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Gabe Sherman ‘Shocked’ Obama Would ‘Legitimize’ Weinstein

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 20:50
<p>Appearing on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon, Vanity Fair special correspondent Gabe Sherman revealed that he was “shocked” that former President Barack Obama would “legitimize” disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein at a recent political event despite claims of sexual harassment against Weinstein being “an open secret in Hollywood and in media circles.”</p>

WashPost: US 1 of Only 7 Countries With Elective Abortions Past 20 Weeks

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 20:47
<p>The pro-life movement is correct in saying most countries restrict abortion more than the United States. Even <em>The Washington Post</em> admits it.</p>

NYT's Nick Kristof Regurgitates North Korean Propaganda, Blames Trump's Tweets For Potential 'Cataclysm'

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 20:02
<p>On Tuesday’s <em>Morning Joe</em>, prominent New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof came on the show to promote his latest piece based on his recent trip to North Korea. The resultant segment’s melding of Kristof’s sentiments reflecting NYT’s pro-communist “Red Century” series combined with Joe Scarborough and his fellow panelists’ tendency to paint Trump as a dictator added up to produce the perfect recipe for some truly baffling pro-North Korean propaganda.</p>

New York Times’ Haberman Begins & Ends Immigration Rant With ‘Xenophobia’ Smear

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 19:51
<p><em>New York Times’</em> Clyde Haberman decided that it was prime time to bash Proposition 187, the 1994 California ballot initiative restricting government aid to illegal immigrants which passed into law, only to be declared unconstitutional, but which nonetheless spawned similar acts nationwide: “Failed Referendum That Propelled Policy on Migrants.” Haberman virtue-signaled this would be no objective look at the issue by crying out “xenophobia” in the first sentence. The paper made a big production of Haberman's piece, coupling it with a special nine-minute “Retro Report” video contrasting the state of the immigration debate, then and now.</p>

Undercover Video Catches NYT Online Editor Bragging About Slanting the News Against Trump

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 19:34
<p>Undercover journalist James O’Keefe exposed another left-wing propagandist, this time at the <em>New York Times</em>. Hidden video posted on Tuesday shows Nick Dudich telling Project Veritas that the <em>Times</em> “always” slants stories against Trump.</p>

CNN’s Bash Unloads on Obamas Over Weinstein Donations, Silence: ‘Where Are the Obamas?’

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 19:33
<p>On Tuesday, a number of CNN figures swiftly condemned former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama for their silence thus far on the rape and sexual assault allegations against donor, friend, and filmmaker Harvey Weinstein. Among the CNNers were chief political correspondent Dana Bash, who slammed the Obamas during CNN’s <em>Wolf</em>.</p>

Stretch! NPR Somehow Connects Weinstein to Repealing Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:57
<p>NPR deserves some sort prize for Most Energetic Attempt to Smear Harvey Weinstein on Conservative Christians. On Saturday night's <em>All Things Considered,</em> NPR host Michel Martin attempted to correlate the Weinstein sexual-assault scandal and the Cam Newton female-reporter-dismissing scandal with....peeling back the contraceptive mandate under Obamacare. Panelist Jeff Yang argued "when you actually have a situation where somebody who is an admitted sexual predator is elected president, it seems to be further evidence that there's a deep structure that accepts these sorts of things as okay in society."</p>

Weinstein Dropped $100K at 2017 Planned Parenthood Gala

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 17:54
<p>At a recent Planned Parenthood gala, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein appeared to paint himself as a staunch supporter of women – even though allegations now claim he was anything but.</p>

What Would Jesus Say to a Gay Couple Today?

The Stream - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 17:35

"Suppose there were two gay men right here in this room -- men who loved each other. Suppose Jesus walked into the room right now. What do you think He would say to them?"

A friend of mine was asked that question not long ago. It's a great question, and the answer he gave was brilliant.

It's a great question because Jesus' opinion matters, and because there's a lot of confusion over what He would say.

Misunderstandings in Jesus’ Name

We know that God is love, and that His first commandments are to love Him and one another. Some say that's all you need to know; that love is a value higher than all others, higher even than truth. So if these men want to love each other, certainly Jesus would bless them for it, right?

We know, too, that Jesus wouldn't reject the men. He associated with every kind of "sinner," while rebuking the "smug religionists," as I like to call them; the hypocrites who thought they were better than everyone else.

So we know that Jesus would engage with them with warmth and love, and He would certainly stand for love. But still we have to wonder, what would he say?

"Do You Want To Be Healed?"

Here's how my friend answered. It comes straight from conversations Jesus had when He was here on earth (John 5:2-9, Mark 10:46-52).

"What would you have me do for you? Do you want to be healed?"

Jesus would ask them, "What would you have me do for you? Do you want to be healed?"

He might even offer them God’s forgiveness, as He did with the paralytic in Mark 2:1-12.

Love That’s Truly Life-Giving

The standard gay-rights answer, of course, would be, "Absolutely not! Forgiveness? What an insult! Our love is good and right. You’ve told us to love one another, and that's what we're doing. So we expect you to bless our relationship!"

Jesus ran into this kind of thing a lot: people who thought they could tell Him what He should be doing. More often than not He responded with questions.

So I think He might say, "What, do you think you cannot love one another without putting sex in the picture?" His own answer to that should be obvious. Or he might ask them, "What leads you to believe your love is good and right?"

I've wondered that myself. It's not just that gay sex seems inherently wrong to me. It isn't even just my conviction that God's word says it's not good. It's what we can observe with our own eyes -- or the eyes of researchers. The New Atlantis reported on this at length last fall: the LGBT life is not an emotionally healthy one, and it isn't just because of anti-gay stigma.

Even gay-friendly researchers find that gay men typically connect with an extraordinarily high number of partners. This is not a picture of life-giving relational health. Rather it's a picture of always seeking, always hoping, and always being disappointed.

Which is why I believe Jesus would ask them, "What would you have me do for you? Do you want to be healed?"

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Why the Question Needs Asking

In the Gospel accounts he asked those questions of a man who was lame, and one who was blind. You'd think the answer would be obvious. I've been partially disabled for much of the past twenty years, with serious problems in both feet. I've worn out four fracture boots; I'm on my fifth one now. I've had four foot surgeries in the past six years, and I'm facing the fifth in less than two weeks from now.

I want to be healed. Who wouldn’t?

There's a whole movement now of LGBT people who don't think they need Jesus' help that way.

But there are people who have "made friends" of their disabilities. It certainly isn't true of most disabled persons, but some find it more convenient -- and perhaps more familiar, too -- to allow their physical challenges relieve them of some personal responsibility.

So these questions were very insightful. Jesus didn't force His healing on anyone. He did it only when He knew they wanted it. And there's a whole movement now of LGBT people who don't think they need Jesus' help that way.

To Say Yes or to Say No

Yet I believe there are many who would still say, "Yes! We're willing to let go of what's seemed right to us -- because in reality we know it isn't. We're not happy being this way. We want to be healed." And I believe He would do it for them.

Now we know that in real life, people who seek spiritual healing from same-sex attraction rarely experience it fully. It would be cruel to suggest that this is what people should normally expect when they encounter Jesus today.

But this has been a what-if scenario: What if Jesus walked through the door right now, in the flesh? Of course we can't heal like Jesus did. My doctors haven't healed my feet like Jesus healed the lame. When He walked the earth, He did what He alone could do. Sometimes He still does miracles; more often He has other plans for us, plans that cause us to rely on Him through weakness, not in strength.

As for those who would consider his offer an insult, I expect He would do as He did with others who rejected His word: He would let them walk away. He would let them live with their decision -- and its harmful consequences.

And as He also did when He was on earth before (Luke 19:41-44), He would weep for them.


Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel Publications, 2016). Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.

Jimmy Carter Hopes to Save the World From a Second Korean War

The Stream - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:49

Former President Jimmy Carter reportedly wants to return to Pyongyang for peace talks with young North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Carter wants to meet with the North Korean leader and play a constructive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he did in 1994," Park Han-shik, an emeritus professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia, revealed to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

"Should former President Carter be able to visit North Korea, he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss a peace treaty between the United States and the North and a complete denuclearization of North Korea," Park, who has visited Pyongyang over 50 times, explained, adding that Carter seeks to "contribute toward establishing a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."

"He wants to employ his experience visiting North Korea to prevent a second Korean War," the professor concluded.

Carter played an important role in orchestrating an agreement to defuse tensions on the peninsula in the 1990s. As North Korea made aggressive moves towards a nuclear weapons program, the Clinton administration considered using military force against North Korea, but warnings about the cost in human lives led the president to change his mind and pursue a diplomatic alternative -- the Agreed Framework.

The U.S. agreed to provide billions of dollars in aid and assistance in exchange for a nuclear freeze. "This is a good deal for the United States," former President Bill Clinton explained at the time. "North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons."

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Although the U.S. failed to uphold certain aspects of the agreement, North Korea negotiated in bad faith, secretly enriching nuclear material. North Korea declared itself a nuclear power after the turn of the century and tested its first nuclear device in 2006. North Korea has gone back on its word on a total of eight different agreements.

Over the past decade, North Korea has continued to improve its capabilities. This year, the rogue regime successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that can strike parts, if not most, of the continental U.S. and a staged thermonuclear bomb -- a hydrogen bomb.

In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has stressed that "talking is not the answer" when it comes to North Korea while highlighting the failed efforts of past presidents on this issue. He has asserted that the military option is on the table, explaining that if the North forces America's hand, the U.S. military will "totally destroy" the country.

The Trump administration is pursuing a pressure campaign designed to force the North to come to a table from a position of weakness, not one of strength with nuclear weapons in hand.

Carter is convinced that dialogue is essential to preventing a major conflict in Korea, which he believes is a real possibility.

"We face the strong possibility of another Korean war, with potentially devastating consequences to the Korean Peninsula, Japan, our outlying territories in the Pacific and perhaps the mainland of the United States," the former president explained in a recent Washington Post op-ed. This is the most serious existing threat to world peace, and it is imperative that Pyongyang and Washington find some way to ease the escalating tension and reach a lasting, peaceful agreement."

He asserts that the regime is largely immune to outside pressure.



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Lib Harvey Weinstein Accused of Rape By Three Victims

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:32
<p>Despite all the liberal preaching, Hollywood has no moral boundaries.</p> <p>Harvey Weinstein, the man who pushed feminism and social justice and who has been a major donor and player in Democratic politics and liberal causes, has just been accused of rape by three women who were interviewed by the <em>New Yorker.</em> Ronan Farrow reported, “Three women told me that Weinstein raped them.”  Farrow interviewed thirteen women total, who told stories of rape, assault, and inappropriate exposure and harassment, all committed by Weinstein over the past three decades.</p> <p> </p>

MSNBC’s Schmidt: Trump’s ‘Incompetence’ Caused ‘Deaths’ in Puerto Rico

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:20
<p>Blinded by his sheer hatred for Donald Trump on Tuesday, MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt blamed the President for “the deaths of American citizens in Puerto Rico” and feared the commander-in-chief would start a nuclear war that would cost “hundreds of thousands of American lives.”</p>

Aghast MSNBC Host: Golfing With Trump Is ‘Kim Jong-Un Type Antics’

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:11
<p>An appalled Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday derided the revelation that Lindsey Graham golfed with Donald Trump and had the temerity to apparently enjoy it. After the preface that Graham is “one of the Senate Republicans most outspoken when it comes to criticizing President Trump,” she marveled, “This blew my mind. He just played a round of golf with the President and felt the need to tweet about what a great job he did.” </p>

Georgia School Tests Middle School Kids on Different Gender Identities

The Stream - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 15:33

A Georgia middle school is facing criticism from a parent after a teacher reportedly quizzed a sixth grade class on the different gender identities.

Octavia Parks, the mother of 12-year-old girl at Lithonia Middle School, said her daughter informed her of the health class quiz when she came home from school in October, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.

The quiz, according to a picture obtained by the outlet, shows students were reportedly asked to fill in the blanks for statements like "A person who is attracted to men is," "A person who is attracted to men and women is" and "A person who identifies as a woman is."

Parks said she immediately signed a consent form that would take her daughter out of the class after she learned of the quiz.

"We're talking about a sixth grader who still watches Nickelodeon. I'm not ready to explain what these words are nor what they mean," Parks said, adding "Why are they teaching that in school? What does that have to do with life?"

The DeKalb County School District said it would be investigating the quiz and make a decision based on its investigation. The district has not confirmed whether the quiz was part of the official school district curriculum.

"DCSD has been made aware of this alleged event, and is working to verify its authenticity. We will investigate this event and take action, as appropriate, once that investigation is completed," the school district said in a statement.

A Virginia middle school recently came under fire after two teachers had students participate in a class exercise where they asked students to answer questions on whether trans people should serve in the military and whether the students supported abortion. The school district promptly apologized for the exercise, calling it "inappropriate."


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Wow: CNN Condemns ‘Double Standard’ For Dems, 'Unconscionable' Silence From Clinton, Obama on Weinstein

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 15:29
<p>Tuesday morning on CNN’s three hour long program <em>New Day</em>, anchors Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo surprisingly held Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama’s feet to the fire, after many on the left noted the two leaders silence over the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal that broke last Friday. </p>

Fixing College Sports: Some Unlikely but Honest Alternatives

The Stream - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 15:02

My Dad first purchased Husky football season tickets in the early 1960s. As a UW family -- siblings, nephews, in-laws and I have all attended or graduated from "the U-Dub" -- we've spent countless hours at Husky Stadium and Hec Edmundson (basketball) Pavilion. And had some great times at other stadiums and arenas where the Purple and Gold have shown their colors, too.

Through the Huskies, I came to know and love the PAC-8. Then the PAC-10. And now the PAC-12. I remember seeing the future NBA great James Edwards plodding up and down the court, thinking that the gangly freshman would never amount to much. I remember hearing legendary coach Don James, at a booster lunch, say he had a new young quarterback who was learning to throw in pads. He was future Hall of Famer Warren Moon.

Professionalizing is a Terrible Idea

So, it has been with growing chagrin that, with millions of other college sports fans, I've watched the NCAA, at least in Divisions I and II, descend into virtual professionalism. The term "scholar-athlete" hardly has even a tinge of integrity in big college basketball and football. And the education which the young men and women who play big college sports came to obtain is, for many of them, more a bother than a privilege. 

Some are for throwing in the towel and outright professionalizing college athletics. Remove the veneer of amateurism, they say, and let young people play on behalf of various universities for pay. College sports would more openly be a vast network of pro-sports farm teams. This, they say, would alleviate the phony student/sportsmen lie.

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This is a terrible idea. First, many young men and women still play college sports out of love of the game. Or the rush of donning the uniform. Or the camaraderie of teammates.  Or the glory of the moment. And other reasons unrelated to the business enterprise that large college sports have become.

The NCAA's website notes that "Nearly half a million college athletes make up the 19,500 teams that send more than 54,000 participants to compete each year in the NCAA's 90 championships in 24 sports across 3 divisions." The vast majority of these young men and women will never don a pro uniform. They will never make a dime from pro sports. They deserve greater respect than predatory commercialization.

Big Money and College Sports: Disturbing Mix

No one should think that professionalizing college athletics would prevent corruption. Corporatizing college sports would only accelerate debauchery. Does anyone really think that providing a lavish lifestyle to young men and women, living on their own and with head-inflating money and glamour, would not create serious problems? It would be like teaching a bunch of four-year-olds how to play Russian roulette. 

Big money and big college sports are a disturbing mix. As Oliver Stanley reports in Quartz:

Texas A&M spent $485 million to expand its football stadium to seat 102,733, according to the New York Times. The renovation was funded in part by donors who collectively paid $125 million for the rights to rent 12 luxury suites for seven or eight home games a year.

There's no way to stop this kind of thing other than, perhaps, by shaming these mega-universities that deny entry to financially struggling students. Or maybe approaching high-end donors and asking them to pay for a kid's tuition so he won't leave college tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

The most recent scandal involving the legendary Kentucky basketball coach Rick Pitino and a host of lesser luminaries only vindicates the Apostle Paul's warning that the love of money (and, for that matter, winning at any cost) is a root of all kinds of evil. 

In-State Recruitment and Coach Salary Caps

What to do, then?

First, the NCAA should require all colleges and universities to recruit from in-state. This would make some teams much less competitive, others much more so. So what? By limiting recruiting within a state's borders, the fans would know they are cheering the home team in fact, not just imagination.

Sure, people can move from state-to-state, gaining new residency status. But if the limitation I've just suggested included a mandate that potential players must have graduated from a high school within the state of the college or university recruiting them, the limit would be enforceable.

Additionally, college coaches should have salary caps. These should be developed by the NCAA and be based on the size of the school for which they coach. No coach should be paid more than $200,000 and outside income -- of any kind -- should be limited to a maximum of $50,000.

Does anyone really think that providing young men and women with head-inflating money would not create serious problems?

Finally, no coach or player should be allowed to accept any money from any sports equipment manufacturer. If Adidas or Nike want to give the team shoes, great. But no payments to any individual for the use of any sports equipment. Period. If a college wanted to accept money from such a corporation to have their teams use certain types of footwear, clothing, etc., fine. And if corporate America wants to pay for new or upgraded stadiums, arenas, swimming facilities or whatever, great. But no payments to individuals associated with the teams themselves.

This is not a comprehensive list of all the reforms needed, but it's a start.  Are these things likely in the near term? Nope. But as the classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington reminds us, lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

Maybe not the only ones. But, in this case, certainly a worthy one.

By the way, as of this writing, the 2017 Husky football team is now 6-0. Just sayin' ...

What’s the Difference Between Man and Dog?

The Stream - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 14:52

A while ago a human-interest story from South Africa was reported internationally. As described in the Wall Street Journal:

On Aug. 4, Graham and Sheryl Anley, while yachting off the coast of South Africa, hit a reef, capsizing their boat. As the boat threatened to sink and they scrambled to get off, Sheryl’s safety line snagged on something, trapping her there. Instead of freeing his wife and getting her to shore, Graham grabbed Rosie, their Jack Russell terrier. (One media account reported that Sheryl had insisted that the dog go first). With Rosie safe and sound, Graham returned for Sheryl. All are doing fine.

Dog or Stranger?

Since the 1970s, I have asked students if they would first try to save their drowning dog or a drowning stranger. And for 40 years I have received the same results: One third vote for their dog, one third for the stranger, and one third don’t know what they would do.

In the Wall Street Journal column, Robert M. Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, reported about another such experiment:

A recent paper by Richard Topolski at George Regents University and colleagues, published in the journal Anthrozoos, demonstrates this human involvement with pets to a startling extent. Participants in the study were told a hypothetical scenario in which a bus is hurtling out of control, bearing down on a dog and a human. Which do you save? With responses from more than 500 people, the answer was that it depended: What kind of human and what kind of dog?

Everyone would save a sibling, grandparent or close friend rather than a strange dog. But when people considered their own dog versus people less connected with them -- a distant cousin or a hometown stranger -- votes in favor of saving the dog came rolling in. And an astonishing 40 percent of respondents, including 46 percent of women, voted to save their dog over a foreign tourist.

To his credit, Professor Sapolsky is not pleased with these results. He concludes:

We can extend empathy to another organism and feel its pain like no other species. But let’s not be too proud of ourselves. As this study and too much of our history show, we’re pretty selective about how we extend our humaneness to other human beings.

So, then, the most important question for human beings to ask is how we teach ourselves to “extend our humaneness to other human beings.”

Or, to pose the question within the framework of the dog-stranger question: How do we convince people to save a human being they do not know rather than the dog they do know and love?

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There is only one way.

In God’s Image

We need to teach -- as we did throughout American history until the 1960s -- that human beings are created in God’s image and animals are not. That is the only compelling reason to save a human being you don’t love before the dog you do love.

What we have here is the classic tension between feelings and values -- or, more precisely, between feelings and revelation (i.e., divinely revealed values).

All of us feel more for a being we love than for a being we don’t know, let alone love. Therefore something must supersede our feelings. That something must be values. But these values must be perceived as emanating from something higher than us; higher than our opinions, higher than our faculty of reason, and even higher than our conscience.

And that higher source is God.

Once again, let us be clear: There is no compelling reason to save the stranger first, except for the assertion that human life is infinitely precious, and infinitely more precious than that of animal life. Even those who vote to save their dog first live by this assertion. After all, nearly all of them are meat eaters: They have others kill animals for their culinary pleasure, but they would never countenance killing humans for their culinary pleasure. It is only when their heart gets involved that they abandon their belief that the value of human life is greater than that of animal life.

Without revelation, we cannot know what is right (we can have opinions and beliefs about morality but not moral knowledge). And even if we could know what is right without revelation, our feelings too often overwhelm that knowledge.

I, too, love my dogs. But I believe that God demands I save any of you first.

The results of all these polls provide examples of the terrible moral price we pay thinking that secularism is as good a guide to moral behavior as revelation.

If you don’t believe me, pose the dog-stranger question to 10 people who believe Genesis is divine writ and 10 people who believe the Bible is written entirely by men.

When you tally the results, you will feel safer swimming among religious Jews and Christians.


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


Media on Columbus Day: Hey Italian-Americans, Your Hero was a ‘Vicious Incompetent’

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 14:43
<p>Monday was Columbus Day (“Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in more virtuous liberal enclaves). While the network evening news shows kept what we can only imagine was an embarrassed silence about the day and the man, the old Italian navigator took the expected beating in the lefty press.</p>

Some Say GOP Tax Plan Would Raise Taxes. Here’s What They’re Missing.

The Stream - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 14:20

Since the release of the GOP's long-awaited tax reform plan, a flurry of commentators have criticized it, saying it is a regressive plan that will raise taxes on a sizable portion of Americans.

What they often fail to mention is that their estimates depend on details of the plan that have yet to be released. As it turns out, different assumptions about those details can dramatically alter the projections of who gets a tax cut under the GOP plan.

For a vast majority of Americans, the main changes they would experience from the plan would be to their income tax rate, the standard deduction, the personal and dependent exemption, and the Child Tax Credit.

So what do we know about how the GOP plan will affect these variables?

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1. It would lower individual tax rates.

The GOP's framework would lower rates and consolidate tax brackets for individuals. The three new income tax brackets (down from seven) are 12, 25, and 35 percent, but the framework does not specify what the income thresholds will be.

The plan also mentions that an additional fourth top rate may be added.

2. It would double the standard deduction.

The framework would almost double the standard deduction. It would do so by collapsing the additional standard deduction and personal exemptions into the one larger deduction available to everyone.

For married joint filers the deduction would be $24,000, and for single filers it would be $12,000. This means taxes would become much easier for many people because they won't need to itemize or check frivolous boxes.

3. It would expand the Child Tax Credit.

The framework would repeal the personal exemption for dependents, "significantly increase" the Child Tax Credit, and increase the income limits at which the credit currently begins to phase out.

The framework gives no further details on these items.

Taken together, it is still uncertain how these changes will ultimately alter any individual or family's tax liability. There are other proposed reforms that could also interact with these changes, but that hasn't stopped commentators from projecting winners and losers.

Other analyses have simply mapped the current tax brackets on to the new rates so that the current 15 percent bracket would now pay 12 percent, the current 25 and 28 percent brackets make up the new 25 percent bracket, and the 33-39.6 percent brackets are consolidated into the 35 percent bracket.

These assumptions are often biased. They keep many Americans paying the same tax rate and actually project an increase in some people's rate. It's very unlikely that these conservative lawmakers intend to do that.

If we assume different income thresholds that are entirely reasonable, we find very different results.

One could, for instance, raise the new income thresholds by 15 percent so that more people would pay a lower tax rate. Lower taxes are, after all, a key stated goal of the plan.

Using The Heritage Foundation Individual Income Tax Model, we estimated what these changes -- along with the other details released thus far -- would mean for taxpayers. In particular, we modeled:

15 percent higher income thresholds for the new brackets. Doubling of the standard deduction. Elimination of all personal exemptions.

With these three changes, some of our modeled income groups would end up paying slightly more in taxes because the lower rates and higher standard deductions don't fully compensate for getting rid of the dependent exemption.

But increasing the Child Tax Credit by a modest $100 flips all of our income groups into the black. And that's even without increasing the credit's income limits.

Pairing this with the new larger standard deduction and lower tax rates, most families would end up paying less in taxes than they currently do. In fact, every income group would pay a lower tax bill.

Those households with adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $125,000, for example, would see a significant drop in their tax bill of about 6 percent.

Those with adjusted gross income below $50,000 would receive the smallest tax savings because they already pay very little in taxes. However, the Child Tax Credit would likely increase by $500 or more, which would largely benefit this group.

Moreover, other changes to state and local tax deductions and other provisions would likely shift some of the gains for upper-income earners toward middle- and lower-income earners.

(Of course, it is near impossible to enact pro-growth tax reform without some positive benefits for the individuals and small business that pay the majority of taxes, and the top 5 percent of taxpayers pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes.)

These are perfectly reasonable assumptions to make about the details of the GOP plan, given the political promises that have been made. Tax cuts for middle-class Americans are going to be real.

There are also several other possible changes that would alter our analysis, such as eliminating the state and local tax and municipal bond interest deductions (along with some other itemized deductions), creating the newly proposed nonrefundable credit of $500 for non-child dependent care, and nixing the alternative minimum tax.

Regardless of whether these changes occur, the GOP plan makes a huge stride in expanding the standard deduction. Given that 70 percent of Americans already take this deduction, our results show that the GOP plan may very likely result in a tax cut for Americans across the board.


Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. 

Rachel Greszler is a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read her research.

Copyright 2017 The Daily Signal

Sarah Silverman: ‘F**king Ashamed’ of Cops and ‘White Privilege’

NewsBusters - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 14:06
<p>Sarah Silverman is trying to reinvent herself as nonpartisan and a great bridge builder. However, she is incapable of doing anything other than spewing vulgar trash.</p>


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