You are here

Feed aggregator

Selective Memory: CNN's Cuomo Denies Own Show Accused GOP of Sexism Against Warren

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:51
<p>CNN’s Chris Cuomo certainly seems to have a selective memory when it comes to recalling how his own show has responded to Democrat and Republican “scandals.” After Senator Cory Booker launched an angry lecture against Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for not remembering whether or not President Trump said “sh**hole” during a private White House meeting last week, the RNC took a note from the left, accusing Booker of “mansplaining” to Nielsen.</p>

Trump Will Address March For Life Via Satellite

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:32

President Donald Trump will address Friday's March For Life in D.C. live from the White House Rose Garden via satellite, making him the first sitting U.S. president to address the event live via video from the White House.

"We're excited to announce that  will be the first sitting President to address the  from the  ... The President is committed to protecting the life of the unborn," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday.

.@PressSec: "We're excited to announce that @POTUS will be the first sitting President to address the #MarchforLife from the @WhiteHouse… The President is committed to protecting the life of the unborn." pic.twitter.com/p2nG1nlJo5

— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 17, 2018

"Since his first day in office, President Trump has remained steadfast on his campaign promises to the pro-life cause and has actively worked to protect the unborn," March for Life president Jeanne Mancini said in a press release sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

"Over the past year, the Trump administration has significantly advanced pro-life policy, and it is with great confidence that, under his leadership, we expect to see other pro-life achievements in the years to come," Mancini said.

Trump will headline the 2018 March For Life lineup of speakers, which includes House Speaker Paul Ryan, Pam Tebow, Matt and Adrianna Birk, Rep. Dan Lipinski and others. The march, themed "Love Saves Lives," is expected to draw more than 100,000 people.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

"In his first year in office, he and his administration have already gone farther than any administration in history to demonstrate his commitment to unborn children and their mothers. President Trump stands united with us and is leading the pro-life movement on to victory," Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said, according to a press release.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the 2017 March for Life, marking an historic first, as no president or vice president had addressed March for Life attendees in person since its inception in 1974, according to Fortune. Former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both addressed pro-lifers at the rally via phone or loudspeaker during their terms.

  Follow Grace on Twitter.

Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Will News Media Recall Schumer's 2013 Vow to Not Shutdown Over Immigration?

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:23
<p>Back in 2013, with Democrats controlling the Senate and White House, a study by the Media Research Center determined that the<strong> </strong>broadcast networks mostly blamed Republicans for that year's government shutdown. In the midst of the shutdown, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (now the Democratic Senate leader) actually went on ABC's <em>This Week</em> on October 6, 2013 to assure host George Stephanopoulos that Democrats would never shut the government down over an issue such as immigration.</p>

Boys will be boys - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 16:00

Of all the details in the story of the death of Tim Piazza—a Penn State sophomore who fell down a flight of stairs during a 2017 hazing incident at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house and whose “brothers” waited 12 hours and then called 911 only when they determined he “looked f—ing dead”—none is more telling than the fact that the whole episode was caught on video. As Caitlin Flanagan documented in her article on the incident in the Atlantic, there were surveillance cameras in the house to protect the property from damage. The brothers knew about them. So up until the point when they realized Piazza was dead, they were perfectly happy to have a video recording of their actions that night. From this, one might reasonably conclude that their actions that night were not particularly out of the ordinary.

According to text messages entered into evidence during the trial of 16 of the fraternity members, they were administering something called the “Shep Test” that night. Flanagan writes:

The Shep Test itself is little more than a quiz about Beta Theta Pi history, but it’s one part of a night of mind games and physical punishments. A former Beta told me that pledges were held down on a table as a red-hot poker was brought close to their bare feet and they were told they were going to be branded. With pillowcases over their heads, they were paddled, leaving bruises and, on at least one occasion, breaking the skin. They were forced to eat and drink disgusting things, denied sleep, and terrorized in a variety of other ways.

Like so many fraternity rituals these days, the “Shep Test” doesn’t officially exist. But it doesn’t take a lot of digging to realize how widespread, revolting, and dangerous these rituals are. John Hechinger’s new book, True Gentlemen: The Broken Promise of America’s Fraternities, offers as good an introduction as any to the history of these institutions and how our campuses continue to be burdened with such powerful and abusive clubs.

Click here to access the full piece at CommentaryMagazine.com 

CNN on Top in Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:13

CNN won four out of 11 "Fake News Awards" on Wednesday night, while The New York Times captured two of the dishonors hyped for weeks by President Donald Trump, but actually given in the end by the Republican National Committee.

The "awards" to the cable network and other media organizations cited reports darkly predicting an economic collapse under Trump, detailing the Russia investigation, and mistakenly asserting that the new president had removed a bust of civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office.

The White House had kept details close, but at 8 p.m. Trump tweeted a link to a Republican National Committee webpage showcasing "The Highly Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards."

And the FAKE NEWS winners are…https://t.co/59G6x2f7fD

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018

Trump also conceded the existence of "many great reporters" while noting his administration's accomplishments after one year:

Despite some very corrupt and dishonest media coverage, there are many great reporters I respect and lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018

ISIS is in retreat, our economy is booming, investments and jobs are pouring back into the country, and so much more! Together there is nothing we can't overcome–even a very biased media. We ARE Making America Great Again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018

However, traffic was so heavy that the page crashed. It later was restored.

Tonight, https://t.co/YTZAIJpNhb saw more traffic than ever before. Even though the servers were scaled up, the interest was even greater than anticipated. Traffic is off the charts. Come back soon.

— GOP (@GOP) January 18, 2018

The Republican National Committee announced the prizes for questionable journalism shortly after two former Obama administration lawyers warned against the involvement of White House staff in deciding the "winners."

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

Such activity would constitute an ethics violation because it would involve government time and money devoted to helping or hurting a private corporation, they said.

The "winners" are:

--The long-running "Russia collusion" story, of which the RNC asserted, echoing Trump: "There is no collusion."

--CNN's report that the Trump campaign and Donald Trump Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.

--A CNN report suggesting Trump overfed fish during a visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

--CNN's report, later retracted, claiming short-term White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci had ties to Russia.

--A CNN report that fired FBI Director James Comey would dispute Trump's claim that Comey told the president he was not under investigation. (Comey actually confirmed this point.)

--The New York Times' report that the Trump administration concealed a climate change study.

--An assertion by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, an economist, that financial markets "never" would recover from Trump's 2016 election victory.

--Washington Post columnist Dave Weigel's tweet saying a Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida, was sparsely attended before many in the crowd had shown up. 

.@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo! pic.twitter.com/XAblFGh1ob

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017

The Republican National Committee also noted:

--An incident in which "ABC News' Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with a false report," referring to Ross' later retracted story about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

ABC News suspended Ross for reporting that Flynn would tell prosecutors that Trump directed him to contact the Russian government.

--A reporter for Time mistakenly asserted in a pool report that Trump had removed a bust of King from the Oval Office.

--Newsweek incorrectly reported that Polish first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda didn't shake Trump's hand during his visit to Poland.

 

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Fred@FredLucasWH

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

PRESS RELEASE: This Way Up: New Thinking About Poverty and Economic Mobility - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:02

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Washington, DC (January 18, 2018) — In “This Way Up” — a new booklet of 16 short essays commissioned by Opportunity America in conjunction with AEI — policy experts and conservative thinkers explore how to ensure economic mobility for all Americans. This affects in particular the very poor, both urban and rural, and a neglected working class struggling to keep up with globalization. More than 50 years after the War on Poverty, fresh ideas about economic mobility are again percolating, including policies and proposals to show those involved how to go beyond government to harness the power of communities.

This Way Up” represents a vibrant new movement focused on addressing poverty and finding solutions to help more Americans move up the economic ladder. The essays fall into three broad categories: some contemplate the values and tenets underlying this new approach to poverty and opportunity, some outline specific policy proposals that promote choice and competition while reducing dependence, and others examine the challenges and opportunities facing policies and practices already being implemented on the ground.

Chapters as they appear in the booklet:

The Dignity Deficit: Arthur C. Brooks (AEI) on What the Poor Need Most

Conservative Economic Stewardship Will Help Janesville: Paul Ryan (Speaker, US House of Representatives) on What Ails the Working Class

The New Normal: Michael R. Strain (AEI) on Personal Responsibility

Minimum Income Is Not a Right: Robert Doar (AEI) on Federalism and Social Services

What Causes Poverty: Charles Murray (AEI) on Culture vs. Economics

Conservative Principles: Values to Guide a New Approach to Poverty and Mobility

Paycheck by Paycheck: Oren Cass (Manhattan Institute) on Wage Subsidies

Help and Hassle: Lawrence M. Mead (New York University) on Welfare Reform for Men

Leveling the Playing Field: Tamar Jacoby (Opportunity America) on Pell Grants for Workforce Training

Resisting the Federal Temptation: Andy Smarick (AEI) on Localism and School Choice

A Better Way to Repay:
Kevin James (Better Future Forward) on Income-Driven College Financing

Can We Put Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again? Kay S. Hymowitz (Manhattan Institute) on Marriage and Responsible Parenting

Better Than Government Work: Howard Husock (Manhattan Institute) on Civil Society

Our Best Tool? What’s Next for the Earned Income Tax Credit

Business Steps Up:
The Apprentice School

“I Want to Solve Poverty”:
Catholic Charities of Fort Worth

For interview requests, or for a copy of the book, please contact Madeline James at madeline.james@aei.org or 202.862.4870.

###

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world.

Alt-Left Insanity: U.S. Soldiers Are ‘Storm-Troopers Of An Evil Empire’

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:00
<div>America is an evil empire. It’s troops are “fascists in uniform,” with every one of them a “war criminal.” That bit of anti-American propaganda comes via the Antifa site ItsGoingDown -- the alt-left folks who can’t afford an apostrophe.</div> <p>I had thought the Antifa scum had calmed down after news reports that government was treating them like domestic terrorists. Or, if nothing else, I figured they had gone to ground or under it. This is the first truly demented piece I’ve seen on IGD in some time.</p> <p>Headlined: “On Yellow Ribbons and Counter-Insurgency: From a Veteran,” it purports to tell a veteran’s view of why America is evil. Certainly, we’ve seen anti-American veterans before. Remember when John Kerry claimed to have tossed his medals?</p>

POTUS Preoccupation: At Least 36 Fall TV Shows Targeted Trump

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:42
<p>The entertainment world has readied the battlefield for the resistance with scripted and unscripted shows.</p>

Shockingly, China’s economy was stable in 2017 - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:30

The Chinese Communist Party very much loves stability. For 2016, China’s year-on-year quarterly GDP growth was (percent): 6.7, 6.7, 6.7, 6.8. For last year, it was wildly different: 6.9, 6.9, 6.8, 6.8. General Secretary Xi Jinping engineered exactly what he wanted as the Party held its once-in-five-years Congress. He’s a stability genius.

Chinese President and stability genius Xi Jinping pictured at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbei

But should the world believe it? The numbers are published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Certain irresponsible people consider the NBS to be first and foremost a propaganda tool. As PRC spokesmen say, over and over, such accusations are plainly groundless. I mean, does this read like propaganda to you?

In 2017, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, all regions and departments implemented the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, adhered to the general working guideline of making progress while maintaining STABILITY, adopted the new development philosophy, focused on the supply-side structural reform and pushed forward structural optimization, shifting of driving forces and quality improvement. As a result, the national economy has maintained the momentum of STABLE and sound development and exceeded the expectation with the economic vitality, impetus and potential released and the STABILITY, coordination and sustainability strengthened. The economy has achieved STABLE and healthy development.

(Emphasis possibly added.)

GDP can be broken into investment, consumption, government purchases, and net exports. In 2015, fixed investment was said to grow about 10%, retail sales 11%, the fiscal deficit doubled (a positive in GDP), and the goods and services trade surplus rose 60%. In 2017, fixed investment grew about 7%, retail sales 10%, the fiscal deficit rose less than 10% through November, and the trade surplus fell 15%. In both years, GDP grew 6.9%.

In another country, this might seem a bit odd. But the explanation is simple: What Beijing publishes for fixed investment and so on aren’t the correct numbers for calculating GDP. They just happen to be published together. No reason.

See also:

Better numbers for calculating GDP appear later because they are hard to measure for such a huge population in less than three weeks after a quarter ends. GDP is easy because growth is so smooth that one almost knows the result in advance. Crazy as that sounds. And China can later revise GDP using the better numbers (China has never revised growth down more than one-tenth of a point).

A fair-minded person would therefore drop the subject, if they know what’s good for them. But irrational trouble-makers recall that, in 2015, electricity consumption rose 1% while rail freight fell 14%. This indicated a move from heavy industry to services, definitely not economic contraction. Last year, electricity consumption grew almost 6% and rail freight expanded almost 15%. This of course indicates fast economic expansion.

Humor aside, the situation is much less disturbing than two years ago. At the end of 2015, the NBS naturally said all is well, then money poured out of the country. There is no such panic now. Nominal GDP was clearly and credibly faster in 2017 than 2015.

Sign up for The Ledger newsletter Expert analysis from AEI's Economic Policy scholars Also sign me up for AEI This Week, delivered every Saturday morning. Subscribe

But all is still not well. Borrowing from banks again far outstripped nominal GDP, with loans adding 13.5 trillion yuan in 2017 while GDP added 8.4 trillion. The much-discussed deleveraging has arguably yet to begin.

The path is arduous. According to the Bank of International Settlements, from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2017, China’s total credit to the non-financial sector rose more than twice as fast as GDP. In 2008, the US was far more heavily leveraged, but China has now edged “ahead.”

While some foreign observers paint China as the world’s top economy, the government reports per capita disposable income of 26,000 yuan, or $4,000. For 2008, this figure was approximately 10,000 yuan, an impressive 160% increase since. But it’s only an additional $2,500. The closest US personal income equivalent is $44,600 for 2017. It has risen 25% since 2008, an additional $9,000. China is much too poor to already be so indebted.

A final caution to those promoting both Chinese data and the importance of GDP (looking at you, Wall Street): Official Chinese GDP was boosted by $276 billion taken from the US through the trade imbalance. It’s hard to claim GDP is a sound measure and the US gains from economic relations with China. It’s easier to argue against both.

In particular, whether Chinese GDP is believable is a question many ask. Given what lies underneath all the stability, how much Chinese GDP matters should be questioned more.

Learn more:

CNN's Cuomo Claims Trump Admin Painting Illegals As 'Monsters'

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:26
<p>On Wednesday's <em>Cuomo Pime Time</em>, as White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah appeared as guest to debate immigration reform, CNN host Chris Cuomo accused the Trump administration of portraying illegal immigrants as "monsters" and "villains," and claimed that "white supremacists" are a bigger threat to the country that the White House will not take seriously enough.</p>

10-Year-Old Hostage Used as a Human Shield: ‘I Just Knew God Had Me’

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:22

A 10-year-old little boy was held hostage in Liberty Township, Ohio for 30 hours but only got a "little bit scared,” and said, “I just knew that God had me.”

The Argument

Sincere Trammell's ordeal began on Friday when his captor, long-time family friend 31-year-old Donald Gazaway, Jr., demanded money from Sincere's mother. When his mom refused, Gazaway put a gun to her head.

"When I walked in there, I saw him having a gun to my mom's head and kept saying give me $10,000 now," said Sincere. When Sincere tried to leave the room, Gazaway ran after him. According to Sincere, it was "because he thought I had a phone, and then she (mom) ran out the door."

Moments later, police arrived.

The Standoff

During the ordeal, Gazaway used Sincere as a "human shield" as Gazaway fired 20 to 30 bullets at police and SWAT members, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

Over the 30-hour standoff, Gazaway and Sincere spent much of their time hiding in closets and in the back seat of a car in the garage.

"He kept saying in the car that he was going to let me go, regardless,” said Sincere.”I convinced him to turn himself in because he was going to kill himself and he kept crying. He was saying that he had two options, and then he said he was going to kill himself or turn himself in, and he kept saying he might kill himself, so I told him how I was feeling. I wouldn’t like that, and he has two daughters who would feel bad.”

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

Sincere tried to talk Gazaway into turning himself in, as jail would be a better choice.

“I said that jail would probably help you get better at life, and that would be a better option to do. So I said it’s better to have a punishment than kill yourself, and I’m saying that God basically will give you another chance to become a better person in life,” Sincere said.

Shortly afterward, when Gazaway finally surrendered to police, he again used Sincere as a human shield.

‘I Just Knew That God Had Me’

SWAT team members quickly took Sincere out of harm's way. A picture of Sincere right after the ordeal showed him sitting with SWAT team members and eating a doughnut.

On Tuesday, Sincere spoke about the event to a reporter. When asked what kept him calm, Sincere replied, "I just knew that God had me."

Gazaway is now being held in the Butler County Jail. He was charged with kidnapping, felonious assault and inducing panic. His bond was set at $1 million.

Populism is a package deal - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:20

In a recent column for Project Syndicate, Dani Rodrik decries authoritarian populism – which “stifles political pluralism and undermines liberal democratic norms” – as a menace to be avoided at all costs. But he goes on to argue that economic populism is “occasionally necessary.” He is right about the first point, but badly mistaken on the second.

Rodrik, one of the most original and perceptive economists of our time, claims that while restraints on the power of the executive, abhorred by authoritarian populists, need to be defended, similar obstacles in the area of economic policy – in the form of “autonomous regulatory agencies, independent central banks, or global trade rules” – have gone too far and become hijacked by special interests, fostering an anti-establishment, populist backlash. It follows that a dose of economic populism might be exactly what Western societies need to get out of their current political crisis.

What this argument misses is that the separation between the two varieties of populists is rarely neat. One does not need to fully subscribe to the views expressed by the economist Friedrich von Hayek in his 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, who argued that economic interventionism leads to tyranny, to recognize that the dismantling of constraints on economic policy-making and the weakening of independent judiciary, free media, and political competition are mutually reinforcing. Populism, in other words, is a package deal.

After all, Viktor Orbán’s rise to power in Hungary was facilitated by his populist moves catering to domestic economic interests. These include the retroactive retail surtax introduced in December 2010, based on turnover and disproportionately hitting foreign-owned businesses; the creation of a state tobacco monopoly with the purpose of distributing retail licenses to party supporters, and the nationalization of private pension fund assets to plug a hole in the country’s public finances.

A woman holds Poland’s Constitution during a protest next to the Law and Justice party headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

The Polish experience has been similar. There, the seizure of pension fund assets in 2014 predates the arrival of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) in power, yet helped to push the Overton window in a populist direction. By now, the PiS government has renationalised large portions of the banking industry, introduced a new entitlement scheme, Family 500+, adding to the country’s structural deficit, and lowered the retirement age.

Given Poland’s economic challenges – a declining population, sluggish productivity growth, and low savings and investment rates – such measures are going to be costly in the long term. Meanwhile, the state-led consumption boost has helped to coalesce support for the PiS government as it tightens its grip over the country’s judiciary, weakens the oversight of elections, and purges public broadcasting of any dissenting voices.

And it isn’t just the Right: Syriza’s left-wing economic populism in Greece has gone hand in hand with attempts to shut down opposition TV channels and weaken judicial review. A similar pattern has been observed in countries of Latin America, a continent that has more experience than any other with economic populism. There, populist governments are associated with declines in performance on various metrics of institutional quality, government accountability, and the rule of law, such as the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators. Venezuela is the most extreme example.

If you were looking for evidence to the contrary, you could point to Brazil and Ecuador, where periods of populist economic governance did not lead to a distinct drift towards authoritarianism. However, policies cannot be judged solely by their performance when countries get lucky, but also by the outcomes they generate under less-than-ideal scenarios. More often than not, the lack of restraint in economic policy-making has been entangled with an overall authoritarian penchant of populists.

There is another problem with Rodrik’s defense of economic populism: it is a solution in search of a problem. To be sure, that is not to say that the constraints imposed on economic policy-making through delegation, trade treaties, and formulation of explicit rules to bound political discretion are beyond reproach, especially in areas where we have seen regulatory capture, such as intellectual property and financial regulation.

However, a significant part of the Eurosceptic backlash seen in the eurozone was fueled by the perceptions that existing rules – particularly the no-bailout policy embedded in European treaties – were being openly violated. The founding of Alternative for Germany and its initial surge in the polls were a direct response to emergency measures that were seen letting profligate governments on the Eurozone’s periphery and their lenders off the hook. The initial momentum for the Tea Party movement in the United States too came from the perception that bailouts to the financial industry were violating the legal and constitutional constraints on what the federal government is allowed to do.

To be sure, the EU’s democratic deficit, namely the fact that the bloc lacks transparent, accountable mechanisms to make consequential, politically charged decisions is itself an important part of the problem. But that problem is not going to be remedied by cheering on politicians to do whatever seems popular at the moment, regardless of long-term consequences. Instead, it will require institutional reform – devolution of some of the EU’s powers, a strengthening of its political accountability, as well as more credible rules guiding the EU’s single market, public deficits and management of financial risk.

Just as in the 1930s the political fallout from the Great Depression was not neutralized by the reversal to protectionism and economic short-termism, the flaws plaguing the EU and the global economy are not going to be fixed by encouraging politicians to pursue harmful economic policies. It is singularly irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

Tax Bill Windfall: As 65 Companies Award Bonuses Networks Air Just Two Stories

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 13:22
<p>Thousands of workers across the U.S. were awarded bonuses, wages hikes or higher retirement account matches this year thanks to the tax reform bill recently passed by the GOP and signed into law by President Donald Trump. But this huge economic story affecting so many was practically ignored by the network evening news shows in 2018.</p>

Nikki Haley: Talks Between North and South Korea a ‘Distraction’

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 13:13

The U.S. is wise to North Korea's game and is not going to play, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said Wednesday.

North and South Korea are talking again after two years of silence, but these exchanges are little more than a "distraction," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley argued in an exclusive interview with Voice of America's Greta Van Susteren.

"I think this is a distraction. I think this is doing what North Korea has always done," Haley explained. "We're not going to play the same game we've always played." The State Department asserted Wednesday that the U.S. does not believe now is the right time for talks.

"Just because North and South Korea are holding hands today doesn't mean that threat hasn't gone away," she said, adding: "The United States and the international community is going to keep up the pressure on North Korea" until it abandons its pursuit of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Haley stressed the U.S. is "fine" with the bilateral exchanges between the two Koreas, but while the South plans its "peace Olympics," the U.S. will focus on the nuclear threat which persists.

The North and South "can go and have those regional cooperation on that level, but at the end of the day, we still have nuclear missiles in North Korea that they continue to test, and they continue to threaten the United States and the world with. So, we're going to keep that at the forefront," she further commented.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

In an exclusive interview with Reuters Wednesday, President Donald Trump, as he has done in the past, offered support to the talks going on in Korea, but he questioned the effectiveness of dialogue. "I’m not sure that talks will lead to anything meaningful. They've talked for 25 years and they've taken advantage of our presidents, of our previous presidents," he explained.

"They get closer every day," the president said of North Korea's ability to reliably strike the continental U.S. with a nuclear-armed ballistic missile. Trump is willing to sit down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, but said he is "not sure that sitting down will solve the problem."

U.S. leaders have been kicking the can that is North Korea down the road for decades, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Fox News Wednesday. "There's no road left," he said, explaining that North Korea cannot be allowed to possess a nuclear arsenal.

Asked if war is on the horizon, Kelly answered: "I hope not."

"We're playing a very, very hard game of poker, and you do not want to reveal your hand," the president replied when asked if he was considering a pre-emptive strike on the North.

 

Follow Ryan on Twitter

Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

More Than 3 in 4 Americans Support Limits on Abortion, Poll Finds

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:57

About 76 percent of Americans support stricter laws on abortion, according to a new Marist Poll, a finding that is part of a consistent trend in data the company has collected in the past decade.

While 51 percent of respondents identified as pro-choice, 60 percent of them said they support limitations on abortions, such as backing a ban on the procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy and opposing the use of tax dollars to pay for them.

"There is a slight majority in favor of pro-choice," said Andrew Walther, vice president of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic service organization that commissioned the annual poll.

But labels of pro-life or pro-choice "don't quite tell the whole story," Walther said Wednesday in discussing the results at the National Press Club.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

"Interestingly, this also cuts across political lines in ways that might be a little bit surprising," he said.

About 61 percent of Democrats, 92 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of independents said they want significant restrictions on abortion, according to the poll.

Marist Poll and the Knights of Columbus released the results two days before the annual March for Life in Washington.

In conducting the survey, the pollster first asked a binary question, such as whether or not the respondent was pro-life or pro-choice, and then a more detailed and nuanced followup, Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, told reporters and others in attendance.

Marist Poll added a new question in this year's survey asking, "When does life begin?" Answers ranged from "at conception" to "when a baby is born."

Walther said there is a "fairly interesting divide" between pro-lifers' and pro-choicers' views on why people believe life begins at conception.

For those who identify as pro-life, 16 percent said it is "a biological and scientific fact" that life begins at conception, while 45 percent of pro-choice respondents said  "a philosophical or religious belief" drives pro-lifers to believe life begins at conception.

About 42 percent said abortion is a "major factor" in how they vote in elections, and at least 70 percent said it is either a major or minor factor.

The poll found 56 percent see abortion as morally wrong, down from 63 percent in 2008 when Marist Poll first took its annual abortion survey, and 41 percent see abortion as morally acceptable. About 64 percent see abortion as morally wrong when the child has a genetic disorder, and 26 percent see it as morally acceptable.

Asked how President Donald Trump has done with the pro-life movement, Walther answered, "When you look at the polling ... some of the actions he's taken track very very well with where Americans are."

The Knights of Columbus official cited the so-called Mexico City policy that Trump reinstated last year to ban U.S. aid to overseas abortion providers.

The poll surveyed 2,617 adults 18 and older who live in the continental U.S. during December and January, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

 

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

7 Pro-Life Policies Touted by the Trump Administration — and Their Current Status

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:00

On Friday, the March for Life will be held one day before President Donald Trump marks his first year in office. Last year, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the tens of thousands gathered. The White House announced Wednesday morning that President Trump will deliver brief remarks at this year’s March for Life. His speech will be simulcast live from the Rose Garden.

Pro-life leaders have offered both glowing and disappointed reviews of the president's record thus far. A policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, Melanie Israel emphasizes why these policies matter in the first place. "The right to life is the most fundamental right of all," she says. "Without that right, all of our other freedoms are not quite as important."

As to the White House pro-life agenda, it started with a 2016 letter from then-candidate Trump. "President Trump went on the record before the election saying he was committed to policies like Pain Capable, the Conscience Protection Act and defunding Planned Parenthood," she says. "Those are all key policies Congress has been pursuing."

Status Report on 7 Key Pro-Life Policies

Looking at specifics can help clarify the issues. Aside from item one, this list examines the status of proposed laws related to abortion policies. Further insight into potential administrative action is noted at the end.

1. Stop the U.S. From Exporting Abortion Overseas

Mexico City Policy (Reinstated)

Status: Executive Order signed Jan. 23, 2017

President Trump issued a pro-life decision on his first Monday in office. He blocked the U.S. from funding health providers who perform or promote abortion services overseas. This order aligned with previous ones by Presidents Reagan and Bush.

The policy has been interpreted more broadly than in previous years. Initially, it was estimated to affect $600 million in aid funding. “This policy does not cut global health assistance funding,” says Israel. “It’s saying that more than $8 billion in taxpayer funds will no longer be entangled with the abortion industry.”

2. Reverse Last-Minute Obama Administration Pro-Choice Policy

Title X Congressional Review Act

Status: Signed into law by President Trump on Apr. 13, 2017

Another pro-life win came early in his presidency. Congressional leaders were dismayed by a last-minute decision by the Obama Administration. It would have kept public funds flowing to Planned Parenthood despite state-level efforts to exclude the abortion provider. Planned Parenthood has recently been under investigation on several fronts, from Medicaid fraud to unethical practices.

Both the House and Senate passed a bill allowing states to make their own decisions regarding Title X federal funding. Because of a 50-50 tie in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote.

3. Prohibit Most Abortions at 20 Weeks Fetal Development

Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Status: Passed House on Oct. 3, 2017 by 237-189, no Senate vote scheduled

This bill has been the most discussed priority among pro-life leaders. It was central in the 2016 letter sent to pro-life leaders. Pro-life advocates estimate the policy "would save over 15,000 preborn lives annually."

On October 3, House debate on both sides was impassioned. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., had the final word. "This is a good bill, it is a just bill," she said. "[We are] called as human beings to protect the lives of the most innocent." In a special election, Planned Parenthood's political arm spent $735,000 on behalf of her opponent. On the Senate side, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has introduced the bill.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

4. Ensure Lives Born After Attempted Abortions Have a Chance

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Status: House vote scheduled for Jan. 19, 2018

This bill may sound familiar to many. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act passed with strong support in 2002. It even received unanimous consent in the Senate. The policy mandates clinics provide medical care to infants who survive abortion.

However, abortion providers have not been held accountable. In recent years, Pennsylvania investigators found horrific conditions at an abortion clinic run by Kermit Gosnell. "This new bill is about adding enforcement," says Melanie Israel. "It provides consequences for health care providers who violate that 2002 law."

She provides further insight. "It's pretty amazing how things have changed in the time span of 15 years," notes Israel. "Back then, both parties protected born-alive infants. This week, I'm sure some people on Capitol Hill will vote against this bill."

5. Make the Hyde Amendment Permanent

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Status: Passed House on Jan. 24, 2017 by 238-183, no Senate vote scheduled

Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has ensured that U.S. taxpayers do not directly fund abortion services. Making that policy permanent is the goal of this bill, authored by Rep. Chris Smith. He has long served as chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus.

The Hyde policy has to be added annually to appropriations bills. This law would make it a blanket federal policy rather than subject to the politics of committees.

6. Protect the Ethical Decisions of Health Providers

Conscience Protection Act

Status: No vote scheduled in House or Senate

Many health providers have ethical reasons for not participating in abortions or sterilization. In the wake of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, several conscience protection policies were passed. Yet HHS has failed to enforce these policies in recent years.

Medical professionals and non-profit groups have been penalized for standing on their convictions. In 2009, a nurse in New York was told she'd be fired if she didn't assist with an abortion. Others point to more recent incidents.

"A couple years ago, California mandated that almost all health plans have to cover elective abortions," says Israel. "Now that clearly flies in the face of existing conscience protections. But under the Obama Administration, surprise! They found that wasn't a violation." The Conscience Protection Act would strengthen enforcement of existing policies.

7. End All Federal Funding of Abortion Providers

Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act

Status: No vote scheduled in House or Senate

Planned Parenthood International lost funding due to the Mexico City Policy (see above). Yet the largest abortion provider has fared better stateside. Planned Parenthood received $543 million in taxpayer funds last year.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., has proposed halting federal funding of any abortion provider. She notes Title X exists for critical women's health services, not other purposes. A recent analysis found there are 13 times more federally qualified health centers than Planned Parenthood locations. These centers provide women's health services but do not perform abortions.

"I will not rest until we put a stop to the blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars to subsidize this big abortion business," states Black. "Abortion is not healthcare. It destroys one life and damages another." She recently announced plans to run for Governor of Tennessee on a pro-life platform.

"There have been more than 350 pro-life laws passed in the states since 2010. That's not happening by accident." -- Melanie Israel

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Pro-life advocates may be discouraged by the lack of movement on some issues. Yet the Heritage policy analyst has a broader view.

"It's important to remember the many pro-life victories at the state level," she begins. "There have been more than 350 pro-life laws passed in the states since 2010. That's not happening by accident. It's happening because people are putting pro-life legislators in office who are passing pro-life laws."

Federal policymakers can learn something from these victories, according to Israel. "They can feel emboldened to know, This truly is the will of the people," she says. "This is an agenda they should be pursuing."

As to the Trump Administration, pro-life leaders plan to outline specific steps that could be taken at an event next week. Leaders from Americans United for Life and Susan B. Anthony List will present alongside Israel. "We all know that administrative action is not permanent, but it's still very important," she states.

‘Woke’ is the New ‘Saved’

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:13

Alan Jacobs has written a really important essay for anyone who cares about free speech or higher education. It's in highly academic prose. I earned a Ph.D. in English, which entailed studying abstruse "critical theory." But I found Jacobs' essay slow going. That's fine. He was speaking to his fellow professors. Because his message is so crucial, let me translate it. If you have college-age kids, you need to know what they’re in for. (I edited a book-shaped vaccine against college-based insanity, Disorientation, which many have told me proved useful to their students.)

There's a reason why so many college students don't care about "free expression," "open debate," and rational discussion. Not when the views presented offend them. For centuries, we thought of most colleges -- apart maybe from seminaries -- as places where students would have to encounter such views. The liberal arts, which depend on open debate and dispute, were born in medieval universities. They carried on in deeply Christian colleges after the Reformation on both sides of the Tiber.

A New Gospel

Nationwide, with some exceptions, students, professors, and administrators have turned their backs on this tradition. The reason? As Jacobs shows, it is religious. Before him, Andrew Sullivan proposed the provocative thesis that the movement uniting radical students and teachers today, "Intersectionality," is really a whole new creed. And an intolerant one. As Sullivan wrote:

"Intersectionality" is the latest academic craze sweeping the American academy. On the surface, it's a recent neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity -- such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. -- but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power. …

It is operating, in Orwell's words, as a "smelly little orthodoxy," and it manifests itself, it seems to me, almost as a religion. It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained -- and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others. To overcome this sin, you need first to confess, i.e., "check your privilege," and subsequently live your life and order your thoughts in a way that keeps this sin at bay. The sin goes so deep into your psyche, especially if you are white or male or straight, that a profound conversion is required.

Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse. It enforces manners. It has an idea of virtue -- and is obsessed with upholding it. The saints are the most oppressed who nonetheless resist. The sinners are categorized in various ascending categories of demographic damnation, like something out of Dante. The only thing this religion lacks, of course, is salvation. Life is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It's Marx without the final total liberation.

The New Road to Faith

Jacobs builds on Sullivan's insight and goes into much further depth. He shows how the social justice movement on campus does much of the work that a real religion would do. It offers some of the same psychic rewards.

Here's how it works: By listening to professors, or following peer pressure, a student discovers that the world is deeply wrong. Permeated by evil. Its evil is inequality. And that evil has an author: straight white males.

Realizing the depth and extent of this all-pervading evil comes as a kind of conversion. One wakes up. Then one is "woke." That’s SJW-speak for “saved.” Hence the first moment of faith. "I once was lost but now am found./ Was blind but now I see."

Joining the Righteous

If a student belongs to any other group but straight white males, then she is in luck: She's certified as a victim. She deserves special treatment from everyone from college deans to government bureaucrats. Even better, she should feel virtuous for wallowing in anger and resentment. No matter if she's Malia Obama. She can righteously seethe with rage at jobless white coal miners, or homeless white veterans. Her sense of victimhood gives her the "blessed assurance" that she is part of the Elect.

By listening to professors, or following peer pressure, a student discovers that the world is deeply wrong. Permeated by evil. Its evil is inequality. And that evil has an author: straight white males. Realizing the depth and extent of this all-pervading evil comes as a kind of conversion.

This creed offers salvation even to the worst of sinners, straight white males. The price is steep: a life of self-denial and penance. But for those who walk this path, rewards await. You can attain justification. Not by your own efforts -- but by the righteousness that suffering, innocent victims (non-straights, non-whites, non-males) can impute to you. As an "ally" of the less privileged, you earn the same right to despise the mass of oppressors. And feminists will date you, for whatever that’s worth.

Growing in Wokiness

Go deeper into the cult, and the disciplines get more rigorous. Now white women must admit their role in oppressing women of color. This requires some of the groveling that white males must endure. But it offers the same benefit: a sense of forgiveness, and spiritual progress. Likewise black males must atone to women of color. All straights must bow down to gays. Even gays must make amends for their insensitivity to "trans" people. I am not sure to whom "trans" people of color must apologize. But give intellectuals time, and they’ll find someone. Or invent them.

This new religious movement apes the structure of a Christian conversion, and of subsequent life in the Spirit. It does so, of course, at a much shallower level. It replaces worship with protest. Spirituality with unhinged histrionics. Examination of conscience with the scapegoating of others conveniently dead or out of power.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

The Fall and Redemption

This creed also mimics Christian salvation history. The straight white male is the phallic serpent in the Garden. In one place after another, these aggressive oppressors found a pre-lapsarian paradise. And in each case, we paved it and made it a parking lot.

To keep up this myth of the Fall, and its tempter, progressives have to ignore a lot of facts. They have to whitewash:

The fact of Arab-run slavery in Africa before Europeans arrived. The cruelties and slaughters of the Muslim conquests from Spain to India. The savage wars, routine torture, and environmental devastation that marked the lives of North American Indians. The ritual cannibalism practiced by the genocidal Aztecs. The theological tyranny wielded by upper-class Hindus over millions of "untouchables."

Likewise in sexual politics, social justice warriors must wish away:

The brutal cost of abortion in innocent lives and women's mental health. The collapse of the human birthrate everywhere that feminism has arrived. The decline of marriage, and the explosion of single mothers dependent on the government. The obsession of gay male culture with promiscuity and youth, including underage boys. The abundant evidence that biological sex is real, and "trans" fantasies are symptoms of mental illness. Playing Martyr and Burning Witches

Accepting any of these facts would shatter the sweet certitude of a life of faith. Those who try to speak of them in the name of "academic freedom" are in fact committing blasphemy. They aren't challenging students' views, but attacking their new identity. They're not educating students, but trying to contaminate them. So believers must flee the occasion of sin -- or better yet, expel the unbeliever. No wonder students need "safe spaces" in which they'll feel protected. To them these are the catacombs, and conservatives on campus are Caesar's soldiers, come to seize the holy books and desecrate the altars.

You can't really argue with zealots like this. They've constructed a palace of funhouse mirrors in which to live. Their new, fantastic religion takes up all the space where real faith in Christ could live. And that's the best evidence we have of its origin: demonic.

Military Photo of the Day: Army Soldiers Train at Fort Irwin

The Stream - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:00

U.S. Army soldiers conduct a recent training exercise at Fort Irwin in California. 

Thank you to these brave soldiers for serving our country.

 

 

 

 

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream >>

Trump Administration Looms Large In Hulu Cult Series 'The Path'

NewsBusters - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 05:33
<p>Hulu’s original series <em>The Path </em>recently returned for a third season by premiering three new episodes. Since the show follows a fictional religious movement, it’s appropriate that it, too, falls under the liberal cult mentality of Trump bashing. At least we’re all on the same page now.</p>

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer

flippant