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Updated: 11 hours 53 min ago

Amendment to Protect Religious Freedom of Adoption Providers Attached to Appropriations Bill in House

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:05

An amendment to protect the religious freedom of adoption providers was passed by the House Appropriations Committee to be part of the fiscal year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill in a vote Wednesday.

"What occurred today is a milestone," Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.

"Over the course of five years and three Congresses, we've been fighting to advance the Inclusion Act against incredible obstacles," Kelly added. "Now, it's finally going to see its day on the floor of the People's House. This is a win for the entire faith-based child welfare provider community and, most importantly, all the innocent children they serve who are waiting for forever homes."

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The amendment, which passed the committee in a 29-23 vote, would keep child welfare service providers from being discriminated against due to their moral and religious convictions.

Today my colleagues and I of the @HouseAppropsGOP passed my amendment which prohibits the discrimination of child welfare providers based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.

— Rep. Robert Aderholt (@Robert_Aderholt) July 11, 2018

"Faith-based adoption agencies are under attack from left-wing activist groups looking to shut down child-welfare providers that place children according to sincerely held religious and moral beliefs," Heritage Action for America, the lobbying affiliate of The Heritage Foundation, said in a statement supporting the measure.

"In Massachusetts, Illinois, California, D.C., and Philadelphia, adoption agencies such as Catholic Social Services have lost contracts with local governments or have been forced to shut down entirely because they operate on the belief that a child should be placed in a home with one mom and one dad," the statement added.


Reps. Kelly, Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Tom Cole, R-Okla., led efforts to include the measure as an amendment to the fiscal 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill.

Proud to support my colleague @Robert_Aderholt in today's @HouseAppropsGOP markup. He offered an amendment to ensure faith-based adoption & foster care providers are not discriminated against for their religious beliefs. I agree, we must protect religious freedom.

— Chuck Fleischmann (@RepChuck) July 11, 2018

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal that areas like Philadelphia, which announced in March that it stopped using Catholic Social Services' foster care program because it declined to place children with same-sex couples, are infringing on the religious liberties of Americans:

It is abhorrent that jurisdictions like Philadelphia, which are all too willing to provide sanctuary for criminal illegal aliens who threaten our community safety, openly discriminate against religious organizations that provide valuable charitable services to a community.

In fact, they apply a religious litmus test on those organizations in clear violation of the First Amendment. The passage of this amendment is a win for religious freedom and for children who need loving homes.

Kelly, the Pennsylvania lawmaker, also cited Philadelphia as a warning sign and reason why the lack of tolerance for beliefs on marriage and family must be protected:

What has happened in Philadelphia and elsewhere should appall anyone who cares not only about the safety and well-being of kids but also the future of religious liberty.

Like so many other cases, this is not a fight that conservatives or the faith-based community started but it is one that we're ready to win. The left's faith-shaming cannot be permitted to close the doors of one more adoption or foster care center in our country. For all the parents and providers who have been targeted and bullied by activists both inside and outside of government, today's passage is a sign of hope.

Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, told The Daily Signal in an email that the move to protect child welfare service providers is critical to protecting religious freedom for all:

Government should not discriminate against faith-based adoption agencies that decline to perform certain actions that conflict with the beliefs that motivate them to serve needy children in the first place. Protecting the conscience rights and religious liberty of private adoption providers takes nothing away from others.

Indeed, protecting a diversity of private providers and their ability to operate according to their values -- and with families who share those values--makes it more likely that the greatest possible number of children will be connected with permanent, loving families.


Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation's Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel.

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

Why His Female Law Clerks are Among Brett Kavanaugh’s Biggest Advocates

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 10:00

After several women's rights organizations suggested President Donald Trump's pick for the next Supreme Court justice doesn't have the support of women, a group of former female clerks came out to defend their former boss, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

"More than 50 percent of his law clerks have been women," said Jennifer Mascott, a law clerk for Kavanaugh in 2006-2007 who is now assistant professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.

"There was at least one term where I believe all four of his law clerks were women. He has support from all corners and all walks of life," Mascott said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

"There just could not be a more terrific, qualified nominee," she added.

Rebecca Taibleson, who clerked for Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010-2011, described this sliver of the legal profession as "notoriously male-dominated."

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The year after she clerked for Kavanaugh, for example, Taibleson clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time, there were 39 other law clerks at the Supreme Court, she said, but only 13 were women.

Taibleson described that as "pretty typical."

"To get a Supreme Court clerkship, you have to have strong advocacy and support from your appeals court judge, and that's how I got there -- through Judge Kavanaugh supporting me."

That support, Taibleson added in an interview with The Daily Signal, has helped female attorneys in more ways than one:

A majority of the law clerks he has hired have been women, and he goes to bat for them with things like getting Supreme Court clerkships and every job thereafter. And it really shows. His hiring and support of women alone has helped to really diversify the range of Supreme Court clerks and the jobs that tend to follow Supreme Court clerkships.

Despite this, one of the left's leading narratives suggests a Kavanaugh confirmation isn't supported by women -- and would be bad for them.

ICYMI: Trump's White House sent reporters 34 testimonials in support of Brett Kavanaugh. Wanna take a *guess* how many of these testimonials came from women?

ZERO. 100% were men. Definitely no cause for us to worry that #SCOTUSPick is out to undermine our freedoms. pic.twitter.com/C39nsAAqTR

— NARAL (@NARAL) July 10, 2018

Anti-woman interest groups on the right have been waiting for this moment for decades. They will do whatever it takes to roll back our hard-won right to choose. They're ready for this fight. But so are we. Join us: https://t.co/WQMFQNxtbq #DefendRoe

— Women's March NYC (@WomensMarchNYC) July 10, 2018

Hours after Trump announced his choice of Kavanaugh on Monday night, NARAL Pro-Choice America, for example, released a statement suggesting women should be alarmed because of a lack of testimonials about the judge from women. The group tweeted:

"Trump's White House sent reporters 34 testimonials in support of Brett Kavanaugh. Wanna take a *guess* how many of these testimonials came from women? ZERO. 100% were men. Definitely no cause for us to worry that #SCOTUSPick is out to undermine our freedoms."

The Senate includes 17 Democrats who are women and six Republicans who are women. Of the six GOP women, three issued their immediate support:

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a highly-qualified, well-respected justice committed to the rule of law. He deserves a respectful and timely confirmation and I stand ready to offer advice and consent to Judge Kavanaugh as he moves through the confirmation process.

— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) July 10, 2018

Just met #SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh while I was at the @WhiteHouse tonight for @POTUS' announcement. The president made an excellent choice, and I look forward to moving forward with the confirmation process. My full statement: https://t.co/UPH47CmbL7 pic.twitter.com/TnlqRJaC19

— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) July 10, 2018

I was honored to be at the White House when President Trump made the announcement about the Supreme Court. I support his conservative choice! https://t.co/7BzQNR5UhW

— Cindy Hyde-Smith (@cindyhydesmith) July 10, 2018

The remaining three -- Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Deb Fischer from Nebraska -- signaled an openness to Kavanaugh's nomination.

At least nine other former female clerks came forward to publicly praise Kavanaugh both professionally and personally, shedding light on the ways he influenced their careers.

"At the end of my clerkship, my parents sent a short note to Judge Kavanaugh, thanking him for having been such a wonderful boss and mentor to me," said Caroline Edsall Littleton, a clerk in 2011-2012, adding:

Their note very easily could have gone without response, but instead Judge Kavanaugh took the time to write a heartfelt note in return, thanking them for how they raised me. To this day (nearly six years later), my parents still cherish that note. This is the kind of person that Judge Kavanaugh is -- an extraordinarily thoughtful man, who goes out of his way to be kind.

"The year I clerked for Judge Kavanaugh, he had hired four female law clerks -- a first for any Judge on the D.C. Circuit," said Katie Wellington, who clerked for Kavanaugh in 2014-2015.

"Today, he is a mentor to each of us as we pursue careers in public service, private practice, and academia."

Taibleson now lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she works full time in addition to being the mother of three children ages 3 and under. She attributes much of her "still very vibrant career and career prospects to Judge Kavanaugh and his advocacy and support for me since law school," Taibleson told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

"I think there are dozens of women who can say the same," she added.

"I feel very thankful for the opportunities I have had to be able to spend a lot of time with my children and husband, who's great, but then also continue to work in the law," said Mascott, the assistant professor at Scalia Law School. "Judge Kavanaugh, at every step along the way, with whatever process my career was in or work-life balance, has always been a great sounding board to give advice and to keep family at top priority."

As for Kavanaugh's ability to continue his role as an involved father of two young daughters while taking on the responsibilities of a Supreme Court justice, Mascott said she has no doubts:

The great thing about him being on the D.C. Circuit, which is just a court that hears a lot of tough, challenging cases with the big administrative record, is ... he already has a track record so we can already see how he would balance family and work, and I anticipate he would do the same thing at the court as he does currently. ... I think he also brings a sense of efficiency and rigor that enables him to be great at his job and then also spend time with his family.

"He couldn't be a better advocate for women in his actual day-to-day life," added Taibleson, "which I think is the most telling place to look for evidence of this."


Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

Military Photo of the Day: Training on the Orogrande Range

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 09:00

U.S. Army soldiers conduct a live-fire exercise at the Malakhand training village in New Mexico’s Orogrande Range Complex on June 24, 2018.

Thanks to these brave soldiers for serving our country!





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Tone-Deaf Washington Post Column Praises Abortion’s Benefits to Men

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 09:00

“Men should worry about the future of Roe v. Wade, too,” a recent Washington Post headline tells us.

“For decades, men have benefited from the availability of safe and legal abortion. It’s time for men to start taking threats to reproductive freedom personally,” law professor Nancy Leong writes.

Her column is painfully tone-deaf. First, she ignores an important fact: Yes, abortion “benefits” men in a way -- precisely because it absolves them of their responsibility to women and their own children. That doesn’t empower women or anyone. Second, the way she extols abortion for allowing men to live “much better” lives is grossly anti-fatherhood and anti-child.

Abortion Enables Men to Be Selfish

Just last week I called out women who refuse to date or sleep with men who don’t support abortion. “Liberal gals may feel they're setting high standards for potential male companions,” I wrote. “But sadly, they're playing right into the hands of a system that hurts women.”


Why would a man like Hugh Hefner, who built his empire on the male objectification of women, champion birth control and abortion? Because it made it easier for men like himself and his customers to enjoy consequence-free sex. … Such men know that, thanks to abortion, they'll never have to take responsibility for their life-creating act.

Leong confirms all of this, but tries to make it a good thing. She writes:

A partner's abortion has enabled men to finish school, allowed men to pursue their chosen careers, saved men from the loss of a spouse because of medical complications, kept men from economic hardship and spared men the emotional burden of unwanted parenthood.

With exception to avoiding the loss of a spouse, which is a heart-wrenching issue, all of these “benefits” could be summed up this way: “A partner’s abortion has enabled men to be selfish, immature, and shirk their responsibilities.”

Men Equal Decision Makers in Abortion? Not So Fast

Leong also makes this observation: “Research by Arthur Shostak and his colleagues found that about half of women are accompanied to abortion waiting rooms by men, indicating they are involved in the process of choosing and seeking abortion care.”

It’s ludicrous to suggest that simply because a man accompanies a woman to an abortion facility, his involvement is somehow healthy. There’s evidence proving quite the opposite.

Consider this recent investigation by Live Action. It uncovers multiple instances around the nation where sexual abusers -- including fathers -- brought minors to abortion facilities and went unreported. Many of them were able to return home with their victim and continue abusing her for years to come.

Or what about this anecdote in The New York Times?

My now-ex husband drove me to a now-closed clinic, off Route 9 in Boston. I recall sitting behind him in the car ride down -- rather than beside him -- because this abortion was his idea.

We entered the waiting room, where my husband paid for the abortion. For over an hour I wept in a chair beside him. I could not complete the intake form. I could not check off the small box in the lower corner of the page asking about coercion.

Do abortion advocates ever stop to consider how such rhetoric might impact “unplanned” children alive today? Whether their insistence that unplanned pregnancies ruin lives might affect a child’s self-esteem -- or even make them question the value of their own life?

This anecdote isn’t a one-off. It happens a lot. As I wrote last week:

When I discovered I was pregnant, I joined an online forum of other pregnant moms from around the nation who are due the same month as me. In those early weeks, I was shocked at an extremely common post in the forum.

It usually went something like this: I just found out I'm pregnant. My boyfriend says he'll break up with me if I don't abort. I really want to keep the baby, but I'm afraid of losing him. What do I do? …

In one particularly heartbreaking post, a woman shared how the baby's father repeatedly pressured her to abort against her will. It escalated when he threatened to push her down the stairs to kill the unborn child.

But Leong doesn’t talk about any of that. Having a man in the waiting room with the woman they impregnated must be a good thing. After all, getting rid of that unborn child will “greatly benefit” his career, economical and emotional prospects!

What Are “Unplanned” Kids Supposed to Think About Themselves?

Which brings us to the last point. Leong and other abortion advocates often remind us that we all know and care about a someone who has gone through abortion. Something they don’t say? We all know someone -- likely multiple someones -- whose life was “unplanned.” It might be our parents. Our own children. Even us.

Babies surprise parents every year, despite the increased use of contraception. And this is where we get to the meat of what abortion advocates are actually arguing: Our lives, are wishes, our selfish pursuits are more important than the life of the little human we created, because we’re grown and he’s small and easily disposed of.

And if their legal right to dispose of their own child is threatened? Our lives will be ruined!

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The way Leong and other abortion advocates talk, children are the enemy. Do they ever stop to consider how such rhetoric might impact “unplanned” children alive today? Whether their insistence that unplanned pregnancies ruin lives might affect a child’s self-esteem -- or even make them question the value of their own life? What is a child to think if an adult tells them their existence likely ruined their father’s future?

We don’t need men advocating for abortion. We need men advocating for life. Sharing stories of unplanned pregnancies and difficult circumstances -- and how they overcame them for the sake of their child. We definitely shouldn’t encourage more men to capitalize on a system that harms women and children. And that’s unfortunately what Leong’s column does.

Yale Elitists Warn of Deadly Consequences if Kavanaugh is Confirmed

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 01:00

The warning is bleak and dire. "People will die" we are told with gravitas and concern. And the warning comes from the academic elite, from students, faculty, and alumni of Yale University Law School. Yes, people will die if Justice Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed.

This is the latest example of apocalyptic fear-mongering associated with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. To paraphrase the collective hysteria of the left, "Kavanaugh's confirmation would mean the end of the world!"

On the one hand, I hope that many of the left's worst fears are realized. I do hope that journalists like Jay Michaelson are accurate when they announce that, "Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court Pick, Is Probably the End of Abortion Rights and Same-Sex Marriage."

For those unfamiliar with Michaelson, he is hardly an unhinged voice from the left. He is a well-educated gay activist (and rabbi), holding a J.D. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Hebrew University, and his fears are based on Kavanagh's judicial philosophy.

To repeat: I hope that, in this case, Michaelson's fears are realized. I hope that Judge Kavanagh will be confirmed, that he will have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, and that he will make righteous decisions when it comes to marriage and family. May it be so!

“People Will Die”?

Michaelson's voice, however, is almost muted when compared to the rhetoric from his alma mater.

According to the open letter, with roughly 200 signees, "Now is the time for moral courage -- which for Yale Law School comes at so little cost. Perhaps you, as an institution and as individuals, will benefit less from Judge Kavanaugh's ascendent power if you withhold your support. Perhaps Judge Kavanaugh will be less likely to hire your favorite students. But people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it. Please use your authority and platform to expose the stakes of this moment and the threat that Judge Kavanaugh poses." (This letter stands in stark contrast from the glowing review of Kavanaugh published by Yale Law officials.)

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What, exactly, are these "stakes"? What, precisely, is the "threat"? And how, to be specific, will people die?

Note the certainty of this Yale prediction. It is not, "People might die if he is confirmed." It is, "People will die if he is confirmed."

So say these Yale academics.

Are they suggesting that LGBT youth will kill themselves? A gay activist once told me on my radio show that if North Carolina voted to uphold marriage (which it did, by a large margin, until being overruled by the courts) that "gay teens will be jumping off bridges."

Those of us who stand for biblical sexuality are often told we have blood on our hands, meaning, the blood of gay youth who are presumably driven to despair by our message of "hate."

Is this what the Yale warning implies?

Perhaps it is talking about immigrants who will not be able to make it across our borders as they flee from drug cartels and other murderous groups. Is this what these academics have in mind?

Some of these issues are touched on in the open letter, and so the warning could be quite broad-based in its intent: Gay teens will die because same-sex "marriage" will be reversed. Aspiring immigrants will die because our borders will be closed. Kids will be massacred in schools because gun rights will be upheld."

But there's no reason to speculate. The Yale signees have made themselves crystal clear. While they are concerned about environmental issues and various social concerns, there is a primary reason they write that, "Judge Kavanaugh's nomination presents an emergency -- for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country."

They Want to Protect Roe v. Wade, Guaranteeing People Will Die

They are concerned about abortion (and contraception), and they see in Kavanagh's rulings "an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue intent on rolling back our rights and the rights of our clients."

Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, the blood will certainly flow, presumably as a result of back-alley abortions.

And it is there that we have the profound irony of this open letter -- or should I say its startling hypocrisy? These Yale elitists have stood reality on its head.

The issue is not that people will die in the future. The issue is that, as a result of Roe v. Wade, people have died. Tens of millions of them. More than the populations of our 20 biggest cities combined. More than the population of England.

More than 60 million people have died -- little people, tiny people, defenseless people, innocent people -- as a result of Roe v. Wade.

Should Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed, and should he rule as we pray he will, the day might well come when "people will live" as a result of the Court's decisions.

It is my heartfelt prayer that we will live to see a culture of life arise in our nation. I also pray that many of the Yale signees will live long enough to realize the error of their ways and foolishness of their concerns.

Hopefully, people will live, not die, if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

Teen Whose MAGA Hat was Ripped Off His Head Gets an Even Better One

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 00:23

President Donald Trump gifted a San Antonio teen with a new autographed "Make America Great Again" hat after his first one was ripped from his head while he dined at a Texas Whataburger.

The July incident was captured in a now-viral video when Kino Jimenez, 30, allegedly stole 16-year-old Hunter Richard's hat before throwing a drink on him and said, "This is gonna go right in my f**king fireplace, b*tch."

Jimenez was later arrested for the crime and subsequently fired from his job.

#Update: Teen who made national news after having #MAGA hat stolen at a San Antonio fast food restaurant just got this in the mail. A hat signed by @realDonaldTrump.

See the video: https://t.co/LAUcjERTNc @News4SA @KABBFOX29 pic.twitter.com/akzNSp4ps8

— Joe Galli (@JoeGalliNews) July 11, 2018

Donald Trump Jr. retweeted an article from The Daily Caller and offered his assistance in replacing Richard's MAGA hat with a new autographed one.

If someone can get me this young man's information I'll get him a new #maga hat… SIGNED by #potus!!! https://t.co/zHBz4gKpkf

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 5, 2018

Richard reiterated his support for Trump. "I support my president and if you don't let's have a conversation about it instead of ripping my hat off," he told WOAI-TV.

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Thailand Cave Rescue to be Immortalized on Screen

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 22:30

The miraculous rescue of 12 Thai boys and their coach glued people the world over to their TV screens. Now the harrowing tale is heading to the big screen.

According to Huffpost, Pure Flix co-founder and CEO Michael Scott is already gunning to secure the movie rights. In fact he has a vested interest in the story 

Close to the Action

Scott is partially based in Thailand. According to Variety, Scott personally witnessed the drama to save 12 boys and their coach after they were trapped underground on June 23. For four days, he helped at the rescue scene. The rescue, racing against rising waters, took place July 8-10.

Said Scott, "The bravery and heroism I've witnessed is incredibly inspiring, so, yes, this will be a movie for us.”

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The entertainment company behind such faith-based hits as Do You Believe, God's Not Dead and The Case for Christ hopes to honor those involved in the rescue and inspire people with their story. "We're here witnessing the events and gathering some contact information to really tell a story about the entire world coming together to save 13 kids trapped in a cave on the Chinese border,” he said.

A Desire to Honor the Heroes

The company has already begun talking to actors, producers and partners to get on board with the project, Pure Flix co-founder David A.R. White told The Wall Street Journal.

It is a story of faith and community. It is the story of sacrifice: of a coach who gave his food to his boys, and a Thai Navy SEAL who gave his life.

It’s also a story Scott knows personally.Scott’s wife was a childhood friend of Sgt. Saman Kunan, who died bringing oxygen to the trapped boys. She helped plan his funeral. 

The Drawbacks to the Limelight

But the story doesn’t end with the rescue. It doesn’t necessarily end happily for the rescued.

Reuters noted the story is eerily similar to that of 33 gold miners in Chile trapped underground for 69 days in 2010. The story received worldwide publicity, including the 2015 movie The 33. However, little publicity has been given to the horror the rescued men experienced afterwards. Most suffered psychological breakdowns, anxiety and unemployment in following years.

Luis Urzua, former mine foreman and member of the trapped crew, tutored the Thai media on how to handle the cave escape. He cited concerns of shock and maladjustment to normal life. He endorsed keeping boys’ identities private until they can "reintegrate with their former environment."

Urzua also urged the boys to beware the fame they will receive from now on. Hollywood players in addition to Pure Flix are already interviewing witnesses and volunteers at the scene of the rescue, according to Reuters.

The Filmmakers Work

Filmmakers have their work cut out in securing rights from the boys and their families and gathering funding for expensive underwater filming. They will also have to choose an angle from which to tell the tale.

"Clearly the children are the heart of the story," literary agent Judi Farkas said. "We don't yet know who led the rescue effort. We don't have enough details of the story yet to know whose point of view to tell it from."

It is a sensitive topic, and Pure Flix hopes tell a story that both entertains and tells a true story, said Variety. White emphasized that the goal is to honor those involved, rather than exploit them for fame.

With the correct balance, the company hopes to immortalize the three weeks which turned the heads of the world.

Judge Rejects Parents’ Request to Change Their Daughter’s Name to Fit Male Identity

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 21:59
A set of Ohio parents tried to change their daughter's name to a male name to match her new identity, but a judge denied their request.

Cincinnati parents Leigh and Kylen Whitaker requested an appointment with a state judge to have their daughter's name, Heidi, changed to Elliott, WKRC Cincinnati first reported. They were told by other parents that the hearing was largely a formality and a method whereby the judge could ensure the name change request wasn't an attempt to commit fraud.

"We thought it was just a formality," Leigh said, WKRC reported.

Judge Joseph Kirby denied the name change request on June 22 following the hearing. He wrote in his decision that "children change significantly and rapidly," and that Heidi can request a name change when she is an adult.

"Age. Develop. Mature," the judge wrote.

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Heidi declared she was transgender in 2017 and has been undergoing therapy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital's transgender clinic.

"We did do a lot of therapy to make sure that this was something that was real," Heidi's mother also said.

"The judge met with us for 15 to 20 minutes and then decided that he knew better than the parents and the doctors and our child. We just don't feel that's right," said Kylen Whitaker.

The parents pointed to the importance of changing Heidi's name before it appears on her driver's license and college applications.

Heidi's name change request was not the only request the judge turned down. Kirby refused two other requests the same day involving young children with gender dysphoria seeking to change their names. The judge has granted other requests previously.

The case now rises to the 12th Circuit Court of Appeals for a hearing.

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The Latest on POTUS Trip to Europe: Trump Talks Military Ties with Polish President

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 20:50

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The latest on President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe (all times local):

10:10 p.m.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and President Donald Trump have spoken on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels about strengthening military cooperation.

The talk Wednesday comes as Poland is lobbying to have thousands of American troops permanently stationed in Poland as a deterrent against a resurgent Russia. According to news reports in Poland, the Warsaw government has offered up to $2 billion to help build the infrastructure for the permanent deployment.

The head of Duda’s office, Krzysztof Szczerski, told the state Polish news agency PAP that the leaders spoke “mainly about military cooperation, including the strengthening of Polish-American military cooperation in the field of equipment and cooperation of military units.”

The meeting marks a significant improvement of ties between the two countries after Poland recently softened a controversial Holocaust speech law that the U.S. had strongly opposed. Poland scrapped the threat of prison terms for claiming Poland is co-responsible for the Holocaust, but civil penalties can still apply.


7:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner for NATO leaders in Brussels.

The gathering comes just minutes after Trump tweeted “what good is NATO” amid a day of grievances about the decades-old alliance.

The Trumps arrived at the Art and History Museum at the Cinquantenaire and first mingled with other leaders at a cocktail reception.

Neither Trump took a drink as they chatted with other heads of state. The president does not drink alcohol.

The Trumps were seen mingling with German Chancellor Angela Merkel hours after the president had criticized Germany for making a gas pipeline deal with Russia. They also spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) of Turkey.

The leaders then posed for several group photos and took in an acrobatic performance before entering the dinner reception.


7:30 p.m.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg  is sidestepping questions about whether President Donald Trump has asked his allies to double their defense spending ambitions.

At a NATO summit in Brussels Wednesday, Trump suggested that U.S. allies should commit to spending 4 percent of their GDP on defense, up from the current goal of moving toward 2 percent by 2024.

Asked about Trump’s suggestion, Stoltenberg said he’ll focus on what’s been agreed to. Says Stoltenberg: “We have agreed that we’re committed to the pledge increasing defense spending to 2 percent. So let’s start with that.”

Around eight members of the 29-country military alliance are expected to reach the 2 percent target this year.

Trump’s biggest target for criticism, Germany, predicts that it will be spending 1.5 percent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.


7:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is escalating his criticism of NATO while he is in Brussels for a summit with alliance leaders.

In a Wednesday tweet after a day of meetings, in which he lashed out at allies for insufficient defense spending, Trump calls on member nations to immediately boost spending.

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Trump tweets: “Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”

Contrary to Trump’s assertion, NATO nations committed in 2014 to spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense, but only by 2024.

Trump also tweets: “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?” Trump earlier claimed that Germany was “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia” over a natural gas pipeline.


7:20 p.m.

The second most-powerful Republican in the U.S. Senate says he is sympathetic to President Donald Trump’s assertion that Germany is “captive to Russia” because of its dependence on Russian natural gas and other energy sources.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn says he also wishes Germany “would step up and meet their responsibilities under NATO.” Cornyn says it’s pretty clear Germany has decided its relationship with Russia is important to them because Russia is their source of energy.

Cornyn said Trump was right to ask whether Germany is “perhaps pulling their punches” with regard to its support for NATO because of its dependency on Russia.

Cornyn says he understood what Trump was getting at with his use of the word “captive” but would not have used that specific word himself.


7:15 p.m.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is defending NATO as “indispensable” after President Trump roiled a gathering of the alliance by sharply criticizing Germany.

The Wisconsin Republican says Trump is right to push NATO members to meet their defense spending obligations. But Ryan adds that the military alliance is “as important today as it ever has been.”

Trump lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit in Brussels. He claimed that Germany is “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” because of an oil and gas pipeline.

Asked if he agreed with Trump, Ryan said he’s mentioned “those same concerns” to European leaders about the pipeline, which carries natural gas from Russia to Europe.


7 p.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis is heading to Brussels later Wednesday as part of the recently relaunched Senate NATO Observer Group. The group was re-established earlier this year with Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire in a show of bipartisan support for the alliance.

Tillis says “we have to let them know that Congress is supportive of NATO.”

The North Carolina lawmaker adds that he supports President Donald Trump’s goal of trying to get investment levels up, but says the “broader relationship” could benefit from some re-examination. He says he sees where Trump is trying to go, but suggests he maybe would use “different tactics.”

And on Trump’s comments about Germany, Tillis says he “wouldn’t have said that.”


6 p.m.

President Donald Trump has suggested that NATO allies commit to spending 4 percent of their GDP on defense, up from the current goal of 2 percent by 2024.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirms Trump raised the idea at a closed-door meeting with fellow NATO leaders Wednesday in Brussels.

It’s unclear by what date he’d like to see the increase.

Trump has been pressing member countries to spend more on defense, accusing them of freeloading off the U.S.

NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.


5:10 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is defending NATO as “indispensable” after President Donald Trump roiled a gathering of the alliance by sharply criticizing Germany.

The Wisconsin Republican says Trump is right to push NATO members to meet their obligations. But he adds that the military alliance is “as important today as it ever has been.”

Trump lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a summit in Brussels. He claims that Germany is “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” because of an oil and gas pipeline.

Ryan was asked if he agreed with Trump about that, and said he believes lawmakers should not criticize the president when he is overseas.


5 p.m.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch says he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s assertion that Germany is “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia.”

The longest serving Republican U.S. senator says: “I don’t agree with that. Germans wouldn’t agree with that. They are a very strong people.”

Hatch met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when he traveled to Berlin last week. In Washington on Wednesday, he says: “I have the highest opinion of her. I think she’s one of the great leaders of this world.”

Trump was openly critical of Germany as a NATO summit opened in Brussels, objecting to a pipeline that would bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany and calling on the NATO ally to increase its spending on defense.


4:45 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s assessment that Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia because of an oil pipeline.

Macron was asked about Trump’s assertion Wednesday as the leaders sat down for talks while both are attending a NATO summit in Brussels.

Trump has been hammering France and other European countries over their defense spending, as well as over trade deals he says are unfair to the U.S.

But Trump told reporters in the room for part of the meeting that he and Macron have a “tremendous relationship” and that it was an “honor to be with a friend of mine.” He added that “hopefully in the end it will all work out.”

Macron also recalled Trump’s trip to Paris last year for a Bastille Day celebration and said they’ll continue to work together.


4 p.m.

President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have met after the U.S. leader publicly lambasted the longtime ally over its spending on national defense and a Russian oil pipeline. Sitting down in Brussels, where both are attending a NATO summit, Trump described it as a “great meeting.”

He says they discussed defense investment and trade, adding: “We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.”

Merkel said she raised issues of migration and economic development with Trump.

Trump asserted earlier Wednesday that Germany is “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” because of a pipeline project. Trump told reporters that the pair discussed the pipeline during their meeting. He did not elaborate.


3:20 p.m.

U.S. first lady Melania Trump is visiting a music academy near the Belgian capital as her spouse and other world leaders attend a NATO summit.

Trump, who is accompanying President Donald Trump on a weeklong trip to Europe, stopped Wednesday at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo, near Brussels.

The 48-year-old Trump wore a navy blue Calvin Klein calf-length dress with white and green detail on the lapel and white Louboutin heels with their trademark red soles.

The spouses were welcomed to the music center by Amelie Derbaudrenghien, the partner of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and Ingrid Schulerud, the wife of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. They toured the center and attended a piano and violin concert.

Other participating first ladies include Brigitte Macron of France and Emine Erdogan of Turkey.


3 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s thinking about American farmers even as he meets with NATO allies in Brussels.

Trump says in a two-part tweet Wednesday that he’s “in Brussels, but always thinking about our farmers.”

Critics have warned that Trump’s antagonistic trade moves will harm American farmers who grow crops like soybeans.

But Trump says “Farmers have done poorly for 15 years” and blames “Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs” for “destroying their businesses.” He’s pledging to open “things up, better than ever before” but says “it can’t go too quickly.”

Trump says “I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!”

The tweet came as Trump attended a closed-door meeting of the North Atlantic Council. Staffers often send tweets for the president.


2:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is participating in a welcome ceremony with fellow NATO leaders at what’s expected to be a fraught meeting of the military alliance.

Trump was spotted chatting with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during public portions of the opening.

But he appeared to steer clear of German Chancellor Angela Merkel hours after claiming her country was controlled by Russia. He also walked far behind the leaders of the U.K. and Canada during a walking tour of NATO headquarters.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is stressing the need for the allies to stick together, saying, “We owe our success to our unity.”


12 p.m.

President Donald Trump is set to meet Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hours after he publicly claimed that the longtime U.S. ally is “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump will reiterate his public criticism of Merkel during their pull-aside on the margins of the NATO summit in Brussels.

Trump fumed during a Wednesday meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that a Russian natural gas pipeline project in Germany is “very inappropriate” as he criticized European countries’ contributions to the mutual-defense alliance.

Sanders says Trump will also meet Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron.


11:20 a.m.

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II will welcome President Donald Trump and his wife Melania at Windsor Castle where they will watch a military march before having tea on Friday.

The palace said Wednesday the president will be greeted by an honor guard formed of the Coldstream Guards and will receive a royal salute before the U.S. national anthem is played.

Trump and the queen will review the honor guard before watching a military parade. Trump and his wife will then have tea with the queen inside the castle.

The palace did not specify if the queen’s husband Prince Philip would attend. The 97-year-old Philip has retired from public duties but sometimes appears in public with the queen.

The visit is part of Trump’s first trip to Britain since becoming president.


9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is asserting that Germany is “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” over a pipeline project during a testy breakfast with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump is taking issue with the U.S. protecting Germany when the European nation is making energy deals with Russia.

The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would double the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany, skirting transit countries such as Ukraine. The project is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members.

Trump says of Germany: “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia” and yet you make this deal with Russia.

Stoltenberg pushed back, stressing that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences.


9:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is pressing NATO allies to bolster their defense spending as he opens talks with leaders of the military alliance. Trump says the disproportionate defense spending an “unfair burden on the United States.”

Trump says at the start of his meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that “because of me” NATO has raised more than $40 billion in defense spending.

Trump says, “So I think the secretary general likes Trump. He may be the only one but that’s OK with me.”

The U.S. president has called upon NATO allies to meet commitments to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

Stoltenberg says “a strong NATO is good for Europe.”


8:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a summit of the military alliance.

Trump is expected to continue questioning wary NATO allies about their military spending during talks in Brussels.

He tweeted en route from Washington that European counties “want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!”

Trump’s day will include a welcome ceremony, a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and a working dinner with some of the same leaders he berated over trade during his last world leaders’ summit in Canada last month.

Brussels is the first stop of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in the United Kingdom and a meeting in Helsinki with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.


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

Mystery of Liberal Church Decline

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 20:00

Do churches decline without reason as though captive to impersonal forces of nature?

Perhaps so. At least according to a recent article in Minneapolis Star-Tribune. It reviews dying Mainline (i.e. liberal Protestant) Churches in Minnesota. There are a couple cryptic references to growing evangelical churches. And the Catholic Church's in-state membership has nearly held steady amid national growth.

But the contrast between receding liberal churches and more vibrant traditional ones is never explored.

Unsurprisingly, this indifference to cause and contrast is common among Mainline Protestant elites. They routinely ignore or minimize their half century of perpetual decline. At their recent denominational conventions, both the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church USA largely pretended all was well. Meanwhile, they doubled down on radical political, theological and sexual stances.

These stances are unmentioned in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune piece. It states:

Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota's mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.

It notes United Methodism in Minnesota since 2000 has lost 35 percent of members, compared to 17 percent nationally. The Presbyterian Church USA in Minnesota has lost 42 percent, commensurate with the national church. And the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Minnesota has lost 22 percent, compared to 30 percent nationwide.

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The article reports church closings in Minnesota are "leaving a void in communities where churches frequently house child care, senior programs, food shelves, tutoring and other services." Sadly, no doubt.

Church attendance is plunging nationally. Remaining worshipers are increasingly white headed, the article asserts. It makes America sound like Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. It further reports that the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA and United Church of Christ have lost nearly half their memberships nationally since 1990. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has lost one third.

Growth in ‘Smaller Evangelical Denominations’

Very briefly, the article admits:

Not every denomination or church is fragile. Some smaller evangelical denominations in Minnesota, such as Assemblies of God, and some megachurches report continued growth.

Then it insists: “But as a whole, even membership in the evangelical churches has plateaued, according to the Hartford Institute and other studies.”

Of course, "plateaued" is not the same as dying. And why is the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination growing? According to its website:

The USA AG has experienced 27 consecutive years of growth in adherents. The Fellowship is 54 percent under the age of 35 and more than 42 percent ethnic minority.

These numbers contrast sharply with dying Mainline churches with nearly all white, white-headed, congregations. The Assemblies of God with 3.2 million members is now larger than five of the seven Mainline denominations. And it's larger than the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church USA combined.

What about those growing megachurches the article briefly cites? How did they become "mega" if religion is dying in Minnesota? Such questions go unanswered. Instead, there is a long litany of vignettes from shrinking and shuttered churches leaving a trail of tears and despondency. The cause of their demise is never explored.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune never mentioned that most of Mainline Protestantism is theologically liberal. Or that it largely shuns evangelism in favor of political and social causes.

"Church was a bedrock of daily life," the article mournfully observes. "Its absence leaves a large gap -- spiritual, social, emotional -- that for many seems almost impossible to fill."

Meanwhile, there's another cryptic reference to an apparent exception to church death in Minnesota. A Lutheran church that is closing is still hoping "for a positive ending. They are pleased that a nearby church without a building has made an offer on their property."

Hmmm, a congregation without a building implies it is a relatively new church plant. Perhaps it is renting space from a school or another church. But now its congregation apparently has sufficient members and finances to buy an existing church building. Who is this mysteriously growing church? And why are they thriving while the Lutheran church is closing?

Again, more unanswered questions. Perhaps the answers would disrupt the narrative of inevitable church death, in Minnesota and ultimately nationwide.

Answers at the Church Conventions

The article focuses on Catholic churches closing in Minnesota. It admits that their two percent membership loss in state is far below Mainline Protestant losses. And the Catholic Church nationwide has grown 14 percent nationally since 2000 while Mainliners lost one third of members. Why?

Answers to some of these mysteries might be found at the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly meeting last month and the Episcopal General Convention meeting this month. At their current rates of decline neither denomination will exist in 20 years. Yet neither convention focused on evangelism or church growth. Episcopalians debated whether to compel a handful of dissenting traditional dioceses to host same sex nuptials. They also discussed editing their liturgies to become more gender neutral. Presbyterians denounced Israel and USA border policies, opposed religious liberty in favor of LGBTQ and abortion rights, and pondered whether to divest from fossil fuels. A senior church official claimed there's increasing excitement in their denomination over " justice" issues. No doubt. They lost 68,000 members last year.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune never mentioned that most of Mainline Protestantism is theologically liberal. Or that it largely shuns evangelism in favor of political and social causes. So lack of new church members should be no surprise. Particularly interesting is that United Methodism in Minnesota, more liberal than elsewhere, has declined twice as fast as nationwide.

Nor did the newspaper mention that Mainline denominations, after abandoning Christian sexual teachings, suffered schisms and accelerated membership losses. Instead, the liberal Mainline's implosion is conflated with religion's overall collapse. The wider story is more complex and not as sad.

But the article is right that declining historic churches have left an enormous social and cultural void not easily filled. Their demise is a tragic loss to Minnesota and America. Traditional churches are growing. But they can't easily replace denominations that after two or more centuries of stately service are now committing virtual suicide.

A New Explanation for the Rise of LGBT Leads to a New Strategic Response

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 18:00

For at least a decade now, I've been trying to discern the forces that advanced the LGBT movement so rapidly. I was astonished at the speed with which transgenderism was adopted -- especially by American business leaders. Darel E. Paul’s First Things article on “Culture War as Class War” has helped me understand it as well as anything I've seen.

Entry into society’s elite has always required signing on to some set of social norms, says Paul. In early to mid 19th century in America, those norms were largely conservative Protestant and anti-Catholic. Later they shifted toward liberal Protestantism. In the early 20th century they were largely defined by acceptance of contraception.

Support for LGBT has become essential to acceptance into elite circles. Which explains a lot.

That didn’t last, though. Paul tells us, “In his popular anti-Catholic book American Freedom and Catholic Power, published in a second edition in 1958, Paul Blanshard noted that ‘birth control has won both acceptance and respectability in the United States. Almost all well-to-do people in the country practice it.'” Note: “well-to-do.” Contraception became nearly universal, however, which stripped it of its value in defining elite status.

As late as Blanshard’s 1958 book, elites supported "eugenic sterilization" of those who are "diseased, feebleminded, and a menace to normal community life." But eugenics became disreputable and embarrassing. Hardly anyone remembers today how popular it once was.

The New Elite-Defining Value

So something else had to replace these values in defining the elite. Fast forward to today: Moral acceptance of homosexuality and transgender has become one of the clearest means to distinguish between the elites and the "deplorables." It’s no coincidence that the first time Hillary Clinton slipped up and spoke this word in public, she was at a meeting with LGBT supporters at an elite New York restaurant.

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Support for LGBT has become essential to acceptance into elite circles. Which explains a lot.

It certainly makes sense of big business and even big sports jumping on board with it. ESPN has fired commentators who have resisted. The NCAA and dozens of other businesses cried “Boycott!” when North Carolina called for sane bathroom policies. Sports and business may both have conservative heritages, but they’re also run -- in their corporate offices and perhaps especially on their boards -- by people who crave elite acceptance.

The Great and Deceitful Motivator

It’s an extremely powerful motivator. As C. S. Lewis wrote in “The Inner Ring,”

I believe that in all men's lives at certain periods, and in many men's lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside. ... "Charles and I saw at once that you've got to be on this committee." A terrible bore... ah, but how much more terrible if you were left out! It is tiring and unhealthy to lose your Saturday afternoons: but to have them free because you don't matter, that is much worse.

It is a motivation, Lewis suggests, which leads men to become scoundrels. Not suddenly, not obviously, and certainly not from any motive to scoundrel-hood, but simply not to be excluded from the elite.

The essay is brilliant enough, but to catch the full weight of what he’s saying, you must read his novel That Hideous Strength, which portrays a young man's struggle with the "inner ring" impulse. It should be required reading in Christian high schools and colleges, for just that reason.

So Teach Humility, Too

C. S. Lewis aside, Paul’s article suggests that we would be wise -- especially with our youth -- to wage our fight for true morality on two fronts, not just one. We do need to tell them what Scripture says is right and wrong. We need to explain the same thing from natural law, which is just common human experience combined with careful reflection. These two combine as one front in our battle: teaching what’s morally true and morally good.

Along with this, though, we must also teach Christian humility. The urge to join the Inner Ring is deceitful, as Lewis shows, for there is no such thing as arriving there and being satisfied. The humble know this already; if the proud ever learn it, it’s the hard way.

It’s also unloving in ways no Christian mom or dad could possibly want their child to become. For the Inner Ring cannot exist without an outer darkness for the majority who don’t quite measure up, people who “aren’t quite as good as we are,” people to look down upon. Deplorables, in a word.

Western Colonialism Did Some Good

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 16:08

Those who lived where the Aztecs once ruled must thank God for Western colonialism. If it wasn’t for the glorious religion of the Spanish, Mesoamerican governments might still be cutting the beating hearts out of prisoners.

That good -- the ending human sacrifice -- came from Western colonialism. Yet to say that any good came from colonialism is academic heresy. To speak it is a felonious thought crime and an offense worthy of banishment from the Ivory Tower. Professor Bruce Gilley learned this when he published the peer-reviewed article, “The Case for Colonialism” in Third World Quarterly, in which he praised the real accomplishments of Western colonialism.

Academics reacted to the article in their usual calm fashion. Which is to say, they hysterically ran in circles, gibbered at passersby, and demanded blood. Petitions were launched. Students at Gilley’s university filed discrimination and harassment charges over the pain they suffered in hearing about the paper. Who knows how many actually read it. Threats of death were made against Gilley’s publisher. The paper was withdrawn. 

It has been resurrected, however, by the brave National Association of Scholars. It may and should be read at their site.

Heads and Hearts

Gilley investigates countries which benefited from colonialism, like Singapore, Botswana, and Belize. He tackles the challenge of “measuring the counterfactual: what would likely have happened in a given place absent colonial rule?”

His approach is scholarly and deep. But it misses some low-hanging skulls. Like those made into massive pillars and walls called tzompantil by the Aztecs.

Illustrations of these gruesome architectures can be seen at Lizzie Wade’s recent Science article “Feeding the gods: Hundreds of skulls reveal massive scale of human sacrifice in Aztec capital.

Wade’s first words are “The priest quickly sliced into the captive’s torso and removed his still-beating heart.”

Now that sounds like the sort of thing that needs discouraging. But Wade urges us not to judge. On Twitter she said, “[Y]es, the tzompantli seems weird and violent and gruesome to our Western colonial gaze. But don’t for a second think that’s the only way to see it, or the ‘right’ way to see it.”

Western colonial gaze? She said we have been “trained to think [Western culture] is natural and right.” Just as the Aztecs thought it swell to engage in stone-scalpel surgery. She continued:

It’s hard for me to imagine that people *wanted* to be sacrificed, but that’s my own biases and cultural conditioning talking. How I see the world, filtered through centuries of colonial oppression and destruction, is irrelevant to understanding how they saw the world.

Don’t Judge Me For Judging You

Wade fights against saying wholesale slaughter to non-existent deities is bad. She thinks we should be non-judgmental. But that implies the cultural attitude of not judging human sacrifice is superior to the cultural (and colonial) attitude that human sacrifice is evil and should be stopped. This proves she believes some cultures are superior to others. Indeed, it is impossible not to believe some culture is superior. Not necessarily on all matters, of course, but some.

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If some cultures are superior, it is not wrong in principle for one culture to assert its values over another’s. At least under certain conditions. And as sometimes happened during the colonial period.

Don’t Forget the Marshmallows

People not embarrassed of colonialism used to quote General Sir Charles James Napier. He was the Colonial Governor of Scinde, India, in the mid 1800s. Napier disliked the Indian religious practice of suttee. This is where the live widow of a deceased man was burned to death on her late husband’s funeral pyre.

Napier’s brother Sir William said Napier “made it known that he would stop the practice.”

The priests said it was a religious rite which must not be meddled with -- that all nations had customs which should be respected and this was a very sacred one. The general affecting to be struck by the argument replied. “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

What Sir William said next proves the colonial benefit: “No suttee took place then or afterward.”

Good for the Gander

What makes us so special? An excellent question. Maybe America could use a dose of positive colonialism. One that would put an end to our sacrificing of millions of our youngest citizens to unknown gods. Perhaps the construction of gibbets outside Planned Parenthood offices would be as sufficient a disincentive as was Napier’s threat.

Liberal Professor Comes Out in Favor of Kavanaugh, Left Pounces

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 15:41

Predictably, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick has been met with mostly hysteria on the left.

Even before Trump picked D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, left-wing publications were floating absurd court-packing plans to counter him.

Stacking the Supreme Court with more unelected judges, they argued, was a necessary measure to save "democracy."

It's clear that whomever Trump nominated, most of the left would come out and define the pick as a threat to the republic.

The left-wing Women's March was in such a rush to denounce the pick that they forgot to fill in the name on their press release claiming the nomination of "XX" is a "death sentence for thousands of women."

When your press release goes out too early: Women's March denounces 'XX' in statement on Brett Kavanaugh's (named spelled wrong) Supreme Court nomination. https://t.co/W250hFXs7F pic.twitter.com/sr7RU7gp1Z

— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 10, 2018

Amid all of this hyperbole, there have been at least a few liberal voices arguing in favor of confirming Kavanaugh. The most prominent among them has been Akhil Reed Amar, a distinguished professor at Yale Law School who once taught Kavanaugh.

In an article he wrote for The New York Times, called "A Liberal's Case for Brett Kavanaugh," Amar made the argument that it was "Trump's finest hour, his classiest move."

Amar wrote that Kavanaugh's credentials are beyond reproach, and that he has a "deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States." He even addressed the most common line of left-wing attack on Kavanaugh's confirmation, that this seat was "stolen" from President Barack Obama's choice, Judge Merrick Garland.

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"Although Democrats are still fuming about Judge Garland's failed nomination, the hard truth is that they control neither the presidency nor the Senate; they have limited options," Amar wrote. "Still, they could try to sour the hearings by attacking Judge Kavanaugh and looking to complicate the proceedings whenever possible. ... This would be a mistake."

Ultimately, Amar wrote that if Democrats are serious about opposing the nominee, they should at least offer two better suggestions that would be acceptable to Trump and the Republican majority in exchange for frank answers from Kavanaugh about his views.

Needless to say, progressive activists didn't take well to Amar's message.

The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice is President Trump's finest hour, his classiest move https://t.co/vGhvSwB3mb

— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) July 10, 2018

Paul Blest, writing for the left-wing website, Splinter -- the same publication that published a piece calling for mobs to harass conservatives -- blasted Amar's editorial.

"Everything we have and everything we can imagine that is achievable within this crumbling system is at risk," Blest concluded of the Kavanaugh nomination. "The Democrats are probably going to lose this fight, but anything less than a full-throated attack on Trump's nomination is tantamount to capitulation on what might very well turn out to be the most consequential decision Trump ever makes."

While the Splinter article reflects the mood of the progressive base, Amar's defense of Kavanaugh as a candidate with unquestionable credentials and background means that it will be hard to go after him on anything other than partisan or ideological grounds.

It's clear that what the left is most afraid of is any justice who will take textual adherence to the Constitution seriously.

The Federalist's David Harsanyi summed this up perfectly:

Democrats were going to get hysterical about any pick, because any conservative pick was going to take the Constitution far too literally for their liking. For those who rely on the administrative state and coercion as a policy tool -- forcing people to join political organizations, forcing them to support abortion, forcing them to subsidize socially progressive sacraments, forcing them to create products that undermine their faith and so on -- that's a big problem.

In essence, they will oppose -- and malign -- any justice, no matter their background, gender or religious beliefs, who will not aid in carrying out a progressive policy agenda.

Time will tell if this strategy of opposition at all costs will fly with the American people.


Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. Follow him on Twitter 

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal 

Ex-FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Will Defy Congressional Subpoena

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 14:40

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page will defy a congressional subpoena to appear for a deposition on Wednesday, her lawyer said in a statement.

The House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees issued the subpoena to Page, who has been at the center of controversy over anti-Trump text messages that she exchanged with Peter Strzok, the former deputy chief of the FBI's counterintelligence division.

Page and Strzok worked on the Hillary Clinton email investigation as well as the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Strzok is slated to testify in a public hearing before the two congressional committees on Thursday.

Page's lawyer, Amy Jeffress, said her client has not had enough time to prepare for an interview. She also complained that the committees failed to respond to requests "to explain the scope of the interview."

"The Committees would be asking Lisa about materials that she has not yet been shown," Jeffress said.

She also said she accompanied Page to FBI headquarters on Tuesday to review materials needed for a congressional appearance. But she said in her statement that "after waiting for more than three hours, we were not provided with any documents."

"We have asked the Committees to schedule another date that would allow sufficient time for her to prepare," she continued. "The Committees have not honored this request. As a result, Lisa is not going to appear for an interview at this time."

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Page resigned from the FBI on May 4. Strzok remains at the bureau's human resources division but was recently stripped of his security clearance.

If Page does eventually appear before Congress, she will likely be asked about her role in deciding not to press charges against Clinton for using a private email server to maintain classified documents. She would also likely face questions about her text exchanges with Strzok, with whom she was having an affair.

The text messages show that Page and Strzok referred to Trump as an "idiot" and lamented his political success.

Other text messages showed the pair discussing how to handle the Russia investigation.

In one Aug. 8, 2016 message, Page asked Strzok: "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!"

Strzok replied: "No. No he's not. We'll stop it."

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a member of the Oversight committee, responded to Page's decision, calling it "indefensible."

This statement from Lisa Page's attorneys could've been better summed up in one short sentence: "We're choosing to ignore a Congressional subpoena"

Indefensible https://t.co/Ku6vkIK21G

— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) July 11, 2018


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Military Photo of the Day: Jumping Together

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:13

U.S. and French Armed Forces recently jump in unison to honor the two nations’ friendship at Camp Lemonnier in the African nation of Djibouti.

Wow! What a spectacular photo.





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Trump Calls Germany’s Relationship With Russian Energy Industry ‘Inappropriate’

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:05

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Germany's tight relationship with Russia on energy matters is a big problem considering the U.S. is obligated to defend them against Russia.

"Germany is a captive of Russia," Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the summit of a military alliance in Brussels. "It's very inappropriate." Germany is raking in "billions" from energy payments while expecting protection from Russia, he added.

Stoltenberg rebuked the Trump. "We are stronger together than apart," the NATO secretary general said. Trump then asked how the NATO alliance could be stronger when Germany is "making Russia richer."

The president has made similar remarks in the past. Trump told world leaders during a visit to Poland in 2017 that the U.S. wants to make it easier for companies to ship natural gas products to Eastern Europe. He reportedly wants to break up Russia's energy monopolization in Europe.

Germany is heavily dependent on Russia for its gas and energy supply, using Russian gas as baseload energy to stabilize the less reliable green energy industry. Some evidence also shows that Germany's reliance on green energy subsidies has caused damage to the country's electrical grids.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the need for EU-Russia talks on the pipeline in June 2017, accusing the U.S. of politicizing its economic interests in pushing Russia out of Europe's natural gas market.

Investigations into intelligence findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential race could complicate the White House's policy. Still, many Republicans who want Trump to hold a hardline against Russia are generally supportive of the president's position.

Moscow relies on revenue from oil and gas sales to prop up the country's bloated budget.


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A More Positive Take on the Awan Plea Deal

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 09:00

The news of Imran Awan's sweetheart plea deal emerged quietly during Fourth of July week, but it hasn't gone unnoticed here, even with the predominant story right now being President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. My initial thought about the Awan deal was, "Oh, man, the DOJ has buried another scandal," and many readers agreed, some commenting they were disgusted and even literally sickened by the outcome.

Awan was allowed to plead guilty to one measly charge of bank fraud when he could have been charged with much more: espionage, perhaps, or theft of government property, just for starters.

But one response offered an interesting take. Mind you, it involves giving Jeff Sessions the benefit of the doubt and picturing him as working steadfastly behind the scenes to ensure that justice is eventually done. Not easy, I know; it's like being the kid who gets a pile of manure at Christmas and just KNOWS there has to be pony in there somewhere! But for the moment, let's try to do that and take the ride with reader Bonnie Robinson.

"When you want to catch a fish, you use a smaller fish," she reminds us. Of course, we already knew that's been the strategy behind the treatment of Paul Manafort -- were you aware he's spending 23 out of every 24 hours in solitary confinement before he's been tried, even though the only charge against him is unrelated to the "Russia" investigation and goes back many years? -- to get cooperation against President Trump, but it applies here as well.

Awan was allowed to plead guilty to one measly charge of bank fraud when he could have been charged with much more: espionage, perhaps, or theft of government property, just for starters. I would note that he's also alleged to have attempted to evade justice by hopping a plane to Pakistan. Robinson points out that since plea deals come as part of an agreement to cooperate with investigators, Awan has likely provided them with information relating to the Democrats who hired him. If she's right, that means that for a deal as sweet as the one he got, he's likely been singing like Pavarotti.

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But Robinson goes on to address another aspect of this case: namely, how unlikely it is that an objective grand jury could be empaneled in Washington, D.C., for a case against congressional Democrats charged with something as serious as (perhaps) treason. The same would go for prosecutors and judges assigned to such a case. She reminds us that with all the evidence against the FBI presented in the IG report, the Inspector General left out that same part: the prosecution part. "Do you think this was going to be litigated in this setting?" she asks.

So, if it's not going to be handled in D.C., where WILL it be handled? Robinson suggests that it's moving from D.C. to Utah, under U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was selected by Attorney General Sessions to handle cases related to the IG report. Remarkably, Huber operates with a staff of 470 investigators, far exceeding the investigative power of a special counsel. One other possibility, if the cases relating to Awan include allegations of treason or other matters of national security, is that they will be tried in a military court, away from the media and the chance of compromising sensitive information, sources or methods. That lessens the likelihood that any "big fish" will get away on a technicality.

"Rest assured," Robinson concludes, "this entire case is being handled with the utmost care."

It's hard to have confidence in that, especially when we've watched certain people skate for so long, but let's hope she's right. Sessions' decision to call upon John Huber to team up with the IG and conduct a full-fledged criminal investigation in Utah, in the clean mountain air far from the stinky D.C. swamp, may turn out to be every bit as brilliant as top legal expert Jonathan Turley said it was in March.


Originally published at MikeHuckabee.com, and reprinted with kind permission.

With Judge Brett Kavanaugh as SCOTUS Nominee, 22 Leaders in Faith and Politics React

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 00:15

In a dramatic prime time event Monday night, President Donald Trump announced appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh as his second nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. He follows in the footsteps of now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, a key voice on the Supreme Court since his confirmation in April 2017.

Kavanaugh clerked for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, then later served as a staff secretary for President George W. Bush. In 2006, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where he has served since. Kavanaugh has also been praised as a family man; the father of two young girls even coaches their basketball teams.

The eminently qualified jurist has nonetheless been greeted with mixed reactions. Hostility from the left was expected. Yet questions from other corners are more complex, surely to be pondered during the confirmation process ahead.

Prime-Time Announcement

Ed Whelan, President of Ethics and Public Policy Center:

No matter who the nominee is, I'm really looking forward to an end to the infighting and to unifying against the attacks from the Left.

— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) July 9, 2018

President Trump: "Tonight, it is my honor and privilege to announce that I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court."

Full video here: https://t.co/Vy5KghIDF2#SCOTUSPick #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/4608Yqpkiq

— CSPAN (@cspan) July 10, 2018

WATCH: Complete remarks from Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

"If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American Rule of Law."#SCOTUSPick #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/vKVTv02eoh

— CSPAN (@cspan) July 10, 2018

Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia:

Just met #SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh while I was at the @WhiteHouse tonight for @POTUS' announcement. The president made an excellent choice, and I look forward to moving forward with the confirmation process. My full statement: https://t.co/UPH47CmbL7 pic.twitter.com/TnlqRJaC19

— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) July 10, 2018

Broad Coalition of Support

Some faith leaders were quick to release statements of support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As with the nomination of Gorsuch last year, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) convened pastors across the nation to sign on to a letter emphasizing the nominee's strengths on religious liberty issues.

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Pastor Mark Burns of Harvest Praise & Worship Center (Easley, S.C.):

I'm asking for all people of faith to Pray for President @realDonaldTrump's #ScotusPick Brett Kavanaugh. That whatever plans of sabotage #Democrats are planning to block this #SCOTUS nominee fail.

— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) July 10, 2018

Ed Stetzer of Christianity Today and Wheaton College (Chicagoland, Ill.):

President Trump is not appointing himself to the bench. He is nominating a respected jurist. If that respect is unearned, we will see during the confirmation hearing. But, for many, any conservative would be unacceptable. https://t.co/x7yw07i9QR

— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) July 10, 2018

Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.):

President Trump promised a constitutionalist - someone who will call balls and strikes according to the Constitution. Judge Kavanaugh has a long & praiseworthy history of judging as an originalist. We look forward to having a justice with his philosophical approach on the Court.

— Tony Perkins (@tperkins) July 10, 2018

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC):

We believe the judicial philosophy of Judge Kavanaugh merits his appointment and the Senate should work diligently toward his confirmation. Join us in praying for all those involved as the confirmation process begins. #SCOTUS https://t.co/enenq4EzbM

— ERLC (@ERLC) July 10, 2018

Some who have vocally criticized President Trump in the past expressed support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard:

As the president prepares to nominate a well-qualified jurist tonight, let us pause a minute to pay tribute to two giants who paved the way, when that way was not popular or easy, for the rebirth of a thoughtful and principled constitutionalism: Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 9, 2018

Senator John McCain of Arizona:

Judge Brett Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials & a strong record of upholding the Constitution. He is widely respected as a fair, independent & mainstream judge. I look forward to the Senate moving forward with a fair & thorough confirmation process. https://t.co/5Y5oWo36RB

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 10, 2018

Christina Sommers, scholar at American Enterprise Institute:

This-->A Liberal's Case for Brett Kavanaugh https://t.co/3K5apQnH6u

— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) July 10, 2018

Erick Erickson of The Resurgent:

Truth is there are a lot of conservatives tonight who don't think Kavanaugh is strong on the life issue or religious liberty, despite his supporters' claims. But these conservatives are being placated and lulled to sleep by the hysterical screams of the left.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 10, 2018

Critics on the Left Speak Out

Then there’s the Left. Within moments of the announcement, a scheduled rally in front of the Supreme Court was underway. Some on-site, including Fox News host Shannon Bream, say the anger expressed made them feel unsafe. Leaders on the left also offered a preview of fierce anti-Kavanaugh rhetoric to come.

Chants of "Hell no, Kavanaugh!" at the Supreme Court. This is a movement ready to fight for our lives and the American Way. #StopKavanaugh #SupremeCourt pic.twitter.com/DbSaBCX721

— PFAW (@peoplefor) July 10, 2018

.@SenSanders: "Are you ready for a fight?!? Are you ready to defend Roe v. Wade?"

Full video here: https://t.co/AwPM3nMHfy #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/y3QbniuZl6

— CSPAN (@cspan) July 10, 2018

The left has called every Republican President's Supreme Court nominee "Armageddon" in some form of another for decades.

This time they really seem committed to making it happen.https://t.co/oJGRrFJlTA

— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) July 10, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh was the only nominee on Trump's shortlist who has written that a sitting president should not be indicted. It's not a coincidence that he was selected. #SCOTUSpick #WhatsAtStake

— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 10, 2018

This is the best quote/sentence you will read in any story about Trump's new Supreme Court nominee https://t.co/YrjzNZkHzO via @dvergano + @Zhirji28 pic.twitter.com/LtVK75B3c7

— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) July 10, 2018

Celebrities and Media Melt Down Over 'Cruelly Regressive' Brett Kavanaugh https://t.co/lcNf8Mosi3 pic.twitter.com/fa4XniVdnv

— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) July 10, 2018

Reasoned Policy Leaders Express Concerns

However, it was not only protestors and partisans who had unanswered questions about the nomination. Others on the right and left offered their own takes.

David French of National Review Institute:

Kavanaugh is by all accounts a good man who I predict will be an excellent justice. But he was not the best choice. Tonight, an opportunity was lost. My piece in the @washingtonpost: https://t.co/ZoOF01Hiu3

— David French (@DavidAFrench) July 10, 2018

Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners and Auburn Theological Seminary:

History teaches the net impact of Culture Wars not the end of abortion. It HAS been reversal of Civil Rights protections. @BrettKavanaugh nomination follows suit. People of color and other minorities at risk. #SCOTUSPICK #HitPauseonCultureWars https://t.co/FMu6SeiGBc

— Lisa Sharon Harper (@lisasharper) July 10, 2018

Robert Christian of Democrats for Life of America:

The priest who baptized two of my kids got a shoutout from a Supreme Court nominee tonight. I hope he internalized some of what that priest had to say about the common good and won't be yet another judicial activist on the Court, deepening the branch's dysfunction. I'm skeptical: pic.twitter.com/IQBDs52hyZ

— (((Robert Christian))) (@RGC3) July 10, 2018

Judge Andrew Napolitano, Sr. Judicial Analyst at Fox News:

'Disappointed' By Kavanaugh: He's 'Heart and Soul of the DC Establishment'https://t.co/Q9AEAa4dxm

— Judge Napolitano (@Judgenap) July 10, 2018

AFA: evangelical group calls Kavanaugh a "four star" appointment when we could have gotten a 5-star. But says it will NOT actively oppose nominee but will "let the process play out"–seeing praise for #Kavanaugh from pro-lifers. @AFA Statement: https://t.co/S7giIjKtSP

— Peter LaBarbera (@PeterLaBarbera) July 10, 2018

Rachel Bovard of the Conservative Partnership Institute:

Barrett would have been the go-to-the-mattresses choice. Kavanaugh appeases the moderates. If anyone cares about my non legally educated opinion, it's meh.

— Rachel Bovard (@rachelbovard) July 10, 2018

Deeper Perspective and the Process Ahead

A months-long confirmation process awaits. Citizens and leaders alike will seek to understand the nominee's record. All the while, advocacy campaigns will work to sway public opinion about Kavanaugh.

David Brooks of the New York Times:

If you want to change the world, build a community that can last for generations. https://t.co/F72ETrkb7e

— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) July 10, 2018

And https://t.co/lX6WFywzbA, a site launched by @judicialnetwork is live -- and they've just announced a $1.4 million cable and digital ad campaign supporting Kavanaugh nomination in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia

— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 10, 2018

.@POTUS has announced his second #SCOTUS nominee since taking office. And, like Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh will make #AnotherGreatJustice who respects our Constitution. pic.twitter.com/JhrfoV5ew5

— Judicial Network (@judicialnetwork) July 10, 2018

Some conservatives don't like Kavanaugh. These conservatives, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, believe he is not sufficiently conservative. They disagree with portions of opinions he has written relating to abortion and the Affordable Care Act, for example. https://t.co/4CX1uTnvBy

— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) July 10, 2018

I weigh in here on the president's Supreme Court nominee and the near-hysterical reaction from the left. https://t.co/PCDvZVoQoO

— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) July 10, 2018

Former Senator John Kyl has been tasked with ushering Judge Kavanaugh into private meetings with Senators of both parties during the confirmation process.

NEW: Jon Kyl will be the point person who will guide the SCOTUS nominee through the confirmation process from meeting senators to the questionnaire and the high profile confirmation hearing.

— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) July 9, 2018

Average Timeline for SCOTUS Nominations--Since 1975:oDay 9: Nomination received in SenateoDay 48: First hearing heldoDay 63: Judiciary Committee takes final voteoDay 75: Senate takes final action on nominee pic.twitter.com/H2vyZPsGq2

— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) July 9, 2018

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky:

I look forward to the upcoming hearings, reviewing the record, and meeting personally with Judge Kavanaugh, with an open mind.

— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 10, 2018

Look for Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh by Friday, September 21.

— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) July 10, 2018


Explore The Stream's complete coverage of Politics, including the courts.

Officer Describes Faint Whimper, Finding Abandoned Infant

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 23:34

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- A faint whimper in the darkness was all it took.

Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Ross Jessop and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Nick Scholz rushed toward the sound after hours spent searching the Montana woods for a missing infant.

Jessop was about to take another step when he heard a stick crack underfoot. He looked down to find a cold, wet, soiled 5-month-old boy face-down under a pile of debris.

“I abandoned any police training or any chance of saving evidence there -- I didn’t care,” Jessop, a father of three, told reporters on Tuesday. “I scooped up the baby, made sure he was breathing. He had a sparkle in his eye. (I) warmed him up, gave him a couple of kisses and just held him.”

The baby, who had been abandoned for at least nine hours before Jessop and Scholz found him at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, was cold, hungry and had scrapes and bruises, but was otherwise in good condition. They wrapped him in a coat and carried the boy out of the woods to safety.

“It was the happiest 15-20 minutes of my career,” Scholz said of the walk out. “I was just stunned. Walking in to this situation, you were mentally prepared for the worst.”

The baby drank a whole bottle of Pedialyte in under a minute, then drank two more, said Missoula County Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Burt. The baby’s tiny, dirty hand grasped Burt’s finger with surprising strength, then he fell soundly asleep as hospital officials hooked him up to an IV, Burt said.

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The rescue that Sheriff T.J. McDermott called a miracle was recounted moments before Francis Crowley, 32, appeared in court to hear charges against him that included assault on a minor and criminal endangerment.

Crowley told investigators he left the boy in the woods after crashing his car because the baby was heavy, according to court records. He appeared in Missoula County Justice Court from jail by video, and he broke down repeatedly as he heard the allegations against him.

Crowley doubled over, then fell to the floor and covered his face with his hands, sobbing. He exclaimed twice, “I love that f—— kid,” and implored the judge not to take him away.

Public defender Ted Fellman said Crowley had no money and was living near Lolo Hot Springs. Sheriff’s officials said Crowley, the child’s mother and the boy were living in a camp near the hot springs in Lolo National Forest.

Crowley is from Portland, Oregon, and was previously arrested in June in Missoula on a fugitive warrant from Oregon for a probation violation, Missoula County prosecutors said. He has a string of prior arrests that include burglary, assault, drug and criminal mischief charges, Deputy County Attorney Brittany Williams said.

The nature of Crowley’s relationship to the baby was not immediately clear.

Crowley did not enter a plea during the court hearing. Judge Marie Andersen set bail at $200,000 and scheduled his next court date for July 25.

Deputies were called to Lolo Hot Springs at 8 p.m. Saturday because Crowley was creating a disturbance and threatening to fire a gun, Missoula County prosecutors said.

Crowley was disoriented, likely because of drug use, and unable to help officers find the baby or say how long ago the crash had occurred, charging documents said. He variously said the baby was lying on the side of the road or had died and was buried in the woods.

But Crowley described crashing along an abandoned that Jessop recognized as one that he started searching a little while earlier until it got too rough. He called for a four-wheel drive vehicle and he and Scholz found the wreck beyond the road’s end. They followed a trail of items that included baby formula and a diaper bag before hearing the child.

The baby was taken via ambulance to the hospital. One the way, the baby coughed up small sticks, the charging document said. He was treated for dehydration, lack of food and scratches, cuts and bruises and was placed in the custody of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

For Jessop, who has three daughters, the rescue gave him encouragement in what he described as an emotionally draining job. In 2010, a coroner’s inquest cleared Jessop in the fatal shooting of a man who had tried to shoot the deputy during a late-night traffic stop.

“To experience this, to have God help me, let me experience something like this, just gives me an extra boost,” Jessop said. “You know what? Cops actually do matter sometimes. We actually do a good job. So it’s pretty encouraging for me.”


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

Monsoons Unravelling the Climate-Change Myth, Again!

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 23:17

Dark clouds, gentle, cool breezes, and signs of life everywhere. The Monsoon has begun in India, giving much-needed respite from summer heat!

Images of India in the mainstream media can be misleading. They generally show only our cities. They portray them as overcrowded and unhygienic.

But most of India is farms and forests. Nearly half the labor force is in agriculture. It accounts for about 17 percent of India's economic production.

From June through September, Monsoon rains give India 75 percent of its yearly rainfall. More than 70 percent of India's people depend on them. For many farmers, rain means the difference between life and death.

But what is the significance of this year's Monsoon?

Monsoon Season Proving Climate Alarmists All Wet

Climate alarmists like India's Rajendra Pachauri (disgraced former Chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) lead many to believe "climate change" (code for catastrophic, man-made global warming) is bringing environmental collapse to India. How? By putting its agricultural sector in peril. Mainstream media echo the claim.

Climate has been changing throughout the planet's history. But climate alarmists believe recent changes caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide are unprecedented and dangerous.

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A key part of their claim is that climate change has changed rainfall patterns. For India, they predict more droughts. And droughts can devastate India's farmers.

Let's put that to test!

Firstly, what about warming? India's temperature has remained largely stable in the past century. Both regional and national averages show no significant increase. The only exception is in major cities, due to urban heat island effect.

Secondly, what about rainfall? It has shown no significant reduction. In fact, recent papers indicate that rainfall has increased significantly in many places during the past six decades.

Thirdly, what about drought devastating farmers? It must be a joke of incredible proportions to claim that climate change has caused drought-based agricultural collapse in India. If it had, output should have fallen. But the country is producing record crops for the third straight year.

The agricultural ministry attributes this directly to rainfall. This is because most crops in India are rain fed.

And What of This Year?

This year's Monsoon is in full swing. In some places it exceeds expectations. It began earlier than anticipated and has delivered significant rainfall. Catchment areas for rivers have received ample rainfall.

Dams in southern India are filling fast. The major dams that supply water to my city, Chennai, are already full. The surplus is being released in canals for use.

So, there is nothing alarming about this year's Monsoon. As in previous years, it continues to shatter the myth of Indian droughts driven by climate change.

And the Indian agricultural sector, buoyed by technological innovations, is flourishing as never before. The trend will continue despite the climate alarmists' lies.


Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.