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Updated: 3 hours 57 min ago

Gunmen Attack Military Parade in Iran, At Least 24 Killed

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 10:12

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Gunmen attacked an annual Iranian military parade Saturday in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 24 people and wounding 53 others, local media reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in Ahvaz, which saw gunfire spray into a crowd of marching Guardsmen, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser. However, Iran faced a bloody assault last year from the Islamic State group and Arab separatists in the region have attacked oil pipelines there in the past.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately blamed the attack on regional countries and their “U.S. masters,” further raising regional tensions as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers is in jeopardy after President Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord.

“Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” he wrote on Twitter.

State television aired footage of the aftermath of the assault on Ahvaz’s Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard, which like many other places around the country saw an annual parade marking the start of Iran’s long 1980s war with Iraq. The images included paramedics trying to help one person in military fatigues as other armed security personnel shouted at each other. The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack’s aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.

A local news agency in Khuzestan province, of which Ahvaz is the capital, aired grainy mobile phone footage showing parade goers fleeing as soldiers lay flat on the ground. Gunfire rang out in the background.

“Security forces have restored security in the area but the parade has totally been disrupted,” a reporter on the scene for Iranian state television said by phone in a live broadcast. “People have been killed but we have no figures yet.”

Zarif on Twitter said that the gunmen were “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime.” He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there in the past and Iran. The separatists also accuse Iran’s Shiite theocracy of discriminating against its Sunni Arab citizens. Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding their activity.

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Reports of how the attack unfolded remained unclear immediately afterward. The state TV reporter said the gunfire came from a park behind a riser. The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

The state-run IRNA news agency said the attack killed 24 people and wounded 53, citing “knowledgeable sources” without elaborating. It said gunmen were dressed in Guard uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting.

Khuzestan Gov. Gholamreza Shariati told IRNA that two gunmen were killed and two others were arrested.

Who carried out the assault also remained in question. State television immediately described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply involved in the fight against IS in Iraq and has aided embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s long war.

Among those involved are members of the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard also has vast holdings in Iran’s economy.

Meanwhile, Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif told ISNA that an Arab separatist group carried out the attack, without elaborating. However, those groups in the past previously have only attacked unguarded oil pipelines at night.

Saturday’s attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989. The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

___

Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

Military Photo of the Day: Generals Getting Briefed

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 09:00

Briefing, Generals Almond, Shepherd, MacArthur, and Smith, 17 September 1950

“Briefing on 17 September at the Division CP in the southeast outskirts of Inchon. Left to right: Gen. Almond, Gen. Shepherd, Gen. MacArthur, Newspaper Correspondent, Gen. Smith, and Col. McAllister.”

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

“Judge Kavanaugh Will Be on Supreme Court,” McConnell Tells Conservative Activists

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 20:38

Nearly 2,000 conservative activists descended on Washington, D.C., today for the 13th annual Values Voter Summit. Hosted by Family Research Council Action led by Tony Perkins, the three-day conference features speeches and breakout sessions by several top public officials as well as politically conservative religious figures.

Friday afternoon will feature Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while Vice President Mike Pence will speak Saturday. FRC Action hosts a video livestream during the entire event.

Senator Mitch McConnell, R.-Ken., was among the first summit speakers on Friday morning. His remarks on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s ongoing (and contentious) confirmation process made global headlines.

Future "Justice Kavanaugh"?

In introducing McConnell, Tony Perkins praised the senator's resolve in ensuring the open Supreme Court seat remained vacant through the 2016 election. Perkins serves as a member of the informal White House Faith Leaders Initiative.

"Leader Mitch McConnell's decision was a historic decision," said Perkins. "It helped frame the Presidential election. [It was] one of the most courageous acts in the history of the United States Senate."

The current battle over another Supreme Court vacancy has consumed the news in recent weeks. On July 9, President Trump nominated federals appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh on September 14 through 17.

"You're all following the current Supreme Court fight," began McConnell. "You will watch it unfold in the course of the next week. President Trump has nominated a stunningly successful individual."

Following the confirmation hearings, a woman came forward with allegations from 36 years ago when she and Kavanaugh were in high school. She claims he sexually assaulted her. Some observers have minimized the charges as a delay tactic. McConnell's next comments on the current nomination hit the news within minutes.

Mitch McConnell: "You've watched the fight. You've watched the tactics, But here's what I want to tell you: In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court... Don't get rattled by all of this. We're gonna plow right through it and do our job." pic.twitter.com/nmVJVHvrVV

— CNN (@CNN) September 21, 2018

"You've watched the fight," said McConnell. "You've watched the tactics. But here's what I want to tell you. In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court."

McConnell Urges Election Turnout

With the midterm elections seven weeks away, the Senate majority leader set the stage to focus on Republican accomplishments since President Trump's election.

"You can go back a hundred years," said McConnell. "Republicans have only had the Senate, the House, and the White House for 20 of those hundred years. We were determined not to squander this opportunity because they don't come along all that often."

He discussed the benefits of the recent tax reform law, notably year-over-year wage growth. McConnell also pointed out there are currently more job openings than people looking for work.

"This time, the new prosperity is not just being captured by big coastal cities and a select few industries,” said McConnell. “Small communities and rural areas have actually outpaced the big cities in rates of job growth.”

The Senate leader did not mention several legislative disappointments. High-profile efforts on immigration and criminal justice reform have, thus far, not been successful. Values Voter Summit attendees have their own concerns. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a priority of pro-life groups, failed in the Senate by a 51-46 vote in January.

Nonetheless, with elections looming, conservative activists are laser-focused on ensuring the balance of power in Congress does not shift. Most see a host of issues tied to Republican success in November.

"My friends, keep the faith," said McConnell. "Don't get rattled by all of this. We're going to plow right through it and do our job."

 

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The Reckless Coverage of Kavanaugh Allegations Is Why Americans Don’t Trust the Media

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 19:07

The last few weeks of coverage of the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been a perfect example of why the American people don't trust the media.

The sheer breadth of wild and reckless reporting on the situation has been extraordinary, even by the media's increasingly low standards.

There have been a staggering number of backtracks and incidences of simply false reporting.

NBC published a social media post by one of Kavanaugh's classmates, Christina King Miranda, saying: "This incident did happen. Many of us heard a buzz about it indirectly with few specific details. However Christine's vivid recollection should be more than enough for us to truly, deeply know that the accusation is true."

NBC's post went viral, but very quickly thereafter, the classmate deleted her post and admitted to not knowing what took place between Kavanaugh and the accuser.

"In my [Facebook] post, I was empowered and I was sure it probably did [happen]," Miranda said, according to NPR. "I had no idea that I would now have to go to the specifics and defend it before 50 cable channels and have my face spread all over MSNBC news and Twitter."

NBC later had to revise the story.

The New York Times made its own mess. On Monday, the Times reported that Mark Judge, the second man named in Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh, had confirmed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did recall the episode. But the potentially damning statement was completely incorrect.

Judge has repeatedly claimed, via his lawyer, that he has no recollection of such actions ever taking place.

"Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford's letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes," Judge said in a statement.

The New York Times was forced to backtrack: "An earlier version of this article misstated what Mark Judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said that he does not remember the episode, not that he does."

Adding to injury, three different outlets framed a joke that Kavanaugh made three years ago as being a subtle admittance to Ford's allegations.

Speaking to a public forum at Columbus Law School, he said, "what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep." When watched in its entirety, it is abundantly clear that Kavanagh is completely joking. It was the dean of the school that reminded him of the phrase.

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But that didn't matter. MSNBC, CNN, and Politico presented the clip as somehow evidence that Kavanaugh is guilty or hiding something egregious. That's three networks who chose to ignore a critical statement made by Kavanaugh to a laughing crowd--that the dean "reminded him to say that." It was a blatant joke.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., then referenced the clip in a tweet that currently has nearly 50,000 "likes" on Twitter.

Brett Kavanaugh talking about his high school in 2015: "What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep."

I can’t imagine any parent accepting this view. Is this really what America wants in its next Supreme Court Justice? pic.twitter.com/WhL8YeZQ78

-- Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 18, 2018

These are just a few examples of the bad reporting in the last week.

Also see: here, here, and here.

Conversely, prominent members of the media lashed out at those who wanted to find the truth about the claims of the accuser, despite the fact that her claims are incredibly vague.

Walking a VERY dangerous line here….. https://t.co/GTKVb1Q7XU

-- Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) September 18, 2018

It's all been a ridiculous fiasco, but this should be a lesson to those who worry that President Donald Trump's rhetoric about the media is undermining the free press.

It's the press that's undermining itself by being so one-sided, so quick to publish damaging stories about conservatives -- while holding fire on progressives -- and bypassing the due diligence required for accurate and honest reporting that Americans should expect.

The Founding Fathers understood that a free press was vital to preserving liberty and keeping the powerful in check. They also acknowledged that the press itself was a powerful tool and that it could be used to disseminate lies and falsehoods.

The Founders, thankfully, protected press freedom through the First Amendment, as lies by the media would only be made worse by allowing the government to control the flow of information in society.

But the Founders didn't protect the media because they wanted to empower falsehoods. They did so in order to preserve truth.

Many Americans have judged that modern media have not exactly been truthful with them, and that perception is wrecking the press' credibility.

Some in the media, such as NBC's Chuck Todd, have blamed conservatives, Republicans, and Trump for the poor reputation of their industry, claiming that the climate of distrust regarding the press is merely the result of their ferocious critics. "The conservative echo chamber created that environment," Todd said on "Meet the Press."

Polls also show that trust in media is catastrophically bad, a trend that predates the Trump administration, but is worse now. They also show that a majority of American people believe that the media intentionally publishes fake news, and a plurality think they create false stories about the Trump administration.

With the way the Kavanaugh allegations have been treated, no wonder huge segments of Americans are angry and frustrated.

The legacy media's failure to acknowledge that the fault is not in their stars but themselves means that trust in the fourth estate will continue to erode, and they will get blistered with criticism that sticks.

In America, we have a free press, but the American people have free minds to judge truth and distortion.

The media's role in the Kavanaugh controversy further erodes any chance the press has to regain the people's trust. If anything, it should make us grateful for an alternative media that continues to call them out.

 

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

Apparently the Demons Are Going Berserk

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 18:48

The charismatic Christian who works at our local hardware store is good guy with a strong faith, though he has, from my point of view, some unfortunate excesses. Nonetheless, he was right on target the other day when he commented, "The demons are going berserk." And so they are.

C.S. Lewis in the preface to his book The Screwtape Letters, noted, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them."

While I've never disbelieved in devils or demons, I've pretty much lived as though they have little influence, being quite satisfied with human foolishness, selfishness, wickedness, and sin to explain most of the ills of the world.

Not any more.

How Does the Devil Operate?

While I don't want to join the ranks of those who see a demon behind every head cold and hang nail, there are goings-on in our world today that are so irrationally evil as to admit to no explanation but a supernatural one.

In 1974, Pope Paul VI spoke about "Confronting the Devil's Power" at one of his weekly audiences. "What are the Church's greatest needs at the present time?" he asked, "Don't be surprised at Our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: one of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil."

"Evil is not merely an absence of something," he went on, "but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others. It is a terrible reality, mysterious and frightening."

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How does the devil operate? Pope Paul explained, "He undermines man's moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities, so that he can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations."

That is, the devil works by convincing us that evil is good, that what is unnatural is natural, that what is contrary to human nature is the height of humanism.

Seeing Demonic Activity

How do we know it's the devil? Pope Paul provided a helpful though incomplete list. The devil is active:

"Where the denial of God becomes radical, subtle and absurd." What else could inspire clergy to gather outside a clinic that does late-term abortions to pray, "Keep [the staff] safe and keep them strong. And may they always know that all that they do is for Thy glory"? This only makes sense if the god invoked is Molech, the ancient Near Eastern god whose worship demanded tossing live children into blazing fire. "Where lies become powerful and hypocritical in the face of evident truth." While lies and hypocrisy have always been central to politics (read Livy), our current political situation is beyond all bounds and may well be beyond redemption. Neither politicians nor journalists maintain credibility and the public knows it. "Where love is smothered by cold, cruel selfishness." The vileness of the ongoing clergy sex crisis in the Catholic Church comes to mind as do the many in the Church hierarchy who are unable or unwilling to address the central issues -- and to come clean themselves. And don't call it a "clergy sexual abuse" crisis. Its demonic character goes beyond that. "Where Christ's name is attacked with conscious, rebellious hatred." In the media, Hollywood, universities, and politics. Whatever Brett Kavanaugh did or didn't do when he was a teen, the real issue -- the real hatred -- is for his faith. It was the same for Amy Coney Barrett. Christians are attacked because Christ is the enemy. "Where the spirit of the Gospel is watered down and rejected." It's hard to imagine the Catholic clergy sex crisis happening in an environment where the Gospel is believed, preached, and lived out at full-strength. "He who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much," said Jesus (Luke 16:10). Sadly it's true. "Where despair is affirmed as the last word." According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide rate in the United States has risen 30% since 2000. Women's suicide rate rose by 50%, but the greatest increase was for girls ages 10 to 14. Their rate tripled. By Grace the World Can Change

It all smells of burning brimstone, but that is no excuse for defeat, despair, or "fighting fire with fire."

Instead, Pope Paul commented, "We could say: everything that defends us from sin strengthens us by that very fact against the invisible enemy. Grace is the decisive defense. Innocence takes on the aspect of strength."

"Innocence takes on the aspect of strength." That's a call to holiness and a tall order in 2018. But by grace it's possible. And by grace and holiness the devil can be defeated and the world can change.

That begins by knowing our enemy.

This Week at War: Operation Roundup

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:43
Syria and Iraq

Phase Three of the U.S.-backed  “Operation Roundup” is well underway in Syria, where coalition troops are pounding remnants of ISIS along the country’s war-torn border with Iraq. The mission’s goal is to “to clear ISIS remnants from Hajin and the remaining Dayr Az Zawr countryside east of the Euphrates River.”

The latest available data from the Pentagon shows “66 strikes consisting of 102 engagements in Iraq and Syria” between September 10 and 16. Sunday in Syria, coalition troops destroyed an ISIS command and control center along with a terrorist improvised explosive device facility near Abu Kamal, according to the Department of Defense.

On the same day in Iraq, the Pentagon said an ISIS bunker and vehicle shelter were destroyed by coalition forces in al Asad.

While U.S. troops are also making sacrifices on the homefront during Hurricane Florence rescue and recovery efforts, media coverage of the ongoing fight against terrorism seemingly vanished - again - shortly after the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. With thousands of American service members risking their lives around the world, we must force ourselves to pay attention to their extraordinary efforts, no matter what’s going on in our daily lives.

We owe everything to these selfless warriors and their families.

Korea

The first two identities of fallen Korean War heroes whose remains were recently returned from North Korea were publicly identified in a Thursday afternoon tweet by President Trump.

Army Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel, 32, of Vernon, Indiana, and Army Pfc. William H. Jones, 19, of Nash County, North Carolina, are the first American remains from…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018

Please keep the McDaniel and Jones families in your prayers.

Afghanistan

Some of the ongoing war in Afghanistan’s newest heroes were honored this week at Fort Carson in Colorado. The September 16 ceremony recognized the courage of Green Berets from the 19th Special Forces Group during a combat deployment last year.

"At this time in history, these warriors epitomized what it means to be a Green Beret," said Maj. Gen. Michael Loh, the Adjutant General of the Colorado National Guard. "The United States of America fields the finest fighting force in the world, and Bravo Company demonstrated that on the field of battle."

One Silver Star, five Bronze Stars for valor and “several Purple Hearts” were awarded to Green Berets who fought numerous bloody battles against ISIS and the Taliban while stationed in Afghanistan.

While in Afghanistan, the unit sustained the tragic loss of U.S. Army Sgt. Aaron Butler, who made the ultimate sacrifice on August 16, 2017, and “has been recommended for the Silver Star.” You can read more about Sgt. Butler and his remarkable Gold Star family in this recent Salt Lake Tribune article.

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Coming Home

After spending several months in Afghanistan, airmen from the U.S. Air Force’s 317th Airlift Wing made a rousing return this week to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. As you can see below, the returning airmen were greeted by overjoyed loved ones.

A crowd of U.S. Air Force families and friends cheer as they watch a C-130J Super Hercules bring airmen home from a deployment to Afghanistan at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas on September 17, 2018.

Welcome home, warriors!

 

Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of three books about military heroes: 8 Seconds of CourageBrothers Forever and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo.

#MeToo Movement: Women of Faith Break Their Silence

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:30

Whether Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim, faith communities in recent months have been rocked by sexual abuse scandals. Notable offenders include evangelical pastor Bill Hybels, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and an orthodox Jewish rabbi from Baltimore.

The scope and severity of allegations against faith leaders, usually men, make this one of the year’s biggest stories. It follows on the heels of other "silence breakers," named by TIME Magazine as Person of the Year in December 2017.

Victims of abuse who have spoken out, most often female, have coalesced into the #MeToo Movement. After Harvey Weinstein's fall from power in Hollywood, leaders both left and right have been caught up in serious allegations from multiple sources.

This season of exposed misdeeds continues. Related hashtags include #ChurchToo, identifying the context of abuse, and #TimesUp to express how offenders must face a reckoning.

Justice, Due Process and Hearing Both Sides

Many have expressed concerns about a "Twitter mob" becoming judge and jury of the accused. Numerous charges against various leaders are being investigated and litigated. Often, the evidence has yet to be weighed on the scales of justice in appropriate state and federal courts.

On Tuesday, evangelical Christian leader Russell Moore stated cautions regarding the accusations made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Notably, Moore led a faith leaders coalition in support of Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Some have minimized charges against the long-respected jurist as a delay tactic to derail the process.

"We need to listen here and find out what the truth is." – Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, tells CNN's @jimsciutto that evangelicals want to hear from both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser pic.twitter.com/kvTXHNE5Pl

— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) September 19, 2018

"We need to hear from both of the parties involved," said Moore. "Frankly, I'm dealing almost every day both with young women who have been assaulted and abused. I don't want them to hear from whatever political debates going on: Don't come forward. Don't tell your story."

Moore pressed on. "And I'm often dealing with people in the criminal justice system who've been wrongfully accused of doing things they haven't done," he added. "I don't want us to simply rush to judgment immediately, simply on the basis of where our political convictions lie."

Such balanced voices are rare in a politically polarized election season. Indeed, few have taken time to listen and consider the stories of women. This past week, four victims of sexual abuse shared their stories in a unique public forum.

When Sacred Spaces Become Unsafe

Last Friday in Columbus, Ohio, the Religion News Association (RNA) hosted a panel on "#MeToo in Sacred Spaces" during its annual conference. The RNA is a global community of journalists who strive to report on religion with balance, accuracy, and insight.

Vonda Dyer

Moderated by Dina Zingard of CBS' 60 Minutes, four female leaders told numerous agonizing stories. Some reporters were moved to tears by their courageous, deeply emotional accounts.

They reflected diverse faith traditions. Vonda Dyer told firsthand of abuses she faced at Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago area. Dr. Keren McGinity of Hebrew College spoke of incidents she had seen in Jewish faith circles.

Sameera Qureshi of HEART Women and Girls in the D.C. area unveiled troubling aspects of dominant Muslim culture. And Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the United Methodist Church shared concerns faced by denominations and historically black churches.

"People inherently trust spiritual leaders because they introduce them to Jesus or to their faith," said Dyer. "Usually God uses that to change peoples' lives. When that trust is violated, it leads people to question everything about themselves and their experience. It even causes people to question the validity of their faith."

The women spoke openly, at times in detail, of sexual abuse during the hour-long panel. (Viewer discretion is advised.) During Q&A, they also examined what safeguards faith communities should consider.

 

Abuse of Power, Depraved Offenses

Vonda Dyer was among the first of now ten female accusers to come forward against Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow Creek. She served at the megachurch for 14 years.

She and other women revealed their stories in the Chicago Tribune this past March. "I am six months into facing a #MeToo storm of seismic proportions," Dyer began.

"When trust is violated, it leads people to question everything about themselves and their experience. It even causes people to question the validity of their faith." – Vonda Dyer

"Would I have the courage to stand up to this man," asked Dyer, her voice breaking. "And reveal the abusive patterns that maligned the very gospel he preached to thousands for decades? Would I risk my reputation and my standing in the global church to make it stop?"

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi

Such misdeeds are not unique to independent megachurches, panelists noted. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi oversees several Pittsburgh-area congregations in the United Methodist Church. "Even though I come from a denomination that has a structure or process for everything," she said. "--People are still sexually harassed. [Don't think] it's not going to happen because we have a process."

She continued on a theme Dyer brought forward. Senior pastors are often unquestioned and without peer, they stated. "In the black church, pastors are put on a pedestal," said Moore-Koikoi. "Everything they do is right. If you question them, then you're questioning God. It allows people to go unchecked with behavior we all know in our guts is wrong."

Jewish scholar Dr. Keren McGinity pointed to what she believes is the heart of the issue. "Society defines masculinity along lines that lift men up according to how big and strong and how many sexual conquests they have," she said.

"It replicates this idea that men have some inalienable right to touch women at their whim," McGinity continued. "We need [diverse] voices and ideas about what it means to be a man, to be masculine -- and to be a woman."

Time's Up for Abusers in Faith Communities

Rather than doubting their faith, the women said their beliefs drove them to speak out on behalf of victims.

"It gave me courage to step forward," said Dyer. "[I was] reminded by the story of Esther, how she went against a very powerful and destructive man. God made a pathway for her."

Sameera Qureshi, a director at HEART Women and Girls, asserted that violence results when beliefs are misapplied. "Faith is not the problem," she said. "Misinterpretation and misuse of religion are the problems. Female leaders are reteaching a lot of men about justice, standing up against oppression, and equality of women's rights within Islam."

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McGinity pinpointed the concerns at hand. "The problem is the idea that one can use one's power and influence to objectify and assault someone else, male or female," she said.

Greater accountability to other congregation leaders has become a necessity, the women leaders stated. Methodist Church founder John Wesley's 21 questions were noted as a tool for greater transparency in such private discussions. They contend true faith points the way to integrity.

"My faith has grown stronger," concluded Dyer. "I have a fierce fire in my belly to see this eradicated -- inside and outside of the church."

 

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New Evacuations Ordered Because of Florence Flooding

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:27

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- A new round of evacuations was ordered in South Carolina as the trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence meanders to the sea, raising river levels and threatening more destruction.

With the crisis slowly moving to South Carolina, emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday, and shelters are open.

Officials downstream sounded dire alarms, pointing out the property destruction and environmental disasters left in Florence’s wake.

“Although the winds are gone and the rain is not falling, the water is still there and the worst is still to come in the Pee Dee,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Friday, referring to the eastern part of the state.

Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway warned the area may see a flood like it has never seen before. “We’re at the end of the line of all waters to come down,” he said.

In North Carolina, where about 100 people were evacuated by boat and air after the Cape Fear River breached a levee and flooded the town of Kelly on Thursday night, a familiar story was unfolding as many places that flooded in Hurricane Matthew in 2016 were once again inundated.

Two years ago, flooding ruined the baseboards and carpet of the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Spring Lake. The congregation rebuilt, This year, water from the Little River water broke the windows, leaving the pews a jumbled mess and soaked Bibles and hymn books on the floor.

“I’m so sad just thinking about all the work we put in. My gut is turning up,” church member Dennis DeLong said. “We put a lot of heart and soul into putting it back up.”

Gov. McMaster estimated damage from the flood in his state at $1.2 billion in a letter that says the flooding will be the worst disaster in the state’s modern history. McMaster asked congressional leaders to hurry federal aid.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he knows the damage in his state will add up to billions of dollars, but said with the effects on the storm ongoing, there was no way to make a more accurate estimate.

Duke Energy said a dam containing a large lake at Wilmington power plant had been breached by floodwaters from Florence, and it was possible that coal ash from an adjacent dump was flowing into the Cape Fear River.

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Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said it was monitoring four areas in the Atlantic for signs of a new tropical weather threat. One was off the coast of the Carolinas with a chance of drifting toward the coast.

About 55,000 homes and businesses remain without power after Florence, nearly all in North Carolina, and down from a high of more than 900,000 in three states.

Florence is blamed for at least 42 deaths in the Carolinas and Virginia, including that of an 81-year-old whose body was found in a submerged pickup truck in South Carolina. Well over half the dead were killed were in vehicles.

Potential environmental problems remained. Aside from the Duke Energy breach, state-owned utility Santee Cooper in South Carolina is placing an inflatable dam around a coal ash pond near Conway, saying the extra 2.5 feet (76 centimeters) should be enough to keep floodwaters out. Officials warned human, hog and other animal waste were mixing in with floodwaters in the Carolinas.

In Wilmington, things kept creeping back closer to normal in the state’s largest coastal city. Officials announced the end of a curfew and the resumption of regular trash pickup.

But they said access to the city of 120,000 was still limited and asked people who evacuated to wait a few more days. They also warned people to not get caught off guard as rivers that briefly receded were periodically rising back.

The storm continues to severely hamper travel. Parts of the main north-south route on the East coast, Interstate 95, and the main road to Wilmington, Interstate 40, remain flooded and will likely be closed at least until nearly the end of September, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said.

More than a thousand other roads from major highways to neighborhood lanes are closed in the Carolinas, officials said. Some of them have been washed out entirely.

The flood has been giving so much warning to Horry County, South Carolina, that officials published a detailed map of places that flooded in 2016 and warned those same places were going underwater again. One man had time to build a 6-foot-high (1.8-meter) dirt berm around his house.

The Waccamaw River has started its slow rise in the city of 23,000, and forecasters expect it to swell more than 3 feet (0.90 meters) above the previous record crest by Tuesday while still rising. Some areas could stay underwater for weeks, forecasters warned.

___

Derosier reported from Spring Lake. Associated Press writers Jonathan Drew, Martha Waggoner and Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh; Jeffrey Collins and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Michael Biesecker in Washington and Jay Reeves in Atlanta contributed to this report.

___

For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes.

 

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

Google Employees Sought to Manipulate Search Results to Fight Trump’s Travel Ban

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 13:03

In the wake of President Donald Trump's travel ban, Google employees reportedly discussed ways to manipulate search results in order to push back against the president's order.

That's according to a report from Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson, who obtained emails showing the internal Google discussions about manipulating search results.

"Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued his now famous travel ban. Almost immediately, Google employees began plotting ways to undermine the president's executive order," Carlson reported.

A Google product marketing manager named Mackenzie Thomas on Jan. 29, 2017, sent an email to other Google employees that read: "There is a large brainstorm going on throughout the marketing org," Thomas told coworkers, according to Carlson's report, which was confirmed by The Wall Street Journal.

Thomas suggested ways to "actively counter algorithmically biased results" for search results including "Islam," "Iran," "Mexico" and "Latino," according to Carlson's report.

"In other words, Google employees wanted to alter search results to make them more positive, for political reasons. Thomas also suggested promoting links for making donations to organizations fighting the travel ban," the Fox News host reported.

"This of course would be completely dishonest and unethical behavior, but Thomas's colleagues seemed all in," Carlson added.

"We're absolutely in, Mackenzie. Anything you need. Will put together a list of orgs with Meryl and H-L team," replied product manager Rami Banna.

"These emails were just a brainstorm of ideas, none of which were ever implemented. Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology -- not in the current campaign season, not during the 2016 election, and not in the aftermath of President Trump's executive order on immigration," Google said in a statement to Fox News.

"Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies."

Carlson was skeptical.

"If you ran a bank, and you caught your tellers 'brainstorming' about how to rob the vault, would you be OK with that? Remember that Google fired an engineer named James Damore almost instantly last summer when he was caught expressing mildly conservative ideas in a private memo," the Fox News host pointed out.

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"Here Google employees are plotting to subvert our entire public conversation, but that's fine with Google."

Google's liberal bias has been exposed before.

Carlson previously revealed how a Google executive sought to use company resources to boost voter turnout in favor of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Google suspended its fact-check program in January after a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation revealed the search engine was falsely attributing wrong claims to conservative websites, which were the almost exclusive target of the fact-check program.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

 

Copyright 2018 Daily Caller News Foundation. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Early Voting Begins as Midterms Season Enters Final Phase

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 11:38

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Much of the political world is consumed with a battle over a Supreme Court nominee, an expanding international trade war and President Donald Trump’s social media posts. Yet here in Minnesota, the first votes of the 2018 midterm elections are being cast.

Voting machines are set up inside city buildings. A series of get-out-the-vote rallies is scheduled. And each party is spending millions of dollars to push its supporters to the polls.

While Election Day 2018 is technically Nov. 6, Minnesota law allows in-person voting to begin Friday -- a full 46 days early -- making it the first battleground state to begin casting actual votes in the broader fight for control of Congress.

Voters in every corner of the nation will soon follow.

South Dakota also opens early voting on Friday, and four more states follow in the next six days, including key states including New Jersey and Missouri. California, Montana and Arizona are among seven others that allow early voting in the subsequent two weeks.

It may feel early, but make no mistake: The final phase of the 2018 midterm season has begun.

“It’s like Election Day every day,” said Jake Schneider, spokesman for Minnesota Republican Senate candidate Karin Housley. “It really changes the dynamic of an election. It really does. And it’s exciting.”

The commencement of voting in key states underscores the heightened significance of virtually every major development -- political or otherwise -- on the state and national stage in the coming days. Economic indicators, the president’s tweets, new revelations in the special counsel investigation and even the weather begin to matter much more as voters decide whether to go to the polls.

It’s been an inauspicious beginning to the voting season for Trump and his Republican Party, which continue to struggle under the weight of near-constant self-imposed crises and chaos.

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The president escalated a trade war with China in recent days, triggering new waves of concern among farmers and major employers across Minnesota and beyond. And the GOP’s continued embrace of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, despite an allegation of decades-old sexual misconduct, threatens to further alienate suburban women, a key constituency this fall that has already largely turned away from Trump.

Political parties and their allies are ramping up voter outreach programs in several states to mark the beginning of the early voting phase.

The Democratic allies, Priorities USA Action and the Senate Majority PAC, for example, are launching a multimillion-dollar digital ad campaign next week as part of a voter mobilization program across five states that targets African-Americans, young Hispanics and other young people.

One of the new ads, shared with The Associated Press, highlights the rise of white supremacists in the Trump era. In another, a young black man says, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to vote this year.”

As is the case in many midterm battlegrounds, outside groups for several weeks have been dumping money into Minnesota, which features at least four competitive House elections, two U.S. Senate contests and a governor’s race.

Each of the political parties deployed paid staff and volunteers on the ground several months ago to identify supporters and persuade them to vote.

Democrats are focused on turning out “communities of color” in Minnesota, particularly in the areas around Minneapolis that feature large Somali and Southeast Asian populations, according to Ramsey Reid, the Midwestern regional director for the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats are working to ensure that minorities, who are considered more sporadic voters in some cases, comprise more than 8 percent of the Minnesota electorate, Reid said, noting that they made up less than 6 percent in the last midterm elections.

Republicans are focused on trying to bank their own set of “low-propensity” voters in the initial days of early voting, a group identified through several months of on-the-ground work with its expanding network of field staff and volunteers, according to Matt Dailer, the political strategy director for the Republican National Committee.

The RNC has a permanent presence on the ground in Minnesota and 19 other early voting states, he said, noting that the GOP is running a series of nationwide get-out-the-vote tests beginning Oct. 1 to ensure its system is running smoothly.

Minnesota faces an unusually high number of competitive races this fall.

Recent polling gave narrow leads to Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in the special election to fill the final two years of Democratic former Sen. Al Franken’s term, but their Republican opponents were within striking distance.

And four of the state’s eight congressional races are considered tossups. Two of those races, in southern Minnesota’s 1st District and northeastern Minnesota’s 8th District, are for open seats held by retiring Democrats, and they afford Republicans two of their pickup opportunities in the nation. That’s essentially the only place where the GOP is poised to flip a Democratic seat. In the suburban 2nd and 3rd districts, however, Democratic challengers stand good chances of defeating Republican incumbents.

Minnesota Democrats have planned an early vote campaign blitz this weekend with a series of rallies and surrogate appearances featuring people like former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and David Wellstone, the son of the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone.

After a Friday rally at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Smith and other Democrats plan to encourage attendees to hop on the nearby light-rail train and head downtown to vote.

Democratic congressional candidate Angie Craig, who’s taking on GOP incumbent Rep. Jason Lewis in the 2nd District, was planning her own “Early Vote Weekend of Action.”

“This race will come down to who turns out to vote between Friday and Election Day,” Craig told the AP. “We need every Democrat to turn out for this election.”

Minnesota is among 37 states that offer “no-excuse” absentee voting or another kind of early voting this year. Roughly 40 percent of ballots nationwide were not cast in a polling place on Election Day in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Minnesota’s no-excuse absentee voting system has soared in popularity since it rolled out in 2014. Voters don’t have to give a reason for voting early, as some states require, and they can change their minds until a week before Election Day.

“We no longer have an Election Day; we have an election window,” said Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s beginning now.”

___

Peoples reported from New York.

 

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

Congress, Here are the Questions You Should Ask Brett Kavanaugh and His Accuser

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 10:04

SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being called back to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday about new allegations he sexually assaulted a girl in high school. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, may also appear. She teaches psychology at Palo Alto University. 

Ford alleges that when she was 15 and Kavanaugh 17, he pinned her to a bed at a party, attempted to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. She says, "I feared he may inadvertently kill me."

Kavanaugh denies it. He declared in a written statement, "I have never done anything like what the accuser describes -- to her or to anyone." He denied being at the party where the alleged incident took place.

Two men from Kavanaugh’s high school days, Mark Judge and Patrick J. Smyth, who Ford claimed were also present, have denied being at the party. Ford claims that Judge jumped on the bed while Kavanaugh was attacking her, knocking them all off the bed. Judge said in an interview, “I never saw Brett act that way.” 

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Ford wants the FBI to investigate her claims before she testifies. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has rejected her request. Kavanaugh’s supporters think she is lying or mistaken. Democrats think she is telling the truth.

How to find out? Here is a list of questions the Senate needs to ask them both in hopes of getting to the bottom of it.

Questions for Brett Kavanaugh

Have you ever met Dr. Ford? If yes, explain what you remember of your interactions with her.

Did you do what she said? Something like what she said? Something like she said ever?

Did you go to a lot of parties in high school?

Would you get really drunk at parties when you were in high school? 

Did you hang out with Mark Judge or Patrick J. Smythe in high school?

Did you ever see Mark Judge intoxicated?

What did you mean when you said, “What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep?” And, “What happens on the bus, stays on the bus.”

Finally, should anyone be judged on what they may or may not have done when they were kids?

Questions for Christine Blasey Ford

Why didn’t you tell your parents, friends or the authorities after the incident took place?

Why did you wait 30 years to bring up the incident? Why did you bring it up at couples therapy?

In the therapy, you never mentioned the name Kavanaugh. Why not? By then he was a well-known circuit court judge. 

If this incident was so important, why didn’t you let Sen. Feinstein bring up your allegations during the confirmation hearing, or in the 1,238 written questions that were given to Kavanaugh?

Feinstein said about your allegation, “I can't say that everything is truthful. I don't know." Why is she questioning your veracity?

If this is so important, why are you insisting on a full FBI investigation first? How can they investigate when you can remember neither the time nor the place?

You insisted Kavanaugh speak first. To rebutt what? Your therapy notes which he has not seen? Your letter to Sen. Feinstein which he has not seen? Your Washington Post article, which is not your full interview, nor was it under oath?

You must have told some of your friends about the alleged incident. Why haven’t any of them come forward to verify your story? Why isn’t there a single corroborating witness? 

You say he came after you because he was drunk. You also say he would have raped you if he had been less intoxicated. Which is it? Was he attempting to sexually assault you or was he incapable of assaulting you because he was so drunk?

How many drinks did you have? 

If what you said really happened, it is a horrible incident you should remember quite well. Why can’t you remember how you got to the party, where the party was held, how you got home, or what year it took place?

Why is it the details you leave out are the very details that would allow Judge Kavanaugh to prove his innocence?

You said there were two boys in the room where the alleged incident took place, but you told your therapist there were four boys. Why is there a discrepancy?

Is it possible that you are remembering the wrong guy?

Why does Mark Judge, who you named as being present during the alleged incident, say it never occurred? Same with Peter “PJ” Smythe.

And More Questions for Ms. Ford

Why did you hire a Clinton fundraiser to represent you as your attorney?

Why won’t you reveal who paid for your polygraph test and what company performed it?

You claim that you didn’t want to come forward about the alleged incident. If that’s true, why did you pay for a polygraph in August and why did you hire a lawyer in August?"

Why did you scrub your social media? Did it include anti-Trump or anti-Kavanaugh tweets? Any pro-choice tweets or Facebook posts or retweets or reposts? Any “Can’t Let Another Conservative On the Court No Matter What or Roe v Wade is Finished” type posts? How do we know, since you deleted everything? 

Why did your old school take your yearbooks off line? Was it because the yearbooks presented a picture of a school full of binge-drinking party girls? 

You’re a successful professional woman. Do you think it’s fair for you to be judged only by what you may or may not have done as a teenager?

Why did your former classmate Christina King delete her tweet and long Faceb0ok post supporting you? She tweeted later, “not sure I am interested in pursuing [interviews].” She even deleted her entire Twitter account. Why won’t she stick up for you?

King says people at school were talking about the alleged incident. I thought you said you didn’t tell anyone about it at that time?

You said the alleged incident took place during the summer. But King says people were talking about it at school. Why the discrepancy?

What Democrats or Democratic causes have you contributed to?

Finally, given your own liberal views, your liberal activist lawyer’s history of defending Democrats accused of abuse, her connections to Soros-funded groups we know have been paying protesters at the Kavanaugh hearings, shouldn’t we just assume the only reason we’re hear is because Judge Kavanaugh is a conservative?

Ford is a registered Democrat who contributes to Democratic organizations. She signed a letter along with other health professionals to President Trump asking him to stop separating illegal immigrant parents from their children at the border. Many people suspect that she really was sexually assaulted, just not by Kavanaugh.

 

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org.

Are Islam’s Critics Mentally Ill?

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 09:03

We just learned that right-wing French politician Marine Le Pen shared genuine, undoctored images of ISIS atrocities. Actually, she didn't leak them. She just took photos of ISIS torturing and murdering people which those terrorists had posted proudly. She retweeted them, with comments. And now Le Pen is in trouble for it.

The Soviet Union perverted psychiatry to punish and silence dissidents.

The French establishment is desperate to contain populist movements like hers that are skeptical of Islam. In 2017, the mayor of Beziers, a small French town overwhelmed with Muslim immigrants, got in trouble. He'd expressed concern over the "great replacement" of Frenchmen with Muslim Arabs. As BBC reported: "On 5 September [Mayor Robert] Menard said on LCI television: ‘In a class in the city centre of my town, 91% of the children are Muslims. Obviously, this is a problem. There are limits to tolerance.'" Instead of arguing with him, authorities prosecuted him. According to BBC,

[Menard] was fined 2,000 euros for inciting hatred. … French law prohibits data based on people’s religious beliefs or ethnicity.

Menard defended his comments, saying: “I just described the situation in my town. It is not a value judgement, it’s a fact. It’s what I can see.” In addition to the fine, a Paris court awarded EUR1,000 (?850; $1,100) in court costs to anti-racist groups that had brought the case.

But this time the authorities didn't slap Le Pen with a fine. No, they suggested that she might be mentally ill. ZeroHedge reports:

[A] French court has ruled that Marine Le Pen, the leader of the party formerly known as the National Front (now National Rally) and runner-up in last year’s French presidential vote, must undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether “she is capable of understanding remarks and answering questions.”

In other words, the court is treating Le Pen as if being conservative is a mental illness.

Straight from the Soviet Playbook

Historians have exhaustively documented how the Soviet Union perverted psychiatry to punish and silence dissidents. In the 1970s, when it was so hip anymore to openly torture and murder citizens for their political opinions, the sage Marxists in Moscow came up with another idea. "Dissidents aren't wicked capitalists, Tsarist revisionists, fascist agents or Trotskyite saboteurs. Instead, they are mentally ill! How else could someone look around at our great socialist experiment in transforming human nature, and oppose it?"

Indeed. The Soviets' pet psychiatrists duly invented a list of "illnesses" with which to diagnose dissidents, religious Christians, or recalcitrant Zionist Jews. These sicknesses included "philosophical intoxication" and "sluggish schizophrenia." Those who suffered from such syndromes would disappear into mental hospitals run eerily like prisons. Many would never emerge. Others would come out broken, after brutal attempts at "treatment."

Islam and Its Phobia

In America, we often hear about a comparable mental "illness," Islamophobia. (It was invented as a propaganda talking point by the Muslim Brotherhood front group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).) Except that nobody treats it like an illness. It doesn't win you sympathy, as alcoholism might. Instead, elites treat this "syndrome," the way we used to treat "perversions." That's okay though, because now we treat sex delusions such as gender dysphoria as real ("transgender identity"). Dissenters now suffer from “transphobia.” So at least we're keeping things even. For each real disease we normalize, we'll pathologize something normal.

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But let's not be too hard on the French authorities, or the Muslim Brotherhood. As you know, I'm all about empathy, about walking an extra mile in the other person's Guccis.

So let's attempt to empathize with the French judge who's treating Marion Le Pen as a possible lunatic, a threat to herself and others. Here's a thought experiment. Try it at home. It requires no special equipment.

How to See the Emperor’s New Clothes

Do you have a worldview which won't stand up to scrutiny? Do you believe things regardless of evidence? Or even in the teeth of convincing proof that you're wrong? Let's turn up the heat, and say that you don't just treasure these ideas in the warmth of your parents' basement. You can't just trade Facebook posts with fellow true believers about (for instance) the alien "Reptilians" who've secretly run the earth since the time of Neanderthal Man. No, you are a leader. You work in politics.

You butter your bread by convincing thousands, or millions, of people to follow in your footsteps. You've got to keep them in the habit of doing the following things:

Accepting a theory that claims to explain the world, though few or no facts bear it out. Disseminating arguments for your theory that are warm, reassuring, and circular. So they cannot be refuted, once someone has made the act of faith. Conditioning people to filter out a constant flow of evidence that could disprove your theory. Making the public dismissive, contemptuous, or angry toward those who dare to mention such evidence. If that stops working, then actively intimidating, silencing, or prosecuting dissenters -- while maintaining public support, and making the contrarian seem like bullies, censors, and thugs. Do that by convincing the public that dissidents are evil, sick, or crazy. Maybe a nasty blend of all three.

Please, don't get me wrong. I'm not here to criticize you for doing all this. As Pope Francis famously said of the priest who manages his house, who was caught with male prostitutes, "Who am I to judge?" Or as Jesus said, "Now don't be judgmental, guys, ok? Not cool." (1 Gibran: 7, or something)

Spreading Delusions for Fun and Profit

You've got a set of beliefs which you've decided are beneficial. Maybe they give your life meaning. Or they set you apart from the kind of people you disapprove of. Grubby people who dress funny, who went to second-rate schools and drive their junky little cars too slowly in front of you as you try to whiz home from work.

Parties that point to the epidemic of rape, the wave of anti-Semitic attacks, the blatant demands for sharia by Islamist demagogues ... get written off as crazies. Or Nazis. Or vulgar, ignorant relics of an evil, intolerant past.

Perhaps they get you elected, and marginalize your enemies. Possibly, they're vehicles for you to avenge yourself on folks whom you resent. For instance, if you're deeply ashamed of your parents, grand-parents, and the rest of your ancestors. You've learned that most of your nation's heritage was shameful. The good part of its history began, in fact, pretty recently: right around the time you were born. And so, like President Obama, what you want for your country is a "fundamental transformation." It must shed its wicked past, its grimy identity, and remake itself in a bright new image -- for instance, the one you see every few hours in the mirror!

The World Turned Upside Down

Don't knock this method till you've tried it. It worked for the Soviets for decades. Anyone who dared to point out the manifest failure of socialism, or the bankruptcy of Marxism, the emptiness of atheism. … He clearly needed a course or two of electroshock.

And it's working, for now, in Europe. There, parties that point to the epidemic of rape, the wave of anti-Semitic attacks, the blatant demands for sharia by Islamist demagogues ... get written off as crazies. Or Nazis. Or vulgar, ignorant relics of an evil, intolerant past. (In the U.S., elites paint populists like Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, or their supporters with the same broad, slanderous brush.)

There's a reason more people than ever have started calling the EU "the European Soviet Union." It uses similar methods, in pursuit of an equally implausible utopia. And God help its leaders (like Merkel and Macron) if their tactics ever stop working. They will spend their last moments on earth looking at a world turned upside down -- like Benito Mussolini, dangling from a lamp post.

Project Veritas Catches Deep State Redhanded

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 01:49

We’ve long known that unelected leftist bureaucrats embedded in the bowels of the federal government have been lawlessly targeting conservatives and abusing their power to thwart the agenda of duly elected Republican policymakers. The proof keeps pouring in.

The Obama administration’s IRS deliberately discriminated against conservative groups in their applications for tax-exempt status. This isn’t an empty partisan allegation from an imaginary “right-wing conspiracy.” In 2013, an IRS official admitted scrutinizing groups with right wing identifying names, such as “Tea Party” and “patriots.” An inspector general’s report that year confirmed this nefarious practice.

At least two groups of cases were settled in 2017 with the IRS agreeing to a “substantial financial settlement” in one and expressing “its sincere apology” in another. This is the kind of tyrannical behavior that liberals used to care about.

In a case involving the Linchpins of Liberty and some 40 other conservative organizations, the IRS confessed that it used “heighted scrutiny and inordinate delays” and required unnecessary information in its review of applications for tax-exemptions.

In the NorCal Tea Party Patriots case, involving more than 400 groups, plaintiffs contended the IRS used their tax information for improper purposes.

I know opponents of President Donald Trump roll their eyes in ridicule at the mere suggestion of a deep state committed to undermining Trump’s agenda. That’s the stuff of paranoid conspiracy theorists or unhinged Trumpublican tribalists, they say. Well, James O’Keefe, and his Project Veritas, has shown, again, that there is a “there” there.

O’Keefe recently released secret videotapes in which some of these boorish bureaucrats brazenly admit their chicanery, and even brag about it. On Tuesday, Project Veritas released the first of its tapes unmasking these proud pinheads boasting of sabotaging the Trump agenda. The video features State Department employee Stuart Karaffa, a smarmy, self-proclaimed socialist using his government position to resist official Trump administration policies. Karaffa is a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America, bless his heart.

He admits to drafting DSA communications at his worksite. “I’m careful about it,” says Karaffa. “I don’t leave a paper trail, like I leave emails, and like any press s*** that comes up, I leave that until after 5:30. But as soon as 5:31 hits, got my like draft messages ready to send out.” Precious.

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Karaffa’s arrogance is astounding. He says he doesn’t believe he’ll be caught and punished, saying, “Maybe someday I’ll go to board of elections jail, probably not.” But what comes next is way worse and ought to infuriate all federal taxpayers. “I have nothing to lose,” he adds. “It’s impossible to fire federal employees.” He also expresses confidence that none of his superiors will detect his conflicts of interest even though he openly discloses them on his required forms. “Somebody just rubber stamps and it goes forward … I don’t know if (the ethics officer) is all there. He’s so checked out.” Well, that’s comforting.

Most outrageous was Karaffa’s description of his objective toward the administration’s official policies: “Resist everything … Every level. F*** s*** up.”

In the second released video, Project Veritas exposes Department of Justice paralegal Allison Hrabar reportedly using government hardware and software as part of her socialist activism, and Jessica Schubel, former chief of staff for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration, attempting to thwart Trump’s agenda.

Hrabar, also a member of Metro DC DSA, was supposedly one of those who chased Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from a D.C.-area restaurant. That was beyond despicable. Hrabar allegedly uses the LexisNexis search engine on her work computer to find home addresses for DSA protests, such as that of D.C. lobbyist Jeremy Wiley. She reportedly ran his license plate to help locate his home. Hrabar smugly brags that as an employee of the DOJ, “We can’t like get fired.”

Hrabar also reveals that one of her DSA colleagues, who works in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, slows down the process to help people stay on food stamps longer.

Schubel admits on the tape to the existence of “a little resistance movement” within the federal government, and says that her friends at the Department of Health and Human Services give her confidential information before it is officially released. “Yeah. It’s kind of like the Nixon, deep throat type of thing,” she gloats. She further admits, “There’s a lot of talk about how we can like, resist from inside (the Justice Department).”

Isn’t it cute when leftists virtue signal their feigned concern for the integrity of our democratic process? When you hear a leftist complaining about interference with our elections -- or corruption of “our democracy” -- just remember that they are ends-justifies-the-means progressives who care not a whit about lawful elections, only advancing their agenda.

With their persistent lawlessness and overreach, the mavens of the “resistance” have awakened a sleeping giant in grassroots conservatives throughout the nation, and they will come to regret it.

 

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His new book, Jesus is Risen, Paul and the Early Church, will be released Oct. 2, 2018. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com.

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The Charges Against Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Ignored

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 00:49

It is almost impossible to overstate the damage done to America’s moral compass by taking the charges leveled against Judge Brett Kavanaugh seriously.

It undermines foundational moral principles of any decent society.

Those who claim the charges against Judge Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford are important and worth investigating, and that they ultimately, if believed, invalidate his candidacy for the U.S. Supreme Court are stating that:

What a middle-aged adult did in high school is all we need to need to know to evaluate an individual’s character -- even when his entire adult life has been impeccable. No matter how good and moral a life one has led for 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years, it is nullified by a sin committed as a teenager.

No decent -- or rational -- society has ever believed such nihilistic nonsense.

This is another example of the moral chaos sown by secularism and the left. In any society rooted in Judeo-Christian values, it is understood that people should be morally assessed based on how they behave over the course of their lifetime -- early behavior being the least important period in making such an assessment.

These religious values taught us that all of us are sinners and, therefore, with the exception of those who have engaged in true evil, we need to be very careful in making moral evaluations of human beings.

And, of course, we were taught to extend forgiveness when people demonstrate through their actions that they have changed. As a well-known ancient Jewish adage put it: “Where the penitent stands, the most righteous cannot stand.” In other words, the highest moral achievement is moral improvement.

Perhaps the most important principle violated by taking this 36-year-old high school-era charge seriously is the principle of the moral bank account.

Every one of us has a moral bank account. Our good deeds are deposits, and our bad deeds are withdrawals. We therefore assess a person the same way we assess our bank account. If our good actions outweigh our bad actions, we are morally in the black; if our bad actions greatly outweigh our good actions, we are morally in the red.

By all accounts -- literally all -- Brett Kavanaugh’s moral bank account is way in the black. He has led a life of decency, integrity, commitment to family and commitment to community few Americans can match. On these grounds alone, the charges against him as a teenager should be ignored.

So, why is this charge taken seriously?

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One reason is, as I recently wrote, the greatest fear in America is fear of the left -- the fear of what the left will do to you if you cross it. Not fear of God. Not fear of doing wrong. Fear of the left. Offend the left and you will lose your reputation and, quite often, your job or your business.

Another reason is pure, amoral, demagogic politics. No honest American of any political persuasion believes that if a woman were to charge a Democrat-appointed judge such as Merrick Garland with doing to her 36 years ago in high school what Brett Kavanaugh is charged with having done 36 years ago in high school, the Democratic Party and the media would be demanding the confirmation vote be delayed or the candidate withdraw.

A third reason is feminism’s weakening of the American female (and male, but that is another story). A generation ago, a drunk teenager at a party trying groping a teenage girl over her clothing while trying to remove as much of her clothing as possible would not have been defended or countenanced. But it would not have been deemed as inducing post-traumatic stress disorder either.

This weakening of the female is perfectly illustrated by the statement released by Susanna Jones, head of Holton-Arms School, the private preparatory school for girls in Bethesda, Maryland, that the accuser attended. “As a school that empowers women to use their voices, we are proud of this alumna for using hers,” Jones said.

“Empowers women”? Please.

Nearly every woman over puberty has experienced a man trying to grope her (the groping of a pre-pubescent is sexual molestation of a child and an act of evil). My mother was groped by a physician. She told my father about it. My father told the physician that if he were to do it again, he would break his hands. And it remained a family folk tale. If you had told my mother she was a “survivor,” she would have wondered what you were talking about. The term was reserved for people who survived Nazi concentration camps, Japanese prisoner of war camps and cancer survivors, not women groped by a man.

When my wife was a waitress in her midteens, the manager of her restaurant grabbed her breasts and squeezed them on numerous occasions. She told him to buzz off, figured out how to avoid being in places where they were alone and continued going about her job. That’s empowerment.

In sum, I am not interested in whether Mrs. Ford, an anti-Trump activist, is telling the truth. Because even if true, what happened to her was clearly wrong, but it tells us nothing about Brett Kavanaugh since the age of 17. And for the record, I don’t believe her story. Aside from too many missing details -- most women remember virtually everything about the circumstances of a sexual assault no matter how long ago -- few men do what she charges Kavanaugh with having done only one time. And no other woman has ever charged him with any sexual misconduct.

Do not be surprised if a future Republican candidate for office or judicial nominee -- no matter how exemplary a life he has led -- is accused of sexual misconduct … from when he was in elementary school.

 

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in April 2018, is The Rational Bible, a commentary on the book of Exodus. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

The Longest Week: Carolinas Worn Out by Florence

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 23:00

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- As rivers swollen to record levels started to recede Thursday in North Carolina, officials tried to head off potential environmental disasters and prepared for more record flooding downstream in South Carolina.

Roads were still clogged with people trying to make it back to where the floods had creeped back, leaving silty mud on walls and floors. Crews closed some bridges and reopened others as trillions of gallons of water continued its long, meandering journey to the Atlantic Ocean.

Potential environmental problems remained. Duke Energy issued a high-level emergency alert after floodwaters from the Cape Fear River overtopped an earthen dike and inundated a large lake at a closed power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina. The utility said it did not think any coal ash was at risk.

State-owned utility Santee Cooper in South Carolina is placing an inflatable dam around a coal ash pond near Conway, saying the extra 2.5 feet (76 centimeters) should be enough to keep floodwaters out. Officials warned human, hog and other animal waste were mixing in with floodwaters in the Carolinas.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster estimated damage from the flood in his state at $1.2 billion in a letter that says the flooding will be the worst disaster in the state’s modern history. McMaster asked Congressional leaders to hurry federal aid.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he knows the damage in his state will add up to billions of dollars, but said with the effects on the storm ongoing, there was no way to make a more accurate estimate.

Florence is blamed for at least 41 deaths in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Well over half of those killed were in vehicles.

In North Carolina, a familiar story was unfolding as many places that flooded in Hurricane Matthew in 2016 were once again inundated.

Pastor Floyd Benfield walked inside his Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Spring Lake now that the Little River has retreated.

Two years ago, flooding ruined the baseboards and carpet. This year, the water broke the windows, leaving the pews a jumbled mess and soaked Bibles and hymn books on the floor.

“This sanctuary was built in 1909, and it never flooded until Hurricane Matthew,” Benfield said.

In Wilmington, things kept creeping back closer to normal in the state’s largest coastal city. Officials announced the end of a curfew and the resumption of regular trash pickup.

But they said access to the city of 120,000 was still limited and asked people who evacuated to wait a few more days. They also warned people to not get caught off guard as rivers that briefly receded were periodically rising back.

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The storm continues to severely hamper travel. Parts of the main north-south route on the East coast, Interstate 95, and the main road to Wilmington, Interstate 40, remain flooded and will likely be closed at least until nearly the end of September, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said.

More than a thousand other roads from major highways to neighborhood lanes are closed in the Carolinas, officials said. Some of them have been washed out entirely.

In South Carolina, the flood was far from over. The water appeared to stop rising in Nichols, but the town of 360 was almost entirely submerged for the second time in three years.

Jodi Pajaro owned one of the few houses in Nichols that wasn’t flooded in 2016 by the Little Pee Dee and the Lumber Rivers which flow past either side of the town.

She evacuated like the rest of the residents and tenses up each time her cellphone dings. It is frequently pictures from friends who are rescuers riding boats in town. In the last one she saw, the water was maybe an inch or two (2.5 to 5 centimeters) from her front door.

“It doesn’t look good. I am heartbroken,” she wrote in a text.

The flood has been giving so much warning to Horry County, South Carolina, that officials published a detailed map of places that flooded in 2016 and warned those same places were going underwater again.

One man had time to build a 6-foot (1.8-meter) high dirt berm around his house. Rental trucks and flatbeds whisked furniture and valuables out of homes that were still dry in Conway.

The Waccamaw River has started its slow rise in the city of 23,000, and forecasters expect it to swell more than 3 feet (0.90 meters) above the previous record crest by Tuesday, while still rising. Some areas could stay underwater for weeks, forecasters warned.

All that water from Nichols and Conway is heading toward Georgetown County, where five different rivers dump into the Atlantic Ocean. Officials warned more than 10 percent of the county’s 61,000 residents might have to evacuate sometime next week, but called that a worst-case scenario and they couldn’t give any specific forecast.

Authorities planned to start handing out 15,000 sandbags Friday.

“We’re at the end of the line of all waters to come down,” said Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway, as he warned the area may see a flood like it has never seen before.

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Derosier reported from Spring Lake. Associated Press writers Jonathan Drew, Martha Waggoner and Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh; Jeffrey Collins and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Michael Biesecker in Washington and Jay Reeves in Atlanta contributed to this report.

___

For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes.

 

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

Listen to Cory Booker’s Story. Confirm Brett Kavanaugh

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 18:03

He was 15 years old. His drunken female companion and he were "fumbling" on the bed. He put his hand on her breast and "after having my hand pushed away once, I reached my 'mark'," he wrote. The "fumbling" soon stopped as his decency kicked-in and he allowed the young woman to leave.

Observation One: What is done at 15 doesn't define a life at 50.

The young man's name was Cory Booker. He is now a Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey.

Booker deserves credit for recounting his teenage efforts to force himself on a girl, which he did in a 1992 article in a Stanford University student paper. He also merits praise for repenting of his actions. I don't think Booker should resign from the Senate. Nor do I think Brett Kavanaugh should be anything but confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is no excuse for sexual predation. None. Whether drugs or alcohol are involved or not. But the actions of a teenage boy, committed decades ago, are not how a mature man should be judged. Especially one who has lived a life of honorable character, great achievement, and moral principle.

Brett Kavanaugh is such a man.

Observation Two: Follow the Timing

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) received the now-famous letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on July 30. Only now has she revealed it.

She claims Dr. Ford wanted to remain anonymous, but that once the report "surfaced" and "essentially leaked," she published it. The senator says she cannot "recall whether she had contact with the accuser after receiving her letter." Either the Senator has onset dementia or she is lying. Especially since she met with Judge Kavanaugh at length and, as President Trump has noted, never raised the issue of the letter.

This has every hallmark of a "Hail Mary" pass designed to squash the Kavanaugh nomination. The left knows how high the stakes are: the end of abortion-on-demand, which is to American liberalism the key to all that is good, true, and beautiful, as well as a return to constitutional government.

This last scares the left, as it means that they will no longer be able to end-run the people and get what they want through the federal courts. Remember the 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage? By 2012, 32 states -- including California, no less -- had enacted bans on same-sex unions. But then five Supreme Court justices struck them all down. Liberals rejoiced. A new "right" had been found that no one had seen for the previous 226 years.

If Judge Kavanaugh makes to the highest bench, the days of what the late Harvard law professor Raul Berger called "government by judiciary" are probably over. So, he must be stopped at all costs. He sailed through his confirmation hearings. Democrats were desperate. And the forgetful Senator Feinstein's "confidential" letter found its way into the hands of a journalist or two.

This is a classic page out of the Democratic handbook: Anything is permissible, however destructive not only to the persons involved but to our system of government, if it will achieve the desired ends. Friedrich Nietzsche called this "the will to power." His leftist disciples have learned to exercise it quite well.

It's been used before. Remember the Clarence Thomas hearings? Not until they were almost over did Anita Hill felt compelled to come forward and charge him with sexual harassment. Remember Ted Kennedy and Robert Bork? The latter the most distinguished jurist of his generation viciously attacked by a man so disreputable that his own son admitted under oath that he was sometimes embarrassed by his father.

This takes us to:

Observation Three: Let's say Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth ...

She doesn't remember the year the supposed assault happened. How she got to or left the party. Where the party was held. She does remember Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge (now a conservative journalist) as her assailants. Possible? Yes. But 65 women who knew Kavanaugh at the time vouch for his character. He is a well-known advocate for women's professional advancement.

I don't know whom to believe, except that alcohol can induce decent people to do terrible things. Things they might not even remember the next morning. As I wrote earlier, this is not an excuse for assault. It might explain, though, why two credible people have two fundamentally different memories.

Dr. Ford should find out who leaked her letter. She needs to know who is so driven by politics as to place her and her family in the searing glare of klieg lights and public scrutiny. She should tell the Senate Judiciary Committee what she believes about that night 36 years ago. Kavanaugh should too.

And then, the Senate should confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Officials: 3 Killed in Shooting at Maryland Rite Aid Center

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 15:27

ABERDEEN, Md. (AP) -- Three people were killed Thursday morning in a shooting at a Rite Aid distribution center in northeast Maryland, officials said.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the shooting stressed that the number of dead is based on preliminary information. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss details by name and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

A suspect was taken into custody and was in critical condition, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told a news conference.

It appears there was only one weapon, a handgun, that was used and there were no shots fired by responding law enforcement officers, Gahler said. Gahler also said multiple people had been killed and wounded in the shooting, without giving any other details on casualties.

Gahler said the call about shots fired came in from the Rite Aid distribution center at about 9:06 a.m. and deputies and other officers were on the scene in just over five minutes.

“We are so preliminary in this investigation,” Gahler said. “It’s so important that we deal in facts.” He said authorities don’t want to “make it worse” for the families involved by giving out incorrect information.

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The attack came nearly three months after a man armed with a shotgun attacked a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five staff members. Authorities accused Jarrod W. Ramos of attacking The Capital Gazette because of a longstanding grudge against the paper.

The FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an “active shooter situation” and said its Baltimore field office was assisting.

In a tweet, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said his office is monitoring the situation in Aberdeen and that the state stands ready to offer any support.

Susan Henderson, spokesman for the drugstore chain Rite Aid, said the shooting happened on the campus of a company distribution center in Aberdeen. She described it as a support facility adjacent to a larger building.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said that unfortunately, incidents like this are “becoming a too-often occurrence not only in Harford County but in the country.”

___

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

 

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

Prepare for the Wrath of the Pro-Abortion Militants

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 15:23

I recently tweeted, "Regardless of the charges against Justice Kavanaugh, this much is absolutely clear. The frenzied attempt to try to keep him out of the Supreme Court is simply a battle for the 'right' to abort babies in the womb. That’s the bottom line."

Similar sentiments were expressed by Brandon Morse, writing on RedState.com:

The whole reason Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is in the crosshairs of a sexual assault allegation, and a media circus is ensuing, is because the left is 100 percent focused on making sure their ability to abort children and profit from it goes uninterrupted. They can pretend it's about honor and making sure an attempted rapist doesn't get a seat on the highest court in the land, but the left cares very little about sexual assault or abuse.

Is Justice Kavanaugh guilty of an attempted sexual assault 36 years ago? Is his accuser, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, a credible witness? Those are totally separate questions.

The left's opposition to Kavanaugh would be no less intense, no less angry, no less pitched had these charges never been raised. The real issue is abortion.

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To quote Morse again, "This is about Planned Parenthood's ability to keep the money wheel flowing for the Democrats. This is about keeping a narrative alive that without abortion, America would fall apart."

Yes, "Democrats are so desperate to keep abortion alive and well in the United States that they're willing to paint an innocent man as the worst kind of person so that they can continue killing children without trouble."

After Roe

And what would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned? What would happen if "abortion rights" were severely restricted (or entirely removed) from state after state?

All hell would break loose on the streets. Fierce protests would arise. Things would get ugly overnight - and by ugly, I mean very ugly.

A headline from July 12, 2013 on Townhall.com read, "Bricks and Tampons Intended to be Thrown at Pro-Life Lawmakers Confiscated by Police. UPDATE: Jars of Feces Too."

The accompanying article, written by Katie Pavlich, stated that, "Apparently chanting 'hail Satan,' 'f*ck the church,' 'bro-choice' and holding signs that say 'hoes before embryos' just wasn’t enough for pro-abortion protestors in Texas. According to reports on the ground, police have confiscated bricks, tampons, pads and condoms protestors planned to throw at pro-life lawmakers."

Fast forward to October 17, 2017, and a headline on LifeNews stated, "Topless Feminists Throw Firebombs, Tampons and Feces at a Catholic Church to Protest Abortion." (This took place in Argentina.)

Are you seeing a pattern?

So, I ask again: What happens if Roe v. Wade gets overturned? What can we expect?

We can expect fury. We can expect feces. We can expect vitriol. We can expect vandalism. We can expect violence.

Watch this short video of antifa and other leftists stealing and destroying pro-life signs in a Boston park. Then ask yourself: What happens when it's not just pro-life signs that are the issue? What happens when pro-life laws are the issue? What then?

On May 1 of this year, Matthew Vadum reported that Antifa activists in California "protested a campus speech by Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America."

As Vadum reported, the Orange County, Antifa group Refuse Fascism protested,

Because Hawkins' group would outlaw abortion, its members are equivalent to 'Hitler-youth' who want to treat women as 'mere breeders or incubators, subordinate and shackled to a patriarchal order that sees them merely as objects.' Pro-lifers are about 'control over women, not saving lives (as evidenced by their bombings of clinics and outright murder of heroic doctors who provide abortions).

Indeed, "Hawkins 'and the whole fascist program against women and their rights' need to be opposed and the 'entire culture on campuses needs to be shaken up' so students take on 'the grave threat being posed by the Trump/Pence fascist regime.'"

You can be assured that these radical activists believe every word of this rhetoric, which could easily lead to violence. And I repeat: This kind of rhetoric is being used while Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. Antifa activists and their ilk would go absolutely berserk if the laws were dramatically changed.

Shout Your Ideology

To be clear, I recognize that for many women, having an abortion is an intensely difficult moral choice. I'm thinking of a woman in her 20's, reared in a religious home, already raising two little children without a father. Her boyfriend takes advantage of her, she discovers she's pregnant, and she is devastated by the news.

She cannot imagine adding one more child to her household, she struggles with depression and fear, finally deciding to abort her baby after four months.

Her decision was still morally wrong. But this woman is unlikely to join the "Shout Your Abortion" movement or, even less, to hurl feces at a church building.

Put another way, most of the women (and men) raging for the "right" to abort babies do so ideologically. Among them are devout feminists (although the pioneer feminists were reportedly anti-abortion). Among them are a large percentage of atheists. (According to a recent Pew Research report, 87 percent of atheists feel that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.)

Among them are LGBT activists, like those featured in this story describing, "How Queer Women and Nonbinary People Led the Fight to Secure Abortion Rights in Ireland." (According to the congratulatory article, there is a clear "connection between LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive rights.")

Among them are Satanists, like those who led a battle for "abortion rights" in Missouri. Yes, these Satanists claimed that the "rules in Missouri’s strict abortion law violate their religious beliefs."

This is quite the coalition.

The bottom line is that, these examples, which provide just a sampling of the ideological opposition to the pro-life movement, remind us that hell hath no fury like that of the militant pro-abortionists.

Get ready.

Time Running Out for Kavanaugh’s Accuser to Talk

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 11:38

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans are warning that time is running out for Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser to tell Congress about her claim he sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers, even as President Donald Trump called the woman’s allegation hard to believe in one of the GOP’s sharpest attacks on her credibility.

With Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination dangling in the balance, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said his panel still planned a Monday morning hearing that Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford were invited to attend.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote Ford’s attorneys Wednesday that the panel was giving the California psychology professor until 10 a.m. Friday to submit a biography and prepared statement “if she intends to testify” Monday.

It remained unclear, though, whether Ford would attend or if the hearing would occur without her as a drama that has riveted Washington since emerging a week ago was injected with a fresh burst of election-season suspense.

After initially saying through a lawyer Monday that she was willing to appear, Ford has since said she first wants a full FBI investigation of her accusation. Trump and Senate Republicans have been emphatic that an FBI renewal of its background checks on Kavanaugh won’t happen, saying an investigation by committee staff -- which Democrats are boycotting -- is sufficient.

Ford’s demand has been fully backed by Democrats.

Lisa Banks, a Ford attorney, wrote that Grassley’s plan to call just two witnesses, Kavanaugh and Ford, “is not a fair or good faith investigation” and said “multiple witnesses” she did not name should be included.

“The rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth,” Banks wrote.

The standoff left both parties gambling over which of their approaches would appeal to voters in November’s elections, which will determine House and Senate control.

Republican leaders trying to keep GOP senators behind Kavanaugh are offering Ford a chance to describe her allegation, either in a hearing room before television cameras or in private. Republicans have largely stood by Kavanaugh’s denials.

Democrats are casting Republicans as strong-arming a wronged woman, their eyes on a #MeToo movement that has caught fire and exploded the careers of dozens of male titans.

“Republicans are trying to bully her into a rigged hearing,” No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of Illinois tweeted about Ford.

Trump told reporters, “I can only say this: He is such an outstanding man. Very hard for me to imagine that anything happened.”

That remark was noteworthy because most Republicans have handled the question of Ford’s credibility more gingerly. They say they want to give Ford, now a professor at Palo Alto University, every chance to tell her story.

Ford has contended that at a house party in the 1980s, a drunken Kavanaugh tried undressing her and stifling her cries on a bed before she fled.

Republicans are resisting all Democratic efforts to slow and perhaps block what once seemed a smooth path to confirmation that would promote the conservative appeals court judge by the Oct. 1 opening of the Supreme Court’s new term. A substantial delay could push confirmation past the November elections, when Democrats have a shot at winning Senate control, plus allow more time for unforeseen problems to pop up.

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There were signs the GOP’s strategy of planning a nationally televised hearing yet also offering Ford the option to testify privately was keeping possible Republican defections in check. The party controls the Senate 51-49 and the Judiciary panel by 11-10, so it cannot afford GOP “no” votes.

Moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who’s had her share of clashes with Trump, said she hoped Ford would reconsider a decision not to testify and “it’s not fair to Judge Kavanaugh” if she refuses. “Otherwise, there are these very serious allegations hanging over the head of a nominee who has emphatically denied them,” she said on radio WVOM in Bangor.

Going further, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Democrats’ demands for an FBI investigation were a ploy to delay a confirmation vote. “It is imperative the Judiciary Committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken as soon as possible,” the committee member said in a statement.

As for a possible FBI intervention, Grassley said in his letter to Ford’s lawyers, “We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence.”

In a separate letter to Democrats, Grassley wrote that committee aides were “even willing to fly to California, or anywhere else, to meet her.” He also wrote that GOP aides tried to arrange interviews with two other “alleged witnesses.” The letter mentioned no names and committee staff declined to identify them.

 

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Associated Press writers Darlene Superville, Padmananda Rama, Jonathan Lemire, Kevin Freking and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

 

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

It’s Not Kavanaugh. It’s Roe.

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 11:14

I do not know if Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of what he’s accused of doing when he was a teenager. His innocence or guilt is a separate matter.

What I do know is that the anti-Kavanaughs -- i.e. the Left, the Democrats -- could not care less whether he’s innocent or guilty. They do not care what he may have done as an intoxicated teen. Nor are they racing to defend the honor of Ms. Ford.

These, after all, are die-hard supporters of Bill Clinton, who committed adultery in the Oval Office as President. Clinton also remains credibly accused of rape and sexual assault by multiple women, all while he was a married adult, not an immature teenager.

That undying support is also extended to Hillary Clinton, whose “women should be believed” motto only applies to certain women, provided they are accusing the right man.

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Before Clinton, it was the “Lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy who enjoyed the same undying adulation and support. Kennedy literally left a woman to drown, and still he spent decades as the Democrat’s hero. Mary Jo Kopechne died trapped in Kennedy’s car under water, while Kennedy saved his own life and career. And how the people loved him. Manslaughter is such a teensy little mistake.

No, I don’t believe for a nanosecond that the Democrats care one whit about Kavanaugh’s innocence or guilt. Their moral indignation is phonier than a $3 dollar bill. (By the way, does Rep. Keith Ellison still have a job?)

Roe. That’s It. Nothing Else.

This is about abortion. It’s about the larger sexual ideology as well, but abortion first and foremost. This is about nothing more than demolishing a candidate for the Supreme Court whom they did not choose, and who poses a serious threat to their golden idol. Abortion is both sacrament and god.

Any honest observer has to be repulsed by the histrionics displayed during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Screaming women raving like lunatics about one thing: abortion-on-demand. At the thought that they may not be able to extinguish the natural results of their sexual encounters, that the child they help create is a human being they are obligated to protect, the pelvic Left becomes absolutely unhinged. Unhinged is even too inadequate a word. It’s like the behavior of demons about to be exorcised.

A country that shrugs off the evidence of what abortion really is and chants all the louder about “freedom” and “equality” can never claim to achieve either.

A country that shrugs off the evidence of what abortion really is and chants all the louder about “freedom” and “equality” can never claim to achieve either. Roe v. Wade is the litmus test to end all litmus tests. That’s because abortion is the moral “issue” to end all issues. It is uniquely defining of a culture and an individual. People who support the act of butchering the most defenseless and innocent of all human beings, blithely calling it “choice” can hardly plant their flag on a civilized hill.

A nation that considers killing its own children to be the piece de resistance of its fight for empowerment and justice is suffering a suicidal delusion.

Modern Paganism

And that’s precisely what we’ve got here in America. The delusion is so hypnotic and addictive that nothing must be permitted to question it or come against it. There must be sexual pleasure without price. Nothing matters more than sexual gratification. The god of the groin is perpetually unsatisfied and greedy.

They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the harlot in their doings.

-- Psalm 106:36-39

So the modern sophisticated pagans want to continue exposing the unwanted child to birds of prey on a rock in the midday sun. The allegiance they require to abortion-on-demand is no different and no better. Except that today they remove those lucrative brains and organs first. (I guess our ancestors didn't know there was money to be made from baby body parts.)

After 45 years of this demonic delusion, with millions of babies picked apart by vultures in lab coats, along comes the possibility that finally the most sickening injustice of all time may be undone, and the pelvic Left is twelve different kinds of hysterical.

They don’t hate Brett Kavanaugh because of anything he may have done over thirty years ago. Any transgression can be forgiven if fervent devotion to abortion is manifest.

They hate Kavanaugh because they love abortion and he does not. Hell hath no fury like “women’s rights” scorned.

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