent to Trump’s planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, working to orchestrate an eleventh-hour effort in recent days to get Trump to reverse course. But Trump resisted those efforts, and reiterated Tuesday he will be imposing tariffs in the coming days.

Cohn’s departure comes amid a period of unparalleled tumult in the Trump administration, and aides worry that more staffers may soon head for the doors.

The announcement came hours after Trump denied there was chaos in the White House. Trump maintained that his White House has “tremendous energy,” but multiple White House officials said Trump has been urging anxious aides to stay.

“Everyone wants to work in the White House,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. “They all want a piece of the Oval Office.”

In a statement, Cohn said it was his honor to serve in the administration and “enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people.”

Trump praised Cohn despite the disagreement on trade, issuing a statement saying Cohn has “served his country with great distinction.”

Cohn is a former Goldman Sachs executive who joined the White House after departing the Wall Street firm with a $285 million payout. He played a pivotal role in helping Trump enact a sweeping tax overhaul, coordinating with members of Congress.

Cohn’s departure is a blow to Capitol Hill Republicans and business groups who were hoping Trump might listen to their worries on tariffs -- and that Cohn would serve as a moderating force as the administration pushes a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan had said talks with the White House were “ongoing” and he was “encouraged” that the White House would adjust course.

“I hate to see Gary go,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Associated Press.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who is trying to persuade the administration to target the steel and aluminum tariffs as narrowly as possible, acknowledged his side of the argument was increasingly outnumbered in the administration.

“I’m sorry to see him go,” Toomey said, calling Cohn “a very important voice in encouraging free trade.”

Josh Bolten, the President and CEO of the Business Roundtable, which opposes the coming tariffs, called Cohn’s exit “a real loss for President Trump and the American people.”

Trump loved to boast about the former executive’s wealth, but Cohn’s tenure in the White House was rocky. Cohn nearly departed the administration last summer after he was upset by the president’s comments about the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va. Cohn, who is Jewish, wrote a letter of resignation but never submitted it.

“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” Cohn told The Financial Times at the time. “I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”

The comments came as Cohn was under consideration to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Earlier in the administration, Cohn found himself on the losing side of several contentious battles with Trump’s more nationalist-minded aides -- including then-chief strategist Steve Bannon -- on policies including the announcement of plans to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Cohn had also hoped to steer more than $1 trillion into infrastructure investments. But the multiple rollouts by the Trump administration failed to gain traction, often overshadowed by controversial statements made by the president himself.

Cohn often faced ridicule among some inside the White House for being a registered Democrat who last year met with former Republican officials pushing a form of a carbon tax that was designed to reduce the risks from climate change.

Yet his stock improved to the point that he was one of names Trump was floating for chief of staff last month, when it looked like John Kelly was on thin ice. He was a frequent ally of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in internal staff struggles.

Cohn told other White House aides in recent weeks that he would have little reason to stay if Trump followed through with his tariff plans, according to a White House official familiar with his views. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I mean it is no secret that he disagreed with Trump on trade and he was opposed to the policy,” said Stephen Moore, who served as an economic adviser to Trump’s campaign.

The White House did not immediately announce a replacement for Cohn, whose deputy, Jeremy Katz, departed in January. Among those who have been discussed as potential replacements are CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow and Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

“Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job – will choose wisely!” Trump tweeted late Tuesday.

In an earlier tweet, Trump sought to portray himself as the architect of the White House staff changes, writing, “I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection).”

Trump acknowledged he is a tough boss to work for, saying he enjoys watching his closest aides fight over policy. “I like conflict,” he said during the press conference.

Cohn was nowhere in sight at the press conference and a seat reserved for him in the East Room was filled by a different aide.

Dating back to the campaign, Trump has frequently and loudly complained about the quality of his staff, eager to fault his aides for any mishaps rather than acknowledge any personal responsibility. But the attacks on his own staff have sharpened in recent weeks, and he has suggested to confidants that he has few people at his side he can count on, according to two people familiar with his thinking but not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

Coinciding with the heated debate over tariffs, Trump’s communications director Hope Hicks, one of his closest and most devoted aides, announced her resignation last week, leaving a glaring vacancy in the informal cadre of Trump loyalists in the White House.

Turnover after just over a year in office is nothing new, but the Trump administration has churned through staff at a dizzying pace since taking office last January, and allies are worried the situation could descend into a free-fall.

Making matters worse, the list of prospects to replace departing aides grows shorter as the sense of turmoil increases. Vacancies abound throughout the West Wing and the administration at large, from critical roles like staff secretary to more junior positions in the press office.


Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Jill Colvin, Catherine Lucey, Lisa Mascaro, Darlene Superville and Ken Thomas contributed.


Follow Miller on Twitter at and Lemire at


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

Justice Dept. Suing California Over ‘Sanctuary’ Laws

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 02:30

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Latest on the Justice Department and “sanctuary cities” (all times PST):

6 p.m.

The Trump administration is suing to block California laws that extend protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally.

The lawsuit says three state laws intentionally undermine federal immigration law. Among other things, the legislation bars police from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities. Another law offers protection against workplace raids.

The Justice Department says those laws hinder immigration authorities and are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce the lawsuit Wednesday at an annual gathering of law enforcement organizations in Sacramento.

The move is the latest volley in an escalating feud between the Trump administration and California. The state has defiantly refused to help federal agents detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Sessions says that makes cities more dangerous.


11 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is traveling to California to make a major announcement about sanctuary policies that limit local and state cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Sessions will speak Wednesday at an annual gathering of law enforcement officials in Sacramento.

Trump administration officials have promised to crack down on policies that keep local law enforcement from advising federal agents when they release immigrants living in the country illegally.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill making California a sanctuary state last year.

Last month U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said hundreds of immigrants eluded detention because of a warning from Oakland’s mayor. Agents still arrested more than 200 residents for alleged immigration violations.

Twitter Keeps Censoring Pro-Lifers

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 23:05

Conservative writer Devin Sena tweeted a picture Saturday of a healthy unborn baby with the caption: "This is a human." He added the hashtag "TriggerALiberalIn4Words."

Twitter chose to suppress the factually accurate tweet as "sensitive material" and warned certain users before they saw it.

Before Twitter censorship

After censorship

"Upon review, we have determined that the media is potentially sensitive and have labeled it accordingly. There will now be a click-through warning message over the media for users whose accounts are set so they are informed before viewing media that may be sensitive," Twitter said in an email to Sena that was reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The email warned that all of Sena's future tweets could be permanently suppressed in a similar manner if he didn't self-censor in the future.

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Twitter has consistently censored pro-lifers who use the platform to raise awareness on behalf of unborn babies. The tech giant in February barred pro-life group Human Coalition from advertising three pro-life tweets:

Twitter is currently barring Human Coalition from advertising this tweet.

Pro-life tweet barred from advertisement on Twitter.

One massive corporation (Twitter) censoring criticism of another massive corporation (Planned Parenthood).

Twitter removed the three Human Coalition ads just three hours after they went up, the group said. Human Coalition re-submitted the three ads to Twitter on Monday. They have yet to be approved.

Other pro-life groups have battled similar suppression from Twitter, which did not return TheDCNF's request for comment.

Pro-life group Live Action cried foul in 2017 after Twitter demanded it delete pro-life images, such as fetal ultrasounds, from its Twitter feed and website before allowing the group to run advertisements. Live Action refused the request.

Another pro-life group, the Susan B. Anthony List, was barred in October from running a video advertisement, because it used the phrase "killing babies" to refer to abortion. "No advertiser is permitted to use the phrase 'killing babies,'" Twitter told the group.

That same month, Twitter blocked an advertisement by Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn's campaign for Senate in Tennessee. Twitter objected to one line Blackburn said: "I'm 100% pro-life. I fought Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts -- thank God."

The tech giant demanded that Blackburn remove the reference to Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, but she refused and went on the offensive instead, demanding Twitter apologize for censoring her. Twitter reversed course after the ensuing backlash and allowed Blackburn to run the ad.

Blackburn's experience suggests conservatives might -- with enough pressure -- be able to shame Twitter into softening its censorship of pro-life messages.


Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson.

Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Russia: The False Gods of Missiles and Nationalism

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 22:08

Vladimir Putin has announced that the Russian Federation has "invincible" nuclear weapons. Putin claimed that by the time the West has caught up with his country's "superweapons," "our guys will have devised something else."

Well, well. I'm sure this takes American defense planners, technical analysts, 17 different spy agencies, and the entire Department of Defense by utter surprise. They are, at this moment, no doubt quaking with the shock of Putin's claims.

Think again. For decades, America has pretty much known what weapons systems the Russians are developing before their first computer-aided design hits the printer. I doubt this has changed.

And a close look at the videos displayed by the Russian president is a bit surprising. They look much less realistic than my sons' video war games. That makes sense. Some of the graphics Putin showed are as much as 11 years old.

The Russian nuclear arsenal is dangerous. Its nuclear buildup should not be ignored. But Putin's thuggish boasts are inspired by something deeper in the Russian mind: The fact that they lost the Cold War.

Missing the Soviet Union

Asked following his speech last week what he would like to have changed in Russian history, Putin said, "The collapse of the Soviet Union."

He said something similar in 2005. At the time, he described the end of the Soviet empire as the 20th century's "greatest geopolitical catastrophe."

This feeling is common among Russians. In the mid-1990s, my wife and I were hosting a young Russian graduate student as part of our church's outreach ministry. One day she announced that the then-dead U.S.S.R. had easily overcome various American military technologies. She was angry about the end of the Soviet Union.

By courting the false god of nationalism, Putin has become priest of a pagan idol. Only the God of the Bible can offer the meaning and hope nationalism falsely claims.

It was hard for me not to ask why, given her claim of Communist Russia's military superiority, America had won the Cold War.

Thankfully, Christian grace and the manners training I received from my Mom and Dad won-out. But this attitude is widespread. A November 2017 poll showed that nearly three out of five Russians regret the U.S.S.R's demise. Vladimir Putin, an unrepentant KGB apparatchik, is fueling that troubling sentiment.

The Idolatry of Nationalism

Nationalism is like a religious faith for many Russians. Nationalism is distinct from patriotism. Patriotism is love for one's country. In the case of the United States, it is appreciation for our founding principles and for those who have fought to preserve and advance them, both in actual combat and public life.

It is respect for those who have gone before us. For those who have innovated and created, labored and produced, built and struggled. It is to value the beauty of our homeland. And it is to recognize that all these things, taken together, make up America’s uniqueness.

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A country where prosperity, liberty, opportunity, and human dignity are central to our national experience is truly exceptional.

Nationalism takes this a far step further. It personalizes the nation, transforming it from a political entity made up of those who have formed and preserved it into a spiritual being. It imbues "the nation" with the attributes of God. It extends to the state an allegiance that amounts to idolatry.

It is this devotion to "Mother Russia" that deepens the enduring wound of America's Cold War victory, international cultural dominance, and continuing military presence in Europe.

Pursuit of Power

Former CIA operative John Sipher sees Putin in a long line of "Russian tyrants (who) have sought unchallenged power stemming from an inferiority complex and messianic vision of Russia as a nation unlike others." But Sipher believes Putin is concerned most fundamentally with maintaining his own power. He argues that "false paranoia about U.S. actions and intentions is actually about (Putin) creating an enemy to blame for the failure to improve people's lives."

One thing is clear: Vladimir Putin is no friend of the United States. But equally clear is that by courting the false god of nationalism, he has become a priest of a pagan idol. Only the God of the Bible can offer the meaning and hope nationalism falsely claims.

As to the specifics of Putin's military buildup, we can hope he would realize that no invention of man is invincible. And nursing a sense of humiliation while offering the pagan god of nationalism will only prolong Russia's delusions of majesty and power.


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