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Military Photo of the Day: Marine Firing Line

The Stream - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 08:00

“Marine firing line somewhere between Hagaru-ri and Yudam-ni.” November, 1950

From the Oliver P. Smith Collection (COLL/213), Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections

 

 

 

 

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Let’s restart the adoption movement - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 02:00

Giving to charity makes you happier, healthier and even richer.

That’s what I found in my research for a book I was writing back in 2003. Data clearly showed that giving and volunteering have a positive impact on givers’ health, wealth and life satisfaction — especially when we can see the faces of the people we are helping. Was this the secret to building a better life and happier world?

Excited by these findings, I discussed them with my wife, Ester. Always practical, she suggested that we put my research to the test in our own lives. “I just read that there are millions of abandoned little girls in China,” she said. “I think we should adopt one of them.”

My immediate response: “Hey, it’s only a book!”

Many people are anxious about adoption, although the source of those anxieties has changed over the decades. In a study in the 1980s, the sociologist Charlene E. Miall surveyed a large group of childless women. Many of the interviewees reported a widespread perception that the lack of biological ties must hurt the parent-child bond. They feared that society saw adopted children as second-rate, and adoptive parents as not “real” parents.

But today the most common concerns about adoption have shifted from cultural worries to financial and logistical ones. According to the National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, by 2013 the top two of eight potential concerns for those considering adoption were coping with paperwork and expense.

This shift in concerns is excellent news, however, because it means the government can help provide solutions. That is what President George W. Bush sought to do when he signed a 2001 bill raising the maximum adoption tax credit to $10,000 from $5,000 to help offset what often costs families three times that amount, especially those adopting from abroad.

Foreign adoptions by American families were already increasing in 2001, and with an assist from the new policy, the number hit a high in 2004. According to the State Department, 22,884 children were adopted that year from overseas, compared with almost 6,000 a year in the early 1980s and about 16,000 in 1999.

Like thousands of others in that wave, and over my initial objections, Ester and I started the process of adopting a child from China. That meant we would be adding a daughter to our brood, because girls made up 95 percent of the Chinese children who were waiting to be adopted.

In the summer of 2004, along with nine other families, I boarded a plane to China to pick up our daughter from an orphanage in Fujian Province. While the rest of the group was made up of couples, I was traveling alone. One of us had to stay back with our young children, and Ester was not yet an American citizen (and thus could not legally execute the adoption).

To complicate matters, I had been warned by the orphanage that our 16-month-old daughter — whom I had never seen, except in a grainy photo sent a couple of weeks earlier — was especially shy and afraid of men. They told me not to be surprised if she panicked as soon as she saw me; she typically screamed in fear any time a man entered the orphanage.

When the moment of truth came, my name was called, I entered the room, and a Chinese official plopped a baby into my arms. I braced myself, and — nothing happened. She didn’t cry. She didn’t scream. She just held onto my shirt with her tiny fists and stared up at my face. To me it was as if we had been together since the moment of her birth.

Back in the United States with our new daughter, Ester and I felt we were part of a foreign adoption movement. We were sure that enlightened public policy would continue to loosen regulations, which would make for more and more miracles like ours. Blended international families of choice were the wave of the future, we thought, and a reflection of an increasingly shared belief in a radical solidarity that transcended borders and biology.

We were wrong. The year we adopted turned out to be the high-water mark in foreign adoptions and the number has dropped ever since. By 2016 it had fallen 77 percent from its peak, to 5,372. This is the lowest total in three and half decades.

What happened? The answer is not a lack of need. Indeed, according to the Christian Alliance for Orphans, there are more than 15 million children around the world who have lost both of their parents.

Part of the reason is the policies of foreign governments, which have made foreign adoption harder, both for both nationalistic reasons and because of worries about corruption and human trafficking. Our own government has contributed as well: Foreign adoption plunged all through the Obama administration as the State Department imposed new hurdles in the name of curbing abuses, which are a significant worry for parents adopting from some countries (although not China, where virtually all the children, like my daughter, were abandoned at birth).

Motivated by good intentions or not, these changes have left thousands of orphans unadopted. This is too high a price to pay for bureaucratic screw-tightening.

Meanwhile, while it may or may not materially affect the foreign-adoption statistics, adoption has been vilified by the political fringes in the United States. Alt-right social media light up with attacks on transracial adoption. And some on the far left attack “the propaganda put out by the mega-billion-dollar adoption industry that there are thousands of orphans ‘languishing’ in orphanages waiting to be rescued or saved.” Big Adoption, corporate villain.

Today, my daughter is a freshman in high school. She spends too much time on Instagram but is killing it in her classes. And what about our giving experiment? In truth, I don’t know or care what my daughter has done for my income or health. But my happiness? It spikes every time she looks at me and I remember the magic day we met.

That’s something more dads, moms and especially kids deserve in this unhappy world.

Fake Fact Check: Politifact Rates Obviously Satirical Bergdahl Entry 'Pants on Fire'

NewsBusters - Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:43
<p>Boy, it's a good thing that Google and Facebook have enlisted "fact checkers" like the Associated Press, Snopes, and Politifact to vet questionable stories appearing in their news feeds. </p>

Stelter Frets ‘Stupid’ Mistakes in Media Are ‘Amplified by Some Right-Wing Outlets’ to Discredit the Press

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:52
<p>CNN’s <em>Reliable Sources</em> host Brian Stelter invited on HLN’s <em>S.E. Unfiltered</em> host S.E. Cupp for an illuminating 22-minute podcast released Friday dealing with conservative distrust in the news media. It featured solid points by Cupp and complaints by Stelter that mistakes in the media have unfairly been “amplified by some right-wing outlets as if the entire press is culpable.” </p>

CNN, News One Now Ignore Black Police Officer Murdered in Baltimore

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:48
<p>After a black police officer was murdered in Baltimore yesterday while approaching a criminal suspect, the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts all informed their viewers of the tragic event, with the <em>NBC Nightly News</em> even running a full report of nearly two minutes. This morning, <em>CBS This Morning</em> and FNC's <em>Fox and Friends</em> also ran briefs on Officer Sean Suiter's death.</p>

Flashback: 'Lion of the Senate' Ted Kennedy's Weird Sex Antics Widely Known

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 21:44
<p>The sudden condemnation of sexual harrassment by Democrats within their own ranks rings a bit hollow especially due to the suspicious timing. It now seems as more of a way for Democrats to go after President Donald Trump or Judge Roy Moore of Alabama rather than sincere disgust at the sexual antics of people such as former President Bill Clinton or Senator Al Franken.</p> <p>One glaring example proves this point. Remember the man hailed by liberals and the mainstream media as the "Lion of the Senate," Ted Kennedy? His truly bizarre, off the wall, sexual harrassment antics were widely known long before he passed away in 2009 yet there was no condemnation of him and, of course, no call for him to leave the Senate. <em>GQ</em> magazine wrote about the "waitress sandwich" incident involving both Kennedy and fellow senator Chris Dodd in their February 1990 edition which was reprinted on April 14, 2016. It reveals in excruciating detail the extremely humiliating sexual harrassment of a waitress yet no liberal voice was raised against Kennedy (or Dodd) even though the incident was common knowledge:</p>

Fox Host Demands Apology From Columnist Who Called Her ‘Blonde Barbie’

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 21:39
<p>Women’s sites were in an uproar when Texas politician Wendy Davis was likened to “Barbie.” But when a columnist called women at Fox News the same, they kept quiet.</p>

CBS, NBC Hype ‘Controversy’ and ‘Cloud of Suspicion’ Over Museum of the Bible

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:47
<p>Fearing that America was one step closer to becoming a theocracy with the opening of the privately-funded Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C., on Thursday and Friday, <em>CBS This Morning</em> and NBC’s <em>Today</em> hyped the supposed “controversy” swirling around the institution, even claiming that a “cloud of suspicion” hung over the building as it opened its doors.</p>

Singer Joy Villa Declares ‘Abortion Is Murder’ on Twitter

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:19
<p>Hollywood entertainers routinely flock to promote abortion and Planned Parenthood, but one artist is breaking with the trend. Singer and songwriter Joy Villa recently confirmed she’s with the pro-life movement. On Nov. 15, the self-described #1 Billboard recording artist tweeted out against abortion and in support of adoption.</p>

Being Shoved Into Meaninglessness

The Stream - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 18:00

I’m an advocate of higher education and all, but so much for assuming that the development of common sense and sound judgment are part of the package.

A Pew Research Center poll found that 77 percent of Democrats with a bachelor’s degree or more believe a person’s gender can be different from the sex they were “assigned at birth.” You’ll remember that Democrats are the party of science, and Republicans the Neanderthal science-deniers.

First we have to ask ourselves why in the world it would occur to anyone of any gender at any time or any place even to conduct such a survey. It would be like surveying people to find if they believe ears are for hearing or eyes for seeing.

It would be disturbing enough if only 77 percent of Democrats with this level of education thought gender is determined biologically. But 23 percent? That’s a whole new level of weird -- unless you define “weird” as being outside the mainstream. What’s weird is how weird the mainstream has become -- at least on the political left. This doesn’t speak well for higher education in this country, does it? Then again, you wouldn’t be surprised if you had seen the core curricula of America’s “great” universities -- and many of the required reading assignments in the classes.

Common Goals?

I watched an interesting video of a young conservative from a liberal family explaining why he could dialogue with liberals and still love them because we all share common goals. It is leftists, he said, who don’t even share our goals anymore, and it is very difficult to find any common ground with them.

I thought to myself when watching the video, “Yes, we do share some of the same goals: less crime, less poverty, etc., but increasingly the mainstream Democratic Party is embracing or strongly enabling certain extremist ideas. There is just no denying that the party has lurched leftward.”

Reading these poll results, sadly, tends to validate my concerns, which is not something I’m happy about. How can a significant percentage of people of any respected group, much less of the higher-educated subset of that group, be so wrongheaded? People urging bipartisanship should explain how we find common ground with such stunningly different worldviews.

I’m hoping this chasm is partially due to the phrasing of the survey questions or fear of political correctness policing -- but still, it’s seriously problematic.

Biological Reality

I don’t doubt, by the way, that some very small fraction of a percentage of people sense they are trapped in their bodies and feel more like the opposite biological gender. I recently talked to such a person and am sure he was sincere. He has always felt like he should have been born a female. Note that he fully acknowledges, however, that he wasn’t. He doesn’t dispute the biological reality.

So I have no inclination to judge such people. If they feel opposite their biological gender, they do. It’s above my pay-grade to fully understand this. But I think we’re dealing with something more than this. Cultural activism is at work here.

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Just look at the language the Pew survey uses to address these ideas: A human being’s gender is “assigned at birth.” You surely don’t believe this language is accidental, do you?

To have an assignment there must be an assignor. If they mean God, or even nature, I’d have no quarrel, but it’s clear they are talking about human agents (doctors or other health care providers) as assignors. This suggests some arbitrariness in the determination, or at least something that is subject to question.

It is not subject to question. Absent some biological aberration we are born either male or female, and no amount of linguistic manipulation can alter that reality, even though it obviously alters some people’s perception of the reality.

The Left’s Agenda

Yes, there is certainly an agenda at work here; with the left everything is political. There is an effort to normalize that which is not normal, which introduces uncertainty into things certain. We have not evolved, but are being pushed headlong into moral relativism and further into post-modernism and beyond, where there is no such thing as truth and reality is just a function of the individual’s preference.

This is moral chaos, intellectual chaos and biological chaos. It is nihilism. If truth is no longer defined as that which corresponds with reality, we have completely untethered ourselves from our foundations of meaning and significance. Parents with any remaining affinity for traditional values must surely be concerned about what we are bequeathing our children.

I’m not citing these ominous trends to score political points, and I acknowledge they are not solely the fault of just one political party, though they are disproportionately prevalent in that party. This is a societal and cultural problem that has polluted downstream political waters.

Indeed, these developments transcend politics. At the risk of subjecting myself to anti-Christian scoffing, I believe we are in the throes of spiritual warfare, which is one reason I’m not attempting to unduly demonize people falling prey to it. I used not to believe in the devil, but that was then, and this is now. I have no other rational explanation for morality and truth routinely being turned on their very heads -- for right being considered wrong, and unreality masquerading as reality. Satan is the first and great deceiver, and many people, most of them unwittingly, are being deceived.

Pray for America. Pray for mankind.

 

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is The True Jesus: Uncovering the Divinity of Christ in the Gospels. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. 

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM

Three Bad Arguments against Life Beginning at Conception

The Stream - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:51

A recent article on Romper argues "3 Ways Science Proves Life Doesn't Begin at Conception." The arguments are not good ones. To begin with, the author is not really arguing that embryonic humans are not alive (this is clear, since she also argues we should be allowed to kill them). Rather, she's arguing that these reasons prove embryonic human beings are not valuable human life.

The arguments are: 1) many embryos die, 2) many embryos have genetic abnormalities, and 3) embryos can't survive without receiving sustenance from another human being. To test whether her reasons prove embryonic human beings are not valuable, I've slightly adjusted the words of the three points in her article in order to apply her value-determining principles to newborns. Since we're not used to hearing these arguments made about newborns, you'll hear them with fresh ears, which should provide some clarity.

See if you find them convincing.

A Newborn Can Turn into a Toddler -- But That Doesn't Mean It Will

Regardless of your viewpoint regarding newborns, it does make some sense that anti-infanticide advocates consider birth as the beginning of life. Once a baby is born, it has the chance to eventually grow into a toddler, who theoretically could become capable and self-aware and, thus, would be considered a person with all the associated rights. But as ethicists promoting after-birth abortion have pointed out, birth shouldn't be considered the beginning of life, because, well, biology is much more complicated and flawed than our ideological opinions might like it to be.

Protecting the rights of newborns might seem like a good way to ensure they grow into toddlers, but the idea doesn't even sort of align with the medical reality. Why? Because there are newborns that never become toddlers, but instead die in various, natural ways.

Many Complications Can (And Often Do) Occur between Birth and Childhood

Then there's the fact that, while we may prefer to think of birth as a beautiful time in which a human being grows and flourishes without issue, something often goes wrong. Early deaths occur, sometimes due to nothing more than a chromosomal mixup. And as upsetting as that can be, it's ultimately just a reality of the human body.

Complicating matters further, though, is that significant genetic abnormalities or other complications don't always result in the death of the baby. In these cases, killing the baby can be the medically-advised option. But a definition of life beginning at birth can change what would otherwise be considered the best medical option, as the baby would have to be allowed to live, regardless of the outcome.

Without the Mother, the Newborn Wouldn't Survive

Perhaps the most obvious argument against the idea of life beginning at birth, though, is that it takes a long time after birth before that newborn will have become a child capable of obtaining food and water on its own. In many cases, this happens around two or three years. Babies who are just born still need quite extensive intervention to live.

It's not exactly news that a baby can't survive on its own, but it's actually a very important distinction from a technical standpoint. If a baby needs another person's bodily actions in order to live, then it means that person is essentially lending her body to the baby to allow it to survive. Again, that baby might eventually be able to be a human being existing in the world independently, but for a long while, it is entirely dependent on another person's body to sustain it. While making birth the beginning of life might be helpful for anti-infanticide advocacy, it unnecessarily infringes on the rights of adult humans, who could then be expected to continue to use their bodies to care for a growing baby.

Infanticide has always been an incredibly controversial topic, and it's unlikely that that will change anytime soon. But ideological notions of protecting babies from "murder" just don't align with what science and medicine knows to be true: that there isn't much about making birth the beginning of life that is actually helpful or valuable.

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It hope all this sounds horrifying to you. In the original article, the author applied these arguments to embryonic human beings. But as you can see, they could just as easily be applied to newborns since newborns are also dependent and vulnerable. Therefore, if her arguments did not convince you newborn humans are not valuable human beings, then neither should they convince you embryonic humans are not valuable human beings. The reasons she offers are simply not relevant to a human being's value.  

Originally published on Stand To Reason on November 16, 2017. Republished with permission.

In 1 Chart, the Differences Between the House and Senate Tax Reform Bills

The Stream - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:34

The House has now passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate is still working on the final details of its reform package. The Senate plan improves on the House bill in many places and misses important opportunities elsewhere. Here are the differences you need to know about:

 

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Copyright 2017 The Daily Signal

 

The Undefeated: Whites Oppose NFL Protests, Favor 'Show Dancing and Cooning'

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:15
<p>Though the NFL and team owners did zilch to stop pregame protests during the national anthem this season, <em>The Undefeated</em> blog's senior writer Lonnae O'Neal insists politicians, business leaders and NFL leadership have reached "peak freak-out about players tackling racism and police brutality during the national anthem."</p>

From North Korea to Venezuela to Zimbabwe: When terrible government destroys a country - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:14

It’s especially compelling when reality makes your economic and and political points vividly clear and intellectually inescapable. Nothing like a natural experiment to drive a message home.

Unfortunately, the fellow traveler in these cases is sometimes vast human misery. At unification, West German living standards were more than twice those in the communist East (and are still a third higher despite $2 trillion in fiscal transfers over the years). Venezuela shows what happens when full authoritarian populism gets put into action. And who hasn’t seen the stark image of the two Koreas at night, the prosperity of the South glowing brightly.

Then there’s the case of Zimbabwe, which just saw a coup removing dictator Robert Mugabe after nearly four decades in power. From The Economist:

There are two morals to draw from Mr Mugabe’s long, ignominious career. The first is that bad policies, corruptly implemented, can wreck a country with alarming speed and go on wrecking it long after you would have thought there was nothing left. Venezuela has little in common with Zimbabwe culturally, but has also achieved disastrous results by embracing a Latin version of Mugabenomics. By contrast, Botswana, Zimbabwe’s culturally similar but well-governed neighbour, was roughly as rich in 1980 but is now seven times richer.

See also:

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski Condemns Sexual ‘Predator’ Bill Clinton

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 17:02
<p>Twenty five years after he first ran for president, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on Friday lashed out at Bill Clinton, assailing the Democrat as a sexual “predator” who ruined the lives of women. The <em>Morning Joe</em> co-host, who didn’t wait two decades to go after Donald Trump, attacked: “There are cases where the predator flourished and continued to be the president of the United States. I'm talking about Bill Clinton.” </p>

The outlines of Trump’s Asia strategy - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:47

During its long and eventful trip, the Trump Administration laid down important markers as it fashions its strategic approach to Asia. While North Korea is the most urgent issue the region faces, strategic competition with China is the most important. On the former count, Trump is working with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to develop a long-term approach that contains and rolls back the threat. On the latter count, Trump began to outline his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The anchor of a “grand strategy” for Asia is Japan. President Trump and Prime Minister Abe enjoy a warm relationship akin to that between George W. Bush and Jun’ichiro Koizumi. If the two stay close, the visions they outlined have a real chance of succeeding.

North Korea

The first order of business for the United States and Japan was solidifying their common approach to North Korea. While “maximum pressure” appears to be affecting both North Korea and China, the policy needs more time. Many more Chinese and North Korean individuals and entities need to be sanctioned, and Beijing must see that its worst fears of a full-blown trilateral alliance between Tokyo, Seoul, and Washington will become a reality. At the same time, the Japanese and the Americans have to agree on possible strategic end states for the peninsula and on reactions to a host of contingencies should North Korea decide to use force.

You can read the full article here at The American Interest.

Yemen: Would breaking up the country end the civil war? | In 60 seconds - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:25

 

Before 1990, Yemen was two countries. As a civil war wages, will peace be achieved by dividing the country into northern and southern halves? AEI Research Fellow Katherine Zimmerman offers her analysis.

Rob Reiner: Trump Is A ‘Bowel Movement’ to ‘American Public’

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:18
<p>Meathead has returned again (does he ever really go away?) to tell the people all about President Trump.</p> <p><br /> As part of his major interview tour to raise publicity for his new film, <em>LBJ</em>, director Rob Reiner made an appearance on November 14 on <em>The Jim Jefferies Show</em> on Comedy Central to add two more cents to his stance on Trump, <em>All in the Family</em>, and sex harassment scandals. As if people needed to know more than what he’s already said.</p>

Gag-Me Gift: Joe Scarborough to Release Trump-Mocking Christmas Songs

NewsBusters - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:18
<p>MSNBC's Joe Scarborough is doing a Trump-trashing Christmas album -- or EP, meaning "not enough songs for a real album." It's called <em>A Very Drumpf Christmas</em>, with cover art making Donald Trump into the Grinch. It brings to mind the old Norm McDonald <em>Saturday Night </em>Live mockery of Kenny G Christmas records: "Happy birthday, Jesus! Hope you like crap!"</p>

Congressional Office of Compliance Releases Breakdown of Harassment Settlements

The Stream - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:39

The Congressional Office Of Compliance (OOC) released a year-by-year breakdown Wednesday of harassment settlements, including how much money was awarded to victims throughout the past decade.

The OCC said it decided to release the information regarding payment of awards and settlements regarding all types of harassment due to the mass amounts of recent inquiries. In the released statement, OCC executive director Susan Tsui Grundmann explained that these cases originate from multiple offices inside of the legislative branch, other than the House or the Senate.

"Based on the volume of recent inquiries regarding payment of awards and settlements reached under the CAA, I am releasing these figures beginning with Fiscal Year 1997, up to and including FY 2017," Grundmann wrote. "A large portion of cases originate from employing offices in the legislative branch other than the House of Representatives or the Senate, and involve various statutory provisions incorporated by the CAA, such as the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act."

The breakdown shows more than $17 million spent on settling harassment claims throughout the past decade.

The Office of Compliance has released settlement details for fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017 pic.twitter.com/gnbfH7YtK1

— Jennifer Shutt (@JenniferShutt) November 16, 2017

Congressional Office of Compliance releases year-by-year breakdown of harassment settlements and awards: pic.twitter.com/vxbezi22wb

— Reid Wilson (@PoliticsReid) November 16, 2017

In the newly released breakdown, harassment payouts averaged almost $400,000 per victim in 2002. In 2017, there has been nearly $1 million in payouts amongst eight victims.

The OCC's release of harassment settlements comes as various congressional staffers have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and groping from lawmakers, adding to the cascade of women coming forward against powerful men.

The release also comes the same day that Minnesota Sen. Al Franken was accused of sexually harassing a news anchor multiple times during a USO entertainment tour in the Middle East in 2006.

 

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