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USA Today's Rogers Says Super Bowl Fan Support Divided Along Political Lines

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:23
<p>No need for you to select your team in the 2018 Super Bowl match-up between Philadelphia and New England. <em>USA Today</em> sports writer Martin Rogers has already assigned your team for you based on your politics. If you're a Republican, the Patriots are your team. If you're a Democrat, you're cheering for an Eagles' win. Done deal.</p>

Could the Kurds beat Turkey in Syria? - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:12

After a multi-day artillery barrage, the Turkish Army has begun its push into Afrin, a district of Syria which has been governed by Syrian Kurds ever since they defeated al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists. Turkish officials say they plan to set up a buffer zone extending almost 20 miles into Syria from the Turkish border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a blistering speech threatening Turkey’s Kurds if they speak up on behalf of their Syrian counterparts and promising victory within “a very short period of time.”

That may be a fatal miscalculation, one which could cripple Turkey. Erdogan’s paranoia and political meddling in the military have taken a toll. Once the pride of NATO, the Turkish military and security services are a shadow of their former self. They lack the experience, training, and discipline of their predecessors. One in four Turkish pilots is in prison; many Turkish F-16s are grounded for lack of trained pilots. In 2012, Syrian forces downed a Turkish F-4, and Kurds have downed Turkish helicopters.

Nor is it clear the Turkish army can fight effectively. The Turks may occupy pockets in Syria, but their presence has long been more symbolic than real. One of the reasons the Turkish intelligence service (MIT) supplied and supported the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and allowed the Islamic State free transit across Turkish territory was a quid pro quo in order to protect Turkish interests inside Syria. In short, Erdogan wanted to assume the status of military commander without actually having to fight the tough battles that originally elevated Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, to prominence.

Turkey’s competence gap can be seen in the few incidents where Turkish forces have come into contact with adversaries in Syria or Iraq. In 2016, the ISIS burned to death two Turkish soldiers that it captured in Syria. That ISIS terrorists were able to kidnap them in the first place demonstrates massive security lapses, and that Turkey was unable to determine their location prior to their execution reflects gaps in Turkish intelligence. Rather than acknowledge their murder, Erdogan responded as he often does with denial and deflection, refusing to acknowledge the accuracy of the video and then imposing a media blackout on the murders.

Turkey’s weakness is also reflected in deteriorating internal security. Terrorists have for decades targeted Turkey, but Turkish security forces successfully exposed and disrupted terrorist plots. After Erdogan purged senior military and security officials and rotated others out of territories and portfolios they knew inside-out, terrorism surged not only inside Turkey but even in the once-safe cities of Istanbul and Ankara. This should not have been unexpected to any leader cognizant of history. The Red Army hemorrhaged effectiveness after Soviet dictator Josef Stalin purged the officer corps prior to the Nazi invasion during World War II. Iraqi inroads into Iran in 1980 were due not only to the element of surprise, but also to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s hobbling of the Iranian officer corps during his post-revolutionary purge. More recently, ISIS seized Mosul after former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki replaced more professional officers with political loyalists who chickened out and ran at the sound of the first shot.

Turkey has fought the PKK since 1984. The group suffered a blow in 1999 when Turkish commandos, perhaps assisted by U.S. or Israeli intelligence, seized PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. While Turkish officials for more than a decade insisted the imprisoned and isolated Ocalan has become irrelevant, Erdogan transformed him into an indispensable Kurdish political leader by agreeing to negotiate peace with him. Erdogan may like to depict the PKK as terrorists — and, without doubt, they have engaged in terrorism — but in recent years, they have transformed themselves into more of a traditional insurgency. And while the links between the PKK and the Syrian-based Popular Mobilization Units (YPG) are real, Turkish officials are hard-pressed to attribute any attacks inside Turkey to Syrian Kurds from Afrin.

But while Turkey’s military is a shadow of its former self, the same can’t be said for the YPG. The Kurdish militia has been the most effective fighting force on the ground in Syria against al Qaeda and ISIS. For years, they operated alone — ignored by the United States and Russia, isolated by other Syrian opposition groups, and embargoed by Turkey. And yet, at Kobane and elsewhere, their discipline, high morale, and cohesion paid off. If they could operate against all odds against ISIS, they can likewise be a formidable opponent against Turkey, especially with home field advantage.

Nor is the PKK amateurish, especially after years of hardening in battle. In another incident censored by Turkey, PKK operatives managed to capture two of Turkey’s leading intelligence officials.

Nor are Turkey’s aims clear. There is hardly a Kurdish farmer or shopkeeper that Turkish officials — in assessments blinded by racism and ignorance — don’t see as terrorists. If Turkey seeks to wipe out “terrorists,” does that mean engaging in ethnic cleansing inside Syria? And, if that happens, what is to stop a blowback that will not only send hundreds of Turkish troops back home in body bags, but will also ignite the already repressed Kurdish population inside Turkey? If Turkey has been unable to defeat the PKK in Diyarbakir and Hakkari, will they be able to do so in Istanbul and Antalya? Just as Erdogan’s forces once supplied al Qaeda and ISIS with weaponry, what might happen if other countries — Russia, Israel, the Syrian regime, or even the United States — decide covertly to provide the means for the YPG to better defend themselves? If Kurds bring the fight into Turkey, can Turkey’s economy survive as the multi-billion dollar tourist industry shrinks 75 percent?

Erdogan operates in a domain of ego and ambition unencumbered by reality. He brands those who question him as terrorists, and so top aides understand they must tell him only what he wishes to hear. The result, now that Turkish forces are moving into Afrin against an opponent stronger than Erdogan realizes, could be disaster for Turkey. Erdogan may expect a quick victory. Not only is this not realistic, but he may soon find that what he sees as an ignorant terrorist group is strong enough to bleed Turkish invaders dry and run the Turkish economy into the ground.

Erdogan may set the stage not for triumphant victory but for a defeat that will shake Turkey to the core.

Telemundo pinta cuadro dantesco del primero año de Trump

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:58
<p>Se sabe que un mal perenne del periodismo es la tendencia a exagerar la nota, sobre todo al presentar cuán “mal” están las cosas. En el caso de Telemundo, esta inclinación también incluye caracterizaciones altamente cuestionables e irresponsables, como sucedió durante su cobertura del primero año de la presidencia de Donald Trump.</p>

Censored: Networks Ignore Huge Spike in View of Tax Bill Benefits

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:57
<p>One of the constants in politics is change. The number of Americans who think the GOP tax bill will help them financially dramatically increased from December, 2017 to January, 2018, yet the network evening news shows ignored the story completely. That didn’t stop NBC and CBS from spending almost four minutes on Delta Air Lines restricting service animals on flights.</p>

NYT Can't Grasp Why GOP Supports Israel, Blames 'Us vs. Them' Culture War, 'Drastic' Trump

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:25
<p>Max Fisher’s latest explainer piece in Monday’s <em>New York Times</em>, “How the Right Took Israel’s Side,” attacked President Trump and conservatives in general for supporting Israel for no good reason. After flubbing basic facts about the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem in favor of anti-Israel assertions in December, Fisher again revealed himself untrustworthy on an issue he pays special attention to, offering grossly misleading characterizations of Republican attitudes toward the Israel-Palestinian dilemma.</p>

Nets Reach Back to 2013 to Trash Trump; Ignore Schumer Shutdown Hypocrisy

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:21
<p>After Democrats shut down the government on Friday over their demand to protect illegal immigrants from deportation, all three broadcast networks spent the weekend reaching back to 2013 to accuse Donald Trump of changing his mind on the legislative tactic. At the same time, NBC, ABC and CBS completely ignored the stunning hypocrisy of Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.</p>

Headed to the Super Bowl: Eagles’ QB Foles Says ‘All Glory Belongs to God’

The Stream - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:00

The Philadelphia Eagles soundly defeated the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 Sunday, and heads to a Super Bowl LII showdown with the New England Patriots. For many on the team, the win was an opportunity to share their faith.

“First and foremost, all glory belongs to God,” said quarterback Nick Foles. “I wouldn’t be here without Him and this is just very humbling and unbelievable.”

“I’m blessed to have amazing teammates, amazing coaches,” he added.

Foles took over the starting job in December when star quarterback Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury. Like Wentz and several other teammates, Foles has been very vocal about his faith. He describes himself on Twitter as a “Believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother.”

Team Unity

Members of the Eagles released a video in November titled, “The Locker Room’s Binding Force,” about how Christianity is a “big part of the team’s unity.” Wentz, safety Chris Maragos and wide-receiver Torrey Smith shared what their faith means to them.

“I think the biggest thing that we’re always challenging each other with is just to not lose sight of the bigger picture,” said Wentz. “I think wins, losses, highs, lows, everything that comes with this game, it’s so easy to take your mind and your eyes off of the ultimate prize, and that’s living for the Lord.”

Maragos said he came to know the Lord in high school. He’d been in a “downward spiral,” and realized that what he was seeking only provided temporary satisfaction. “I was really at a crossroads at that point and had to make a decision on where I was going,” he said. “And that’s when I gave my life to Christ, and really He supplied that satisfaction and that joy for me.”

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Maragos said the Eagles want to be united. “We want to support each other; we want to support each other in our lives through the difficulties off the field as well as on the field.” 

So they started having Bible studies. “On every Monday night, we have a couple’s Bible study. We have a Thursday night team Bible study,” Wentz explained. “And then Saturday nights, we actually get together the night before the game and just kind of pray; talk through the Word; what guys have been reading, what they’re struggling with, and just kind of keep it real with each other.”

Smith said although it isn’t always easy to share struggles with the guys, having Bible studies is really special. “When you’re able to talk about [struggles] amongst your brothers, amongst your family, it helps you grow,” he said. “And when you realize that you can apply Biblical principles to it, it helps us all grow.”

“And so I think it’s really kind of something to where we’re all just kind of binding together to kind of keep each other sharpened and keep pushing forward,” Maragos said.

Wentz, Trey Burton, Foles, Zach Ertz, Maragos and Jordan Matthews have started an online Bible study called “Professional Football Players on Humility and Surrender.” According to the website, the athletes “discuss scriptures about staying humble and walking in surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.”

Wentz Determined to Turn His Injury into a Testimony

Wentz’s dream season came to a sudden end with a torn ACL in game against the Rams December 12. He has not let the disappointment make him despondent.

Wentz said on a Twitter video post: “I just know the Lord’s working through it, and I know Jesus has a plan through it. I know he’s trying to grow me in something, teach me something, use me somehow, some way. This will just be a great testimony as I go forward.” 

“As a follower of Jesus, I have the utmost confidence in His plan. His plan is perfect,” he added.

Some quick thoughts for everyone. Can't thank my family, friends, teammates, and fans enough. Love y'all! #AO1

— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) December 11, 2017

An earlier Stream article highlighted Wentz's faith. Wentz said, "...If you love whatever it is that you're passionate about, you're going to talk about it. If you love Jesus, you should talk about it. You should tell the world about Him, you should share that truth. And so, there's going to be persecution, there's going to be haters, you have to just stay true to Him and ultimately that's what it's all about."


What Is She Smoking?! Joy Reid Argues ‘Nothing’ Is More ‘Predictable’ than Media Backing Republicans

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:30
<p>Is Joy Reid drunk or on drugs? Has she been hacked? Is her behavior just an act? It’s tough to say on any particular day, but Monday brought forth one of the craziest things to come across the internet and particularly Twitter on the issue of media bias. Less than two hours after an agreement emerged to end the government shutdown, MSNBC’s <em>AM Joy</em> host tweeted: "There is nothing so predictable as media spin in favor of Republicans."</p>

Disgraced Dan Rather, 86, Joins Far-Left Young Turks Network With Monday Show

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:14
<p>There is probably no better indicator that facts and the truth really don't matter to today's journalists than the fawning coverage disgraced former news anchor Dan Rather receives whenever he makes a post-CBS career move. CNN's story on Rather's latest foray into online broadcasting typifies the kid-glove treatment he has received since he was relieved of his anchor duties at CBS almost 13 years ago.</p>

Meghan McCain Calls Out Ana Navarro’s Hypocrisy: Why Do You Still Consider Yourself a Republican?

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:10
<p><em>The View’s</em> “Republican” co-hosts Meghan McCain and Ana Navarro had a spitfire exchange over who was to blame for the government shutdown during the January 22 show. After Navarro continued to attack the GOP’s response to the shutdown, McCain called her out as a hypocrite for still identifying as a Republican, yet defending Democrats at every chance she was given.</p>

Trump and Republicans a ‘Danger’ to Children and ‘Non-White People’

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 19:03
<p>Efforts by President Donald Trump and Republicans to secure the border and let Americans keep more of their money sent the liberal media into hysterics over the past month. On MSNBC, the President was called a “white supremacist” who was a “danger to non-white people” for wanting to tighten immigration enforcement. For believing tax cuts would lead to higher wages and growth <em>Today</em> show host Savannah Guthrie wondered if House Speaker Paul Ryan was “living in a fantasy world.” The following is a collection of the most heinous outbursts from liberal journalists and celebrities over the past month.</p>

Your Desires Don’t Define You

The Stream - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:50

When someone states that he or she was "born this way," maybe the most biblical response is, "me too."

The Huffington Post is all in a huff over a stupendous viral video about homosexuality and the Gospel -- a video that's racked up nearly 2 million views. Created by the Christian media ministry Anchored North, this production gives every appearance of being just another "coming out" story by a lesbian woman.

Emily Thomes tells of how it "went terribly" when she revealed her first romantic relationship with a woman to her father. In her Southern lilt, she describes the conviction at age twenty that if anyone in the Bible Belt was truly a Christian, they would approve of her lifestyle. "If not," she says, "then you were legalistic and you needed to re-read what God was really about: 'Judge not.'"

Then, at twenty-two, Thomes was invited to attend a ladies' Bible study. Certain the women would reject her, she gave it the old college try. But something strange happened. Thomes was not shunned by these Christian women. As a result, she began asking herself questions: "What if it's all true? Are you sure this is who you are?"

She turned to the Bible to see if her ideas about what real Christians believe were accurate, and soon found herself in the sin list of 1 Corinthians 6. Paul's promise of judgement, she says, scared her. "I realized I was in the 'will not enter the kingdom of God' lineup." And then she read verse 11: "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified."

The freedom promised in this verse ultimately opened her eyes. "I could hold onto my sin and reject God," she says, "or I could turn to Him. All the debt that I racked up living like I had lived didn't have to be mine..."

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Predictably, HuffPo slams Thomes' story as a commercial for the "scientifically discredited and flat-out lethal idea that gay, lesbian, or bisexual people can change their sexual orientation if they pray hard enough." They quote one so-called "queer Christian writer and pastor" who insists "a robust, Christ-centered" theology teaches that God accepts every lifestyle, that He is "all gracious, all merciful, and extends forgiveness and love to absolutely everyone."

The irony is that Thomes would agree that God extends forgiveness and love to all. The difference is that her idea of forgiveness involves repentance, and being born again.

People regularly confront her with the refrain of the LGBT movement: "I was born this way." Her reply? "Yeah, me too. You're not born with right affections. That's why Jesus had to come. You're feeling a desire for sin just proves you need grace like me."

This answer is more than just a good one. It's the definitive response from a Christian worldview to those who insist sexual desires define them.

What Thomes' story so beautifully portrays and what proves to be such a stumbling block to the editorial staff at The Huffington Post is a little something called the Gospel. It's the same message preached by other disciples called out of the gay lifestyle, like Rosaria Butterfield, who no longer identify themselves by their desires, but in Christ.

Secular news outlets want to associate this with so-called "conversion therapy," the once popular practice of trying to clinically "cure" homosexuality. But as Thomes says, the transformation we undergo in Christ isn't from gay to straight. Despite being happily married in the Lord today, she reminds viewers that "God calls us not to heterosexuality but to holiness."

The central lie of the LGBT movement and the sexual revolution is that our sin and our desire for it are our identity -- even something in which to take pride. But the good news of Christianity is that in Jesus, we can have a new identity. We need no longer be enslaved to our fallen passions. We were made for something better.

Below, view the video of Emily Thomes' testimony. And continue to pray, as Emily reminds us, that Christ's call to holiness will be heard and responded to by all.



Originally published on BreakPoint Commentaries, January 22, 2018. Re-published with permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.


Global credit markets are mispriced given risky upcoming elections - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:40

Markets are supposed to be forward-looking. Yet, judging by the way in which they are currently pricing the global economy to perfection, one could be forgiven for thinking that no one had told them about the forthcoming elections in Italy, Mexico and Brazil. While all indications point to disruptive electoral results in each of these three systemically important countries, markets continue to allow these countries’ governments to borrow on the most favorable of terms.

Italy is perhaps the most egregious case of global credit market mispricing in the face of political risk. This is not simply because Italy has the world’s third-largest government bond market, after the United States and Japan, and is the Eurozone’s third-largest economy. Rather, it is because it is all too likely that the forthcoming March Italian parliamentary elections will produce a government incapable of addressing the country’s serious public debt and banking system problems.

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Chris Matthews on Blame Game: ‘Hard Left’ Hates Trump, Wants Government Closed

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:21
<p>The government reopened on Monday after Democrats reversed course, apparently failing to get their demands met on “ironclad commitments” about DACA. This prompted an admission from an unlikely source on the state of liberalism: Chris Matthews denounced some on the “hard left” who “don’t care” about the impact of the shutdown. </p>

DOJ Admits It Failed to Save Crucial Texts Between Anti-Trump Agents as House Moves to ‘Release the Memo’

The Stream - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:19

The House Intelligence committee has begun the process of releasing an explosive, controversial and classified memo reportedly outlining a disturbing abuse of power by the Obama Justice Department and FBI to sabotage the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump. This comes as the DOJ admits the FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages between two key figures at the center of those allegations.

Rep. Steve King has said the findings in the memo are “worse than Watergate.” With the FBI’s admitting they lost crucial evidence, expect the Watergate comparisons to grow even louder.

“Failed to Preserve”

The lost texts went between then deputy chief of counter-intelligence Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Earlier texts between the lovers revealed not only their contempt for Trump, but discussed an “insurance policy” to undermine him if elected. As the Daily Caller reported:

"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way [Trump] gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk," FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok wrote in a cryptic text message to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.

"It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40," Strzok wrote in the text, dated Aug. 15, 2016.

Andy is likely Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Trump, indeed was elected. The missing Strzok-Page texts cover the crucial period from December 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017. In December, the Trump-Russia collusion meme was rearing its ugly head. Trump associates were getting unmasked, intelligence was being leaked on Capitol Hill and in the media, based on the unverified Fusion GPS dossier. The effort to delegitimize the election was underway. Was this the “insurance policy”?

Curiously, May 17th is the day is Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel in the Trump Russia probe. Strzok and Page were made part of Mueller’s team. They were again in position to act against Trump. And now their texts from the crucial period are gone. Convenient.

This Bombshell Memo

DOJ revealed this bombshell in a letter Thursday to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (SHSGAC). And their excuse is a doozy. The failure to preserve the texts (as required by law) was due to "misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI's collection capabilities."

Echos of Richard Nixon’s erased 18 minutes of tape. A 21st century high-tech version of Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods claiming she accidentally erased 18 minutes of crucial Oval Office recordings of Nixon discussing the Watergate cover-up.

In a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray, SHSGAC chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis) expressed concerns over the missing evidence. According to The Hill, Johnson asked Wray to explain the scope of the missing texts. He also asked if the FBI searched any non-FBI phones used by Strzok and Page during this time. (He might also want to ask if a deputy chief of counter-intelligence would know how to “misconfigure” phone software.)

Johnson’s not the only one concerned. North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows tweeted:

Unreal. We've been asking for the remaining text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents (and former Mueller team members), Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The FBI now says the texts are "missing."

If it wasn't already clear we need a second special counsel, it's abundantly clear now

— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 22, 2018

Meanwhile, additional texts between Strzok and Page were discovered. They suggest that contrary to her claims, Loretta Lynn knew Comey would let Hillary Clinton skate. They also suggest there was pressure to wrap up the Clinton investigation once it became clear Donald Trump would be the GOP nominee. The Stream will have more on this story to come.

“Release the Memo”

Also over the weekend, Rep. Dave Joyce said the House Intelligence Committee “plans to begin” the process to release the committee’s four-page classified memo outlining the Obama administration’s surveillance abuses. He thinks the process would take 19 working days.

Great news! Our efforts to #ReleaseTheMemo have been effective and the HPSIC plans to begin the process to release the FBI/FISA/Russia memo. This may take up to 19+ Congressional work days but Americans deserve to know the truth.

— Dave Joyce (@RepDaveJoyce) January 20, 2018

Rep. Jim Jordan doesn’t think it’d take that long. According to House rules, the House Intelligence Committee can vote to make the memo public. The President would then have five days to come up with a reason to block its release. If he blocks it, the full House can override the President.

On Friday, 65 representatives urged the memo’s release. Only House members are able to read the memo in a secure room on Capitol Hill. Even Sen. Rand Paul, who’s been vocal about the misuse of intelligence gathering tools, was not allowed to see it. Thus far, reportedly only one Democrat not on the House Intelligence Committee has bothered to read the memo.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee vehemently opposes the American people seeing the memo. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) calls it a “set of talking points Republican Intel staffers drafted.” When asked by CNN why not let the American people judge for themselves, Schiff said, “because the American people unfortunately don’t have the underlying materials and therefore they can’t see how distorted and misleading this document is.”

The Flaws in the Argument

The flaws in the argument are obvious.

First, it shows a mistrust of the American people to recognize whether something is “spin” or not.

Second, Schiff can offer a rebuttal.

Third, misuse of the FISA courts by the Obama administration is already a matter of record. A barely reported-on court finding from April 2017 reveals the government admitting in 2016 there was “significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers.” Translation: They were spying on Americans. The only question is who and for what political end. 

Finally, those who’ve read the House memo are using words like “sickening,” “deeply troubling,” “jaw-dropping.”  Rep. Scott Perry said of the memo: "You think about, 'is this happening in America or is this the KGB?' That's how alarming it is.” Rep. Mark Meadows said, “"Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don't want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much." Rep. Matt Gaetz said, "I think that this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail.” If these elected officials are lying about the seriousness of the matter, they’re going to look awfully foolish.

Now  five months worth of text messages between two of the key actors in the drama have turned up missing. Surely even a partisan like Schiff has to admit the time has come for the truth … the whole truth … and nothing but the truth.  

Let’s think about a US parliament - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:12
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During the last US government shutdown, in 2013, the columnist Max Fisher directed my attention to Australia. In 1975, the legislature there couldn’t get its act together to fund the government, which shut down. Queen Elizabeth’s official representative in Australia — remember, she is also Queen of Australia — dismissed the prime minister, appointed a replacement who passed a funding bill, and then, three hours later, dismissed the rest of the Australian parliament. New elections were held. According to Fisher, “they haven’t had another shutdown since.”

Now the US government is at peak dysfunction, so it’s interesting to ask what Americans might learn from Australians. Nobody’s ready to give the British monarch authority over the US government. But as an amusing diversion, consider whether there’s something to be said for a US parliamentary system.

I find myself thinking about this because the two dominant US political parties, weakened by internal factionalism, are struggling to govern at a time of intense partisanship.

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Take the Republican Party, which currently contains internationalists who want to use American power to shape world events and isolationists who think the world would be better if the US kept to itself; ardent free traders and those so opposed to trade that they want the US to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement; advocates of open borders and ethno-nationalists; those who want to shrink the entitlement state and a president who promises not to touch Social Security or Medicare.

CNN’s Cuomo Lobbies for Illegal Immigrants in WH Interview; GOP Doesn’t Have ‘Heart’ for Them

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:12
<p>On Monday morning before the government shutdown ended, CNN’s <em>New Day </em>co-host Chris Cuomo sided with illegal immigrants and specifically DREAMers, arguing to White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short that addressing both border security and DACA shows that Republicans don’t truly care about these supposedly maligned group.</p>

The Latest: Senate Advances Bill to Reopen Government

The Stream - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:06

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the budget battle (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

It looks like the government shutdown will end soon. The Senate has advanced a bill reopening federal agencies through Feb. 8 after Democrats relented and lifted their blockade against the legislation.

The shutdown began Saturday after Democrats derailed a Republican measure that would have kept government open until Feb. 16. Democrats wanted to pressure the GOP to cut a deal protecting young immigrants from deportation and boosting federal spending.

Moderates from both parties pressured leaders to end the shutdown and compromise.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats agreed to back the bill reopening government after he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to begin debating an immigration bill by Feb. 8.

The Senate vote was 81-18 -- well above the 60 votes needed. The Senate still must vote on final passage to send the bill to the House.


12:35 p.m.

Senate leaders have reached an agreement to reopen the government. Democrats have yielded and ended their delaying tactics against a bill financing federal agencies through Feb. 8.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says in exchange, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to begin debating immigration by that date.

McConnell says the end to the standoff shows “the American people didn’t understand” why Democrats shut down the government because they wanted to help “illegal immigrants.”

The Senate has started a vote to advance the bill reopening government. It is expected to pass easily, and House approval is expected later.


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12:10 p.m.

Democrats are aligning behind a plan to reopen the federal government as the Senate heads toward a key vote.

Several Democratic senators predict a proposal to fund the government until Feb. 8 will move forward, overcoming a Democratic filibuster. That would clear the way for an end to the three-day shutdown.

Democrats appear to have jumped on board after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate will consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Monday morning she believed Democrats and Republicans now have “a path forward.”

Florida Democrat Bill Nelson is predicting a resounding yes from Democrats on the plan.


10:35 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he hopes and intends to resolve immigration and a host of other issues by early February in an effort to come to bipartisan agreement to reopen the federal government.

Senate Democrats blocked a House-passed temporary funding bill to reopen the government through Feb. 16. A pending Senate measure would last through Feb. 8.

Opening the Senate Monday, McConnell said that if they could not find bipartisan solutions on immigration, military spending, disaster aid and other issues by the Feb. 8 deadline then he would hold a vote on those matters. Top Democrat Chuck Schumer did not appear on the floor to respond.

Several members of both parties met Monday morning to try and resolve the shutdown mess.


10:25 a.m.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is defending President Donald Trump’s lack of outreach to Democratic lawmakers during the government shutdown.

Mulvaney discussed the shutdown on MSNBC Monday morning.

Trump did not speak with any Democratic senators over the weekend. Asked why, Mulvaney said Trump spoke with Democrats before the shutdown and will speak to them when it is over.

But he says: “we are not going to negotiate immigration in the middle of the shutdown.”


9:05 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says if the Senate approves a temporary spending bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8, the House will approve it, too.

Senate Democrats had blocked a stopgap measure passed by the House to keep the federal bureaucracy operating through Feb. 16. But speaking on Fox and Friends, Ryan says the new date works for the House.

The Wisconsin Republican also says negotiations on an immigration deal are taking place in good faith. Democrats want to protect young immigrants in the country illegally and are skeptical of Republican pledges to bring up free-standing immigration legislation next month.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says on MSNBC he has “zero confidence” that Ryan will bring legislation to shield the roughly 700,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers.”


8:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens.

He says in a tweet Monday: “Not good!”

Some government functions shut down over the weekend. Democrats are rejecting a funding bill until Republicans agree to protect 700,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The Republican president says in a second tweet Monday that “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”

Trump’s earlier tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.”

Short says the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.


7:55 a.m.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says the government shutdown won’t affect the spy agency’s operations.

He tells CBS This Morning in an interview Monday: “We’re going to continue crushing our adversaries whether the government’s open or closed.”

A dispute in Congress over spending and immigration forced scores of federal government agencies and outposts to close their doors early Saturday. But many government functions, particularly those involving national security, are considered essential and won’t be affected.

Pompeo also says he doesn’t agree that the stalemate on Capitol Hill that led to the shutdown is a signal of dysfunction in Washington.

He says, “The American people are having complicated discussions about their priorities.” He says that’s entirely appropriate in a democracy.


1:45 a.m.

The government shutdown is set to complicate the beginning of the workweek. Over the weekend, the Senate inched closer but ultimately fell short of an agreement that would have reopened federal agencies.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations were still underway late into Sunday night, with a vote to break a Democratic filibuster on a short-term funding bill scheduled for noon Monday.

Under the proposal taking shape, Democratic would agree to a three-week spending measure -- until Feb. 8 -- in return for a commitment from the Republican leadership in the Senate to address immigration policy and other pressing legislative matters in the coming weeks. But there is no agreement yet.


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

Graphic Child Rape Film ‘The Tale’ Premieres At Sundance

NewsBusters - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 17:46
<p>Sometimes, a proposed solution becomes part of the problem.</p> <p>Pedophilia and rape are evil. But making a graphic film about a young girl who is raped by a 40 year old man adds more to the problem. At the Sundance Film festival in Utah, the movie <em>The Tale</em> premiered and caused much of the audience to walk out, according to the <em>Daily Beast</em>, because of the “purposeful, unflinching detail” of a young girl’s rape on screen.</p> <p> </p>

The Sex-Change Revolution Is Based on Ideology, Not Science

The Stream - Mon, 01/22/2018 - 17:27

Twenty-eight years ago, the release of When Harry Met Sally highlighted one big debate: whether men and women could really be just friends.

That question may still be up in the air, but now we are being forced to confront a more fundamental debate: whether men can really become women.

America is in the midst of what has been called a "transgender moment." In the space of a year, transgender issues went from something that most Americans had never heard of to a cause claiming the mantle of civil rights.

But can a boy truly be "trapped" in a girl's body? Can modern medicine really "reassign" sex? Is sex something "assigned" in the first place? What's the loving response to a friend or child experiencing a gender identity conflict? What should our law say on these issues?

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

These shouldn't be difficult questions.

Just a few years before When Harry Met Sally hit theaters, Dr. Paul McHugh thought he had convinced the vast majority of medical professionals not to go along with bold claims about sex and gender being proffered by some of his colleagues. And as chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, McHugh put a stop to sex-reassignment surgery at Hopkins.

Once the elite Johns Hopkins did this, many medical centers across the nation followed suit.

But in recent years we have seen a resurgence of these drastic procedures -- not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement. Such is our transgender moment.

The people increasingly in the spotlight of this moment are children.

In the past 10 years, dozens of pediatric gender clinics have sprung up throughout the United States. In 2007, Boston Children's Hospital "became the first major program in the United States to focus on transgender children and adolescents," as its own website brags.

A decade later, over 45 gender clinics opened their doors to our nation's children -- telling parents that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones may be the only way to prevent teen suicides.

Never mind that according to the best studies -- the ones that even transgender activists themselves cite -- 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex.

Never mind that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide.


These statistics should stop us in our tracks. Clearly, we must work to find ways to effectively prevent these suicides and address the underlying causes. We certainly shouldn't be encouraging children to "transition."

Many psychologists and psychiatrists think of gender dysphoria as similar to other dysphorias, or forms of discomfort with one's body, such as anorexia. The feelings of discomfort can lead to mistaken beliefs about oneself or about reality, and then to actions in accordance with those false beliefs.

The most helpful therapies focus not on achieving the impossible -- changing bodies to conform to thoughts and feelings -- but on helping people accept and even embrace the truth about their bodies and reality.

Operating in the background is a sound understanding of physical and mental health -- proper function of one's body and mind -- and a sound understanding of medicine as a practice aimed at restoring health, not simply satisfying the desires of patients.

For human beings to flourish, they need to feel comfortable in their own bodies, readily identify with their sex, and believe that they are who they actually are.

In my new book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, I argue that McHugh got it right. The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality, and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn't bigotry.

In my book I offer a balanced approach to the policy issues, a nuanced vision of human embodiment, and a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.

Despite activists' best efforts to put up a unified front, Harry cannot become Sally. Activists' desperate insistence to the contrary suggests that the transgender moment is fleeting.


Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research. @RyanTAnd

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