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US Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles Accuses Physician of Sexual Abuse

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:11

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles came forward with her own #MeToo story, alleging a gymnastics doctor sexually abused her, in a Monday statement.

Biles accused former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexually abusing her, saying it might be unexpected for people to hear as she is usually known as an "energetic" girl.

"I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper," Biles tweeted in a statement Monday. "There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault."

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Biles joins female gymnasts Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, among others who have also accused Nassar of sexual abuse. Nassar was recently sentenced to 60 years in prison for a federal child pornography charge in December 2017. He will face anther sentencing for sexual misconduct charges within the next week.

"For too long I've asked myself 'Was I too naive? Was it my fault?' I now know the answer to those questions," Biles said. "No. No, It wasn't my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG and others."

 

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Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Sheriff Serves His Community with Friends of NRA

NRA Blog - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:00
This New Mexico sheriff goes above and beyond in his dedication to promoting safety and...

First Hawaii, Now Japan Sending Fake Missile Alerts

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:58

Japan's national public broadcasting organization erroneously issued an emergency alert Tuesday signaling an imminent North Korean missile strike.

"North Korea appears to have launched a missile," Japan's national public broadcaster NHK announced Tuesday evening, "The government urges people to take shelter inside buildings or underground."

NHK was "deeply" apologetic after it mistakenly sent out the inaccurate emergency alert. The J-alert system, which broadcasts over televisions, to mobile phones, on the radio, and over loudspeakers, is set up to warn the Japanese people in the event of an attack. But, seeing as there was no missile, no alert should have been sent.

??6?55??NHK?????????NHK????????????????????????????????????????????????????J???????????????????????

— NHK@??? (@nhk_shutoken) January 16, 2018

Such an alert could be particularly alarming for a country that has seen North Korean ballistic missiles soar overhead multiple times in the past year.

NHK is investigating the situation.

NHK's mistake follows a more troubling incident in Hawaii in which the following message was sent to phones across the state by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency bright and early Saturday morning: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

It took 38 minutes for the disaster management team to reveal that this was a mistake. In that time, people huddled in basements with their loved ones, assuming that their lives might soon be over.

"You can only imagine what kicked in," Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard told CNN. "This is a real threat facing Hawaii, so people got this message on their phones and they thought, 15 minutes, we have 15 minutes before me and my family could be dead."

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While Hawaii was the first such incident this year, a similar incident happened in Guam last year at a time when North Korea was threatening to ring the island with "enveloping fire."

Two radio stations in Guam accidentally broadcast a civil danger warning in the middle of the night just one week after Pyongyang threatened the U.S. territory in an escalating war of words between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un that began with Trump's now famous "fire and fury" quote.

Unlike conventional warnings, a "civil danger warning" indicates a major threat to a large civilian population, such as a military attack on the island.

 

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Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

A New York Times Column Reminds Us How to Fight Abortion Most Effectively

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:42

She “felt like I was undercover behind enemy lines.” Staunch pro-choicer and California law professor Michelle Oberman had stepped into the kind of place she often criticizes: a pro-life crisis pregnancy center.

She discovered a place of compassion. And a challenge to pro-lifers.

What She Learned

Even though she wasn’t actually undercover, she felt like it, she wrote on The New York Times’ opinion page last week. She traveled to Oklahoma to better understand the pro-life movement, she explained. Birth Choice of Oklahoma invited her for a visit.

Many of Birth Choice’s clients come from abusive situations, addiction and poverty, she learned. The center helps them overcome basic hurdles, like finding prenatal care and registering for Medicaid.

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What really impressed Oberman was that Birth Choice goes ever further. How? With Rose Home. The shelter hosts “the most vulnerable of its clients” and their children.

“They have weekly meetings with caseworkers to articulate goals and plan their futures,” Oberman writes. And “they receive counseling, drug abuse treatment and vocational training. They get help making court dates, permitting them to regain custody of their children currently in foster care.”

The Crucial Work of Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Oberman seems to paint Birth Choice of Oklahoma as the exception to the rule of unhelpful, lie-spreading pro-life centers. She cites a 2006 congressional report commissioned by former Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman.

It claims that many federally-funded crisis pregnancy centers spread “misinformation.” For instance, workers told women that abortions could cause breast cancer, infertility and depression. (While some studies have shown a link between abortion and breast cancer, the general medical consensus is that there is none. But multiple abortions can lead to future pregnancy complications. And many post-abortive women suffer from Post Abortion Syndrome.)

We can’t focus all our efforts on passing the next bill rather than improving our local crisis pregnancy centers.

While it appears that some centers have cited false statistics to scare women, Birth Choice may not be as much of an exception as Oberman believes. Important crisis pregnancy centers exist all over the country. Many provide resources like counseling services, maternal classes and housing assistance.

But are enough crisis pregnancy centers offering these critical aids? Barbara Chishko, a founder of Birth Choice, doesn’t think so. She suggests that Rose Home is unique. She told Oberman many pro-life centers offer “no shelters, no clinical services.” She said they “just administer pregnancy tests and give out baby clothes. Just persuade women not to abort their babies.”

That’s the point for us. Not to get hung up over whether Oberman has a bad opinion of crisis pregnancy centers. (She already admitted that she does.) We must ask ourselves if we’re doing everything we can to extend practical help to pregnant women who need it most.

Why Many Women Abort

Why? Oberman gives us the answer: “One of the largest research studies on the question of why women choose abortion surveyed about 1,200 abortion patients and found 73 percent said they could not afford a baby at the time.”

On the pro-life side, we often paint the choice to abort as an inherently selfish one. We believe no circumstance, no matter how difficult, justifies one person taking the innocent life of another.

As Oberman points out, abortion is often the result of financial pressure. For women whose lives are falling apart, keeping the baby may actually feel more selfish than abortion. It’s not an option they feel excited about. But it may seem like their only one.

That’s why it’s our job as the pro-life community to show these women otherwise. Not simply by telling them, “you can do it!” But by doing it with them. By providing shelter, education, medical care and other basic needs. Such assistance will help both the woman and her baby survive and even thrive.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

At the end of her column, Oberman writes that “it will, at some level, always be cheaper for a woman to have an abortion than to have a baby.” She argues pro-lifers should help pregnant women economically. Not pass laws to “drive up the costs of abortion.”

Like most pro-lifers, I would argue that we still need to pass pro-life laws. The legislative victories achieved since Roe v. Wade have saved perhaps millions of lives. They should be celebrated.

But we can’t focus all our efforts on passing the next bill. We also need to focus a lot of our efforts on improving the way our local crisis pregnancy centers can help pregnant women. We can’t place all our hope in the possibility of Roe being overturned rather than investing in more pro-life women’s shelters. If we do, we’ve missed a huge opportunity to save lives -- not only the lives of the unborn but the lives of their mothers.

The Instant Pot and How Empathy is at the Core of Capitalism

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:48

You don't have to search far to read claims that capitalism is centered on greed and selfishness. For some, the assertion seems self-evident as they read, for example, stories of pharmaceutical companies dramatically increasing the price of important drugs. Those who hold a "capitalists are greedy" belief fail to distinguish between crony capitalists -- who make their money through subsidies, mandates and government restrictions on competition -- and entrepreneurs who make their money through fulfilling the most urgent needs of consumers.

The Instant Pot is a little story of how entrepreneurs unselfishly better our world. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or don’t cook, you are probably wondering what the fuss is about. If you have one, you know.

Without traditional advertising, Instant Pot has become a best-selling item on Amazon, selling 215,000 units on Amazon Prime Day. Bloomberg Magazine calls it a "magical pot."

The Wonders and Success of the Instant Pot

Reimagined for the 21st Century, the Instant Pot combines slow cooker and pressure cooker features and adds others. We have two Instant Pots on our kitchen counter; most days, we use both.

Meals with whole grains and beans are staples in our home. When our pressure cooker didn't seal, the meal was delayed. Scrubbing burnt pots was part of our routine. We assumed these frustrations were the price we paid for home cooking until the Instant Pot arrived. Dr. Robert Wang, the inventor of the Instant Pot, was certain there was a better way that only he could see.

In 2008, Dr. Wang, a Chinese immigrant to Canada with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, was laid off from his job. With $350,000 of his savings and two other engineers, he founded his company Double Insight. The future would hold profit or loss; they did not know. In 18 months, the Instant Pot was invented.

Give customers what they want, not what you have.

Wang seeks relentlessly to improve his invention. He has read all 39,000 Amazon customer product reviews. He relies on customer feedback to design an ever-better user experience and adds cooking prowess to each new generation of the product. Since he doesn't advertise, Wang credits his viral business success to product development and customer support.

Wang is following a rule of all successful entrepreneurs: Give customers what they want, not what you have. Customers didn't want another choice of traditional cookers, they wanted a gadget that could help them make nutritious home-cooked meals in much less time and a minimal learning curve. Yes, Dr. Wang created wealth for himself; but he did so by improving the lives of others, including a small economy of cookbook authors showing how to use the Instant Pot for every possible cuisine. Win-win.

Capitalist vs. Crony Capitalist

It is "crony" capitalists who seek to give the consumer what their company has and not what the consumer wants. Crony capitalists use government coercion to force the consumer to buy what they don't want. Ethanol-laced gasoline is a good example. Who wants it? Ethanol hurts both consumers and the environment. With government mandates, the crony capitalist ethanol producers win, everyone else loses.

Successful entrepreneurs have empathy for the consumer; crony capitalists focus on their own needs.

In his book Wired to Care, business strategy adviser Dev Patnaik argues that the secret sauce of innovation is empathy. Success "requires [businesses] to leave their own agendas behind, and actually care about how other people see the world."

Patnaik explains how empathetic organizations innovate faster:

When people in an organization have an implicit understanding of the world around them, they make a thousand better decisions every day. They're able to see new opportunities faster than companies that rely on secondhand information. And they spend less time and money arguing about things that should be intuitively obvious. Empathy drives growth because it tells an organization what's valuable to the people outside its walls.

Steve Jobs was famous for saying, "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." If you see arrogance in Jobs' words, look again.

"The highest expression of empathy," writes Jeff Booth, the CEO of BuildDirect, is "addressing customer needs before they're even aware of them." Booth concludes, "When you can step into your customers' shoes -- and see the world from their perspective, not yours -- it's easier to walk miles ahead of the competition."

Dr. Wang knows the open secret of business success -- empathy. Empathy, not greed, is the essence of an entrepreneurial mindset that fosters innovation to meet the urgent needs of customers.

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To those who assume capitalists are greedy, it may seem startling to call profit-seeking entrepreneurs compassionate. For many, compassion begins with politicians redistributing income. Yet, empathy is a gateway to compassion. When an entrepreneur sees clearly the unmet needs of others, action to alleviate the need is possible.

For millions of people, Dr. Wang's invention has increased the benefits and reduced the sacrifices of preparing wholesome meals. Just a few years ago, Wang invested his time and money in the company and a product with unknown consumer demand; there was no guarantee of success. Is that not an act of compassion?

Entrepreneurs, not crony capitalists with their political enablers, bring you well-stocked supermarkets with fresh food from all over the planet and a better pot for cooking.

 

 

Barry Brownstein is professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of The Inner-Work of Leadership. He delivers leadership workshops to organizations and blogs at BarryBrownstein.com, and Giving up Control.

This article is reprinted from FEE.org.

2017: The Year the News Media Went to War Against a President

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:00
<p>A Media Research Center study of every broadcast evening news story about the Trump administration in 2017 found the new President was by far the biggest story of the year, accounting for one out of every three minutes of evening news airtime; the tone of coverage was incessantly hostile: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive; and more than two-fifths of evening news coverage of the President (43%) focused on controversies, not policies, with the Russia investigation alone accounting for one-fifth of all Trump coverage (1,234 minutes).<br />     <br /> ■ Despite their massive coverage of Russia, the networks had almost no airtime for questions about how the investigation began, or whether special counsel Robert Mueller’s current investigation is biased.</p>

Comic Book Convention Bans Christian Actor Kevin Sorbo Because ‘He’s Pals With Sean Hannity’

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:00

East Coast Comicon founder Cliff Galbraith posted on Facebook last week that he banned Christian actor Kevin Sorbo from his ucoming convention because Sorbo is friends with Sean Hannity.

“I turned down Kevin Sorbo for East Coast Comicon,” Galbraith wrote. “He’s pals with Sean Hannity. I just can’t do it.” The post has since been pulled. His company declares on its website, “Our mission is to bring great guests and keep comics and its creators the focus of our shows.” Apparently not all great guests.

Galbraith’s leftism is evident in his social media posts as well as last year’s conference program. It featured the Statue of Liberty surrounded by vipers with names like “homophobia,” “misogyny,” “intolerance,” “xenophobia” and other leftist buzzwords. 

Screen grab from YouTube video by REALITY TALK REVIEWS.

While Galbraith may brag, his brand of Christianphobia is nothing new for Sorbo, best known for his starring role in the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Sean Hannity produced his latest movie, the faith-based Let There Be Light, which was released in 2017. 

“There’s a negativity towards Christians in Hollywood,” Sorbo told FOX411. “And a negativity towards people who believe in God.”

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“There’s so much bashing going on in the media and world for people who believe in God,” Sorbo said. “I’m just not afraid of the [politically correct] crowd. I’ll go right back at them.”

Waking Giant

“I think ultimately, the sleeping giant is waking up. People are tired of it,” Sorbo added. “Christians as a whole, I find, are far more tolerant than the kinds of things you see on SNL and MSNBC bashing Christians and making comedic jokes about Jesus.”

Sorbo said Christians need to stand up for their beliefs and not cower under pressure. “The silent majority is starting to get annoyed with what’s going on” he said. “I think more people need to start speaking about it instead of just sitting there and taking it because we’ve turned into a bunch of wusses and it’s ridiculous. Its happening, you’re getting attacked, you need to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.”

2018 Great American Outdoor Show Media Advisory

NRA Blog - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:00
NRA Publications

Military Photo of the Day: An Artificial Sunrise

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:00

An illumination round lights up the night sky after a successful fire mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on December 27, 2017.

Thank you to all of our troops serving in Afghanistan. Stay safe!

 

 

 

 

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2018 Friends of NRA National Corporate Sponsor Program

NRA Blog - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 07:30
Backed by a group of new and continuing industry sponsors, Friends of NRA is primed...

Liberal CBS Comedy: Debunked Gender Wage Gap Exists, Men are 'Dopes' and 'Idiots'

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 06:18
<p>In case you haven’t seen the overused, far-left, anti-Trump hashtag, #Resist enough, the extremely liberal CBS “comedy” <em>Superior Donuts</em> made sure to repeat it in an outrageously biased and inaccurate portrayal of the debunked gender wage gap myth on Monday’s episode, “Sofia’s Choice.” And they threw in a bit of male-bashing for good measure, too.</p>

Irony: TV Doctor Uses Fake Racism Charge to Get Job Back on MLK Day

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 05:46
<p>In the episode titled “Islands” that aired on January 15, Dr. Jared Kalu (Chuku Modu), a biracial surgical resident, desperately wants his job back. He was terminated after a physical confrontation with another doctor. Kalu punched the other guy and the hospital fired him. Reasonable enough, right? The only way for Dr. Kalu to get his job back at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, though, is to file suit against the hospital for wrongful termination using racism as the reason. The irony should not be lost on anyone that ABC’s <em>The Good Doctor</em> brings back Dr. Kalu based on a phony racism charge on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.</p>

Nets Ignore New Bribery Indictment in Uranium One-Clinton Scandal

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 04:26
<p>In an official statement on Friday, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of former Maryland executive Mark Lambert on “11 counts related to foreign bribery, fraud and money laundering scheme.” The indictment effectively tied Lambert to the Uranium One scandal because his alleged illicit activity involved JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), an arm of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation which now owns both TENEX and Uranium One. Despite the importance of the new indictment, the major three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had been dead silent.</p>

MSNBC Panel Claims Trump Doesn’t Care About Hawaii Since They Voted Against Him

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 02:48
<p>In the wake of the Hawaii nuclear missile warning that turned out the be a false alarm, the radical fringe of liberal media has decided that the only person that really deserved the blame was President Trump. Despite the fact that he had no influence on the state employee who pushed the button, and who idiotically still has a job, the liberal panel on MSNBC’s <em>Hardball</em> not only blamed Trump for the false alarm but claimed he didn’t care about the state because they supported Hillary Clinton.</p>

MSNBC's Eichenwald Slams FNC as 'Speaker Phone for White Nationalist Movement'

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 02:31
<p>On Sunday's <em>AM Joy</em>, MSNBC contributor and <em>Vanity Fair </em>contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald smeared Fox News as being a "speaker phone for the white nationalist movement" and claimed that the news network "has a lot of anti-Semitic viewers." He went on to push a conspiracy theory that FNC has a history of deliberately messing with the earpieces of himself and other guests to make them look bad.</p>

MSNBC's Eichenwald Slams FNC as 'Speaker Phone for White Nationalist Movement'

NewsBusters - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 02:31
<p>On Sunday's <em>AM Joy</em>, MSNBC contributor and <em>Vanity Fair </em>contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald smeared Fox News as being a "speaker phone for the white nationalist movement" and claimed that the news network "has a lot of anti-Semitic viewers." He went on to push a conspiracy theory that FNC has a history of deliberately messing with the earpieces of himself and other guests to make them look bad.</p>

Trump’s Comments: What Matters is Where We Go from Here

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 02:12

So many today are tweeting quotes from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. So many are still obsessing over President Trump’s reported comment last week. The cynic in me understands many are quoting King not out of any reverence for the American prophet, but as a thumb in the eye to Trump.

The humorist in me laughs that many of the same people shouting we should judge people “not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character” are scorching Trump for promoting merit based immigration.

The Bible student in me notes that God can do amazing things with flawed people.

What did Trump say? We know what’s been reported, what’s been repeatedly repeated, what’s been even projected onto one of his hotels. We know others in the room say it didn’t happen. We know Trump himself admits to using “tough” language.

And we know it has proven hurtful. It has proven fodder for an agenda and narrative that goes back to the day Trump announced.

There is much to take seriously and much to dismiss.

What I Take Seriously

I take Rep. Mia Love's concerns seriously. She is the child of Haitian immigrants. On Thursday she tweeted,

Here is my statement on the President's comments today: pic.twitter.com/EdtsFjc2zL

— Rep. Mia Love (@RepMiaLove) January 11, 2018

I take seriously the ire of African countries, and understand why they'd drag our ambassadors in for a slapdown.

I take seriously Paul Ryan’s comment that the reported remarks are “very unfortunate, unhelpful.” In this climate where even hoop rings and Dr. Seuss are considered racist, it makes the road to serious immigration reform more difficult.

I also take seriously that few seem interested in actually answering why immigrants from dysfunctional countries would get preference over those from functional countries.

I take very seriously that this President has a role to play in racial reconciliation; that it won’t be enough to dramatically improve the economic lives and opportunities for those of color, or make their streets safer. It certainly means more than saying, “I am not a racist.”

More on this in a bit.

I Do Not Take Seriously

I do not take Maxine Waters seriously. Her mouth helped burn black and Korean neighborhoods to the ground in the L.A. Riots. The dozens dead in the wake of her racially-charged inciting still await an apology.

I don't take Hillary Clinton's comments seriously. After what she did to Haiti, their national motto could be "Me Too."

I do not take Hollywood seriously. It's a safe bet these people said the same thing about Van Nuys. It’s the same industry that until the past couple years would rarely bother to nominate people of color.

I do not take seriously the cable news indignation. For one thing, they say what he said was horrible, yet keep repeating it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. For another, do we need to go back and look at what media figures said about the vast stretches of the U.S. that voted for Trump? Just once I'd like to see the Chris Cuomos and the Don Lemons outraged when Americans or America is trashed.

For that matter, where was the wall-to-wall pontificating when Obama called Libya a "s***show"? A show he helped produce by helping the overthrow of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and not preparing for the aftermath. So much concern today over the feelings of those in Africa and Haiti. What about the families of the dead or those in Libya being sold into slavery? What about those in Port-a-Prince who do not have a sewer system, yet the Clinton Foundation and Hillary's brother Tony are flush with Haiti plunder?

The Honoring

When I hear the “Trump is a racist” mantra, three things come to mind. I reported on the first last May after I attended the Liberty University graduation. Trump gave the commencement.

Earlier in the program Liberty's LU Praise gospel group had been set to perform. In fact, they were going to do a number they had performed at the Inaugural. Unfortunately, thanks to a computer glitch, there was no music. Mindful of the President's tight schedule, the program moved on.

After the President's speech and events were nearing their end, Liberty President Jerry Falwell, Jr. had a surprise. Trump was insisting LU Praise be given its chance to sing. The joyful, predominately black choir kicked in: "We've Come This Far By Faith." Falwell -- and the Secret Service -- were in for another surprise. Trump grabbed Falwell, and headed down the steps to join the choir on the field. The President cheered them on as their voices soared through the stadium. When they finished, he offered handshakes and posed for several spontaneous photos.

Sometimes it's not what you say, it's what you do.

 

I have trouble accepting as racist a fellow who would throw off his schedule, that of a university, send the Secret Service into a tizzy, all to honor, respect, sing and selfie with a black choir. Nobody, not even Joy Reid, would have criticized the President had he just left and flown home. Stream founder James Robison often speaks of how every time he’s been with Trump he stops and honors some worker or onlooker most of us would never even notice.

The Listening

There is one other thing that Trump has done on the down low. To me it suggests he knows he has an issue to wrestle with and needs help tackling it. Mike Hayes is the Founding Pastor of my church, Covenant Church. Covenant is so well-known for its racial harmony that Pastor Hayes was asked to join the President's faith advisory board specifically to deal with this issue. “You know how to do this.”

He tells of receiving a call at 2 a.m. from the White House. Chief of Staff John Kelly had a request. Could Hayes gather five of the wisest African-American pastors and come and meet with Trump to work on ways to bring about racial reconciliation in America? “We don’t know how to do this.”

The Acting

As much as one may hope President Trump will lose the New York construction guy potty-mouth, that’s not the crucial thing. Nor even is Democrats attempts to make him into Archie Bunker’s evil twin. What’s crucial is where we are going as a nation. What counts is what Trump does. If Trump is serious about racial reconciliation, is humble enough to continue listening to the likes of Mike Hayes, Sammy Rodriguez, Bishop Harry Jackson and other men and women of God, and do the gritty work they recommend, our wounds can be healed.

(Ironically, hours before Trump made his controversial comments, he was encouraging prison reform. Prison reform is one of the key elements of Bishop Jackson’s “Healing the Racial Divide” program.)

The Dream

These three vignettes establish a path for the President to follow: Honoring, Listening, Acting. If Trump honors, listens and acts, in ways public and private, small and large, guided by prayer and godly counsel, he can help Dr. King’s dream come alive in our day.

We must pray for the President, and for those giving him counsel. If our prayers our heard, then perhaps the four letter word this administration will be best remembered for is “Love.”

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” MLK

In Chile, Pope Met with Protests, Passion and Skepticism

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 02:03

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Pope Francis flew in to Chile’s capital Monday night for a visit expected to be met with protests over sexual abuse by priests and confronted by many Chileans deeply skeptical about the Roman Catholic Church.

It’s the pope’s first visit to the Andean nation of 17 million people since taking the reins of the church in 2013. It comes at a time when many Chileans are furious over Francis’ 2015 decision to appoint a bishop close to the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who the Vatican found guilty in 2011 of abusing dozens of minors over decades.

The Rev. Juan Barros, bishop of the southern city of Osorno, has always denied he knew what Karadima was doing when he was the priest’s protege, a position that many Chileans have a hard time believing.

“It’s not just time for the pope to ask for forgiveness for the abuses but also to take action,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Karadima.

Cruz added that if it wasn’t possible to jail bad bishops, “at the very least they can be removed from their positions.”

After deplaning, Francis was greeted by President Michelle Bachelet and a band played while the two walked on a red carpet as night began to fall. The pope traveled in a black sedan to the center of the city, flanked by several cars. He then transferred to a popemobile, waving to small crowds of well-wishers who lined up along avenues.

Crowds were notably thin, particularly compared to papal visits in other Latin American countries.

“Long live the pope!” yelled some as he passed by in the pope mobile.

Others carried signs criticizing the pope or extolling him to act.

“Stop the abuse, Francis!” read one sign. “You can so you must!”

Over the next three days, Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass in Santiago, the southern city of Temuco and the northern city of Iquique. On Thursday, the pope will go to Peru for a three-day visit.

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Francis’ trip was aimed at highlighting the plight of immigrants and indigenous peoples and underscoring the need to preserve the Amazon rain forest. However, sexual abuse by priests has taken front and center in the weeks before his arrival.

Hours before Francis landed, activists on issues related to sex abuse by priests called for sanctions against both abusers and anyone who helped cover up their actions.

About 200 people attended the first of several activities aimed at making the sex abuse scandal a central topic of Francis’ time in the country.

The majority of Chileans continue to declare themselves Roman Catholics, but the church has lost the influence and moral authority it once enjoyed thanks to the scandals, secularization and an out-of-touch clerical caste.

“I used to be a strong believer and churchgoer,” said Blanca Carvucho, a 57-year-old secretary in Santiago. “All the contradictions have pushed me away.”

To be sure, many eagerly awaited a chance to see the pope and celebrate their faith.

Moises Lopez, a 35-year-old musician, took a bus from northern Chile to Santiago in hopes of seeing the pontiff.

“I consider myself a pilgrim,” Lopez said. “I could have stayed comfortably at home and watched the pope on television, but I prefer to make an effort to see him in person once in my life.”

The pope will try to inject new energy into the church during his visit, which gets underway in earnest Tuesday with a series of protocol visits for church and state.

He also plans sessions with migrants, members of Chile’s Mapuche indigenous group and victims of the 1973-1990 military dictatorship. It remains to be seen if he will meet with sex abuse survivors. A meeting wasn’t on the agenda, but such encounters never are.

Chile’s church earned wide respect during the regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet because it spoke out against the military’s human rights abuses, but it began a downward spiral in 2010 when victims of a charismatic, politically connected priest came forward with allegations that he had kissed and fondled them.

Local church leaders had ignored the complaints against Karadima for years, but they were forced to open an official investigation after the victims went public and Chilean prosecutors started investigating. The Vatican in 2011 sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes, but the church leadership hasn’t won back Chileans’ trust for having covered up Karadima’s crimes for so long.

“The Karadima case created a ferocious wound,” said Chile’s ambassador to the Holy See, Mariano Fernandez Amunategui. He and others inside the Vatican speak openly of a Chilean church “in crisis” as a result, a remarkable admission of the scandal’s toll on a church that wielded such political clout that it helped stave off laws legalizing divorce and abortion until recently.

Chileans’ disenchantment has even affected their views of the pope himself. A recent survey by Latinobarometro, a respected regional polling firm, found that Chile had a lower esteem for history’s first Latin American pope than 18 other Central and South American countries. Even among Chilean Catholics, only 42 percent approve of the job Francis is doing, compared to a regional average of 68 percent.

“The serious error of the Catholic Church in the Karadima case wasn’t that the case existed, which the church couldn’t avoid because it did happen, but rather the way in which the church reacted,” said Latinobarometro’s Marta Lagos.

Last week, The Associated Press reported that Francis had told Chile’s bishops that the Vatican was so concerned about the Karadima fallout that it had planned to ask Barros and two other Karadima-trained bishops to resign and take a year sabbatical. But the plan fell through, and Francis went through with the appointment of Barros to Osorno, even criticizing parishioners against the decision.

“The people of Osorno suffer for stupidity,” said Francis in 2015.

___

Associated Press writers Peter Prengaman and Patricia Luna contributed to this report.

 

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

164 Companies Credit Tax Reform for Bonuses and Pay Raises

The Stream - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 01:13

One hundred sixty-four companies have gone on record stating they gave bonuses and pay raises to employees because of the new tax reform law, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

The list has been continually updated and jumped from 40 companies to 164 in 10 days, The Washington Examiner reports.

The businesses include: American Airlines, AT&T, several prominent savings and loan banks, Boeing, Comcast, Pacific Power and Visa.

The list shows what each company paid in bonuses and includes attached statements or press releases, saying tax reform was the catalyst for each company's decision.

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

AT&T showed direct support for President Donald Trump in their statement and said they expect the changes to produce more jobs and "economic growth." Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said,

Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world. Tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.

Americans for Tax Reform tweeted out the list and said companies also provided increased 401K contributions along with the bonuses as a result of the new tax law.

BOOM: 164 companies (and counting) give bonuses, raises, 401k increases thanks to #TaxReform https://t.co/ODy0ACSvbc

— ATR (@taxreformer) January 15, 2018

 

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Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

The general public thinks the average company makes a 36% profit margin, which is about 5X too high, Part II - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 00:13

This is an update of a CD post from a few years ago, with some new data and supplemented by a video below created by Richard Rider.

When a random sample of American adults were asked the question “Just a rough guess, what percent profit on each dollar of sales do you think the average company makes after taxes?” for the Reason-Rupe poll in May 2013, the average response was 36%! That response was very close to historical results from the polling organization ORC International polls for a slightly different, but related question: What percent profit on each dollar of sales do you think the average manufacturer makes after taxes? Responses to that question in 9 different polls between 1971 and 1987 ranged from 28% to 37% and averaged 31.6%.

How do the public’s estimates of corporate profit margins compare to reality? Not surprisingly they are off by a huge margin. According to this NYU Stern database for more than 7,000 US companies (updated in January 2018) in many different industries, the average profit margin is 7.9% for all companies and 6.9% for more than 6,000 companies excluding financials (see chart above). Interestingly, for nearly 100 industries analyzed by NYU Stern, there’s only one industry that had a profit margin as high as 36% – and that was tobacco at 43.3%. The next highest profit margin was 26.4% for financial services, but more than 72% of industry profit margins were single-digits and the median industry profit margin is 6%. 

“Big Oil” companies make a lot of profits, right? Well, that industry (Integrated Oil/Gas) had a below-average profit margin of 5.6% in the most recent period analyzed, and separately, the Production and Exploration Oil/Gas industry is losing money, reflected in a -6.6% profit margin. For the general retail sector, the average profit margin is only 2.3% and for the grocery and food retail industry, it’s even lower at only 1.6%. And evil Walmart only made a 2.1% profit margin in 2017 (first three quarters) which is less than the industry average for general retail, possibly because grocery sales now make up more half of Walmart’s revenue and profit margins are lower on food than general retail. Interestingly, Walmart’s profit margin of 2.1% is actually less than one-third of the 6.5% the average state/local government takes of each dollar of Walmart’s retail sales for sales taxes. Think about it – for every $100 in sales for Walmart, the state/local governments get an average of $6.50 in sales taxes (and as much $10.12 in Louisianna and $9.45 in Tennessee, see data here), while Walmart gets only $2.10 in after-tax profits!

Bottom Line: The public’s complete overestimation of how much companies earn in profits as a share of sales explains a lot. If $36 of every $100 in sales at a company like Walmart, McDonald’s, Home Depot, Ford Motor Company or a local dry cleaner or restaurant really did turn into profits, then of course those companies could afford to pay unrealistic minimum/living wages of $15 per hour, accept unreasonable demands from labor unions, provide all sorts of generous fringe benefits including weeks of paid holidays, long paid maternity leaves, and gold-plated pension programs, etc. The general public that believes in the fantasy-world of unrealistically, sky-high 36% profit margins would naturally think companies are just being greedy and stingy when they don’t pay higher “living wages” and have to be forced to do so through minimum wage legislation.

If the average person could realize that a 36% profit margin isn’t even close to reality and that the typical, median firm has a profit margin of only less than 8% or almost 30 percentage points below what the public thinks is a normal profit margin, then hopefully the average person would become a little more realistic about how the business world operates. Companies aren’t being stingy when they pay competitive wages, they’re just trying to survive on what are sometimes razor-thin profit margins, in a competitive environment where there’s not a large margin of error. If they’re not operating efficiently and watching costs very carefully, it’s pretty easy for a business to go from a 7-8% profit margin (and only 1-2% for retailers) to a 0% break-even situation, and then from there to losses and bankruptcy — just look at the more than half a million businesses that fail every year.

Bonus: Below is the video mentioned above from Richard Rider — “Corporate Profits Explained (Bernie Sanders CEO of Walmart??)” — who provide some commentary here.

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