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Actress Allison Williams: ‘My Dad Would Have Voted for Obama a Third Time’

NewsBusters - Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:45
<p>Where does acting end and reality begin? In a movie now in rotation on HBO, actress Allison Williams, the daughter of MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, declares: “My dad would have voted for Obama a third time if he could have. Like, the love is so real.” Sounds perfectly plausible that such sentiment would apply to her real life father, the disgraced ousted anchor of the <em>NBC Nightly News.</em> I stumbled upon the line in <em>Get Out</em>, a horror movie from Universal released in February. </p>

Morning Joe Showcases MSNBC’s Double Standard on Sex Abuse Allegations Against Democrats

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:30
<p>In spite of repeated proclamations from MSNBC pundits that anyone expressing a scintilla of skepticism about any claims of sexual misconduct must therefore support that gross misbehavior, MSNBC’s best and brightest repeatedly broke this self-imposed standard over the past week vis-a-vis the Al Franken sexual assault allegations. <em>Morning Joe</em> added to this shamelessly hypocritical coverage on Tuesday, questioning if the latest Franken accuser can “prove” her accusation that Franken shoved his tongue in her mouth. The hosts also waffled on whether or not Franken should suffer any serious consequences for his alleged sexual crimes, with co-host Willie Geist wondering whether Franken should be treated as a “pariah” and “have his life ruined and thrown out.”</p>

MSNBC Guest: Trump’s Response to Puerto Rico Shows He’s ‘Very Racist'

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:21
<p>While a guest on MSNBC’s <em>Deadline: White House</em> program on Monday afternoon, November 20, Melissa Mark-Viverito -- speaker of the New York City Council -- hammered President Donald Trump as “unhinged” and “fragile” and said his response to the devastation created by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September is “very racist in nature.”</p>

LAT Columnist Opposes NFL Protests and Kaepernick's GQ Citizenship Honor

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:28
<p>Brace yourself for two big surprises: 1) A majority of Californians oppose national anthem kneeling protests and 2) a prominent columnist for the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> rejects <em>GQ</em> magazine's selection of Colin Kaepernick as its "citizen of the year." LAT columnist George Skelton says good citizens vote in elections and since Kaepernick admitted he doesn't vote, he's hardly qualified for citizenship awards.</p>

Nets Fear Political Conspiracy in DOJ Blocking Media Merger

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:05
<p>On Tuesday, all three network morning shows fretted over the Justice Department filing a lawsuit to block a planned merger between telecommunications giants AT&T and Time Warner Cable. Hosts and correspondents warned of “politics” being “at play” in the decision and touted how critics were “raising concerns about the motive behind the government’s legal challenge.”</p>

Ramos Fails to Ask Tough Questions of Residente in Softball Interview

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:01
<p>Univision senior news anchor Jorge Ramos continues to push predictably one-sided coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane María’s devastation in Puerto Rico. As evidenced in his weekly <em>Al Punto </em>program, even a known terrorist sympathizer is an acceptable guest so long as he contributes to Ramos' favored narrative, which is decidely both anti-Trump and against the current Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló.</p>

Soros Organization's 'Secretive' Push for Liberal Prosecutors in 2018

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:56
<p>A “secretive” network of liberal donors co-founded by George Soros is pushing to elect liberal prosecutors in 2018, according to a document obtained by the Free Beacon. But further behind the scenes, Soros is funding even-more-radical plans -- to potentially take away the people’s right to elect judges.</p>

NY Times Photographer Seeks 'Revenge' In Asia With Nasty Trump Picture

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:38
<p>Not only are anti-Trump reporters of the establishment media pouring out their disgust for Donald Trump in their reporting, even the photographers are lashing out by using unflattering photos of the president. Veteran New <em>York Times </em>photographer Doug Mills apparently sought "revenge" for being denied access on the Asia trip by picking the worst pictures. </p>

View's Behar Hypocritically Scolds Conway on Moore, After She Defended Clinton on Rape

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:29
<p>In light of all the accusations of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault coming out now against liberals and Democrats, some on the left are hunkering down and sticking to their partisan politics moreso than ever. Longtime host of <em>The View</em> Joy Behar has been increasingly uncomfortable in the past few weeks, as the ABC panel has brought up the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Louis C.K. and now Charlie Rose.</p>

How much economic growth can tax reform deliver? Part II - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 20:15

This blog is Part II in a three-part blog series discussing how much of an impact tax reform can have on economic growth. Find Part I, authored by Alan Viard, here.

There are obvious limitations to our understanding of society and our ability to predict various counterfactual futures, and those limitations extend to the tax policy realm. But there are at least three ideas here that I think most economists would agree on.

Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and unveil legislation to overhaul the tax code on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

First, I think that we have a reasonably good sense of the direction in which and the order of magnitude of the amounts by which major changes to the tax code will move GDP levels in the short run to medium run. Reduced taxation of capital (and labor), for example, will most likely lead to a higher level of output on that time horizon. I have little to add to Alan’s summary of the impact of the Republican tax plan in that respect.

Second, and somewhat conditional on accepting the tenets of rational-choice theory, we have a detailed understanding of how various distortions in the tax code make people worse off. A good example is the treatment of employer-provided health insurance. Because this type of compensation is not taxed, employers and workers will use more of it than they would in a world in which it is taxed; that, everything else equal, makes society as a whole worse off. Note that there is no GDP numbers claim here: The distortion may lower or raise output or consumption at any given point in time, but what the distortion does is to make us choose the wrong type of consumption.

Third, our understanding of whether and how various tax initiatives will affect productivity growth in the long run is more limited. Some of what under the logic of point one and two may look detrimental because it raises marginal tax rates and introduces distortions — say, special treatment for activities related to research and development, or measures to incentivize people to move to more productive areas — may well add to growth in the long run.

Also by Stan Veuger:

BreakPoint: Communism’s Failed Promise

The Stream - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 19:33

This week marked a century since one of the darkest chapters in human history began, and a truly evil worldview was put into practice.

‘A Different Universe’

One hundred years ago, Bolshevik revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd, the seat of the Provisional Government of Russia. They also seized post offices, train stations, and telegraphs in the dead of night. When the people of Russia's capital city awoke, they were in what Rhodes Scholar David Satter described as "a different universe."

That universe was a communist one. Vladimir Lenin's so-called "October Revolution," which took place in November on the Gregorian calendar, sought to establish the first-ever Marxist state. After a lengthy civil war, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics emerged, marking one of the greatest setbacks Western Civilization has suffered since the fall of Rome. Communism would eventually rule one-third of the planet, condemning one-and-a-half billion people to lives under brutal, totalitarian governments, and leaving behind a trail of over 100 million corpses.

So many people died because, as Satter explains in The Wall Street Journal, the communist worldview sees the state as supreme, replacing God, Himself. It's infallible, it transcends morality, and it demands absolute loyalty from its citizens.

Karl Marx taught that only such a state, acting for its people, could break the chains of economic oppression and private property, creating a "new man." This type of person, depicted in Soviet propaganda posters with bulging muscles and steely eyes, would work willingly for the common good, seek only to advance the interests of his comrades, and usher in a worker's paradise.

The Communist Ideal

The communist ideal was nothing short of a godless eschatology -- a Heaven on earth.

What we got instead was hell on earth. Through political purges, forced population transfers, manmade famines, gulags, and a so-called "Great Leap Forward," dictators like Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot presided over some of the worst mass murders in human history, all directly motivated by the desire to bring about that communist paradise.

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It wasn't until Christmas 1991 that the darkness which had fallen on Russia in 1917 began to lift. The Soviet sickle and hammer descended over the Kremlin for the last time, quietly announcing the end of what President Reagan had dubbed the "evil empire."

But for millions of people the world over, this godless worldview remained and remains a political reality. China's forced abortions, Cuba's political repression, and North Korea's persecution of Christians are just some of the atrocities that have continued in communist countries since the fall of the Soviet Union.

And here in the United States, communist ideology enjoys a kind of immortality in our universities, where many professors openly identify as Marxists, and students sport those ever-popular Che Guevara t-shirts.

One recent survey by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that half of millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist democracy. More than 20 percent have a favorable view of Marx, and thirteen percent think of Joseph Stalin as a "hero."

The only good news is that 71 percent of those surveyed couldn't identify the correct definition of communism. They don't understand what they're praising.

As we look back on the aftermath of that October revolution, we should commit ourselves to teaching our kids, our friends, and whoever else will listen where communism belongs: squarely in the dustbin of history.

Perhaps the best way to commemorate communism's 100th birthday is to pray that we can fully and finally bury this evil worldview in our lifetimes.

 

Originally published on Breakpoint.org: BreakPoint Commentaries, November 20, 2017. Re-published with permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

America’s food assistance programs and hunger - AEI - American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

American Enterprise Institute - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 19:23

As preparation for another Thanksgiving begins, it is difficult to think about the families who struggle to afford food. According to the 2016 Food Security Survey, 12.3% of households (or 15.6 million) were food insecure at some point in 2016 and 4.9% (6.1 million) had very low food security.

Via Twenty20

At the same time, the federal government spends billions of dollars providing food assistance to low-income families each year. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provided $66 billion in food benefits in 2016 to over 44 million people in the average month. Add to that another $13.6 billion for the National School Lunch program and $6 billion for the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program and the federal government spent nearly $85 billion on food assistance for low-income households last year.

See also:

Some might look at the persistence of food insecurity in American households and think the federal government’s response is inadequate. But a closer look suggests that these programs achieve a great deal. Just over half of poor households (under 130% of the federal poverty line) who received SNAP for the entire year reported being food secure, meaning that they had adequate food without worry of running out. Almost 80% of these households did not report “very low food security,” meaning they never had to cut or skip meals.

Also encouraging is how well households with children are served: 8.0% experienced food insecurity in 2016, but less than 1% experienced very low food security. This means that a combination of SNAP and the National School Lunch Program provide enough assistance to low-income households in America that very few children actually go hungry.

Nonetheless, the concern should remain for those households that remain food insecure either because they do not participate in food assistance programs, or because they remain unable to afford food even with the assistance they get. Reforms are needed, particularly to SNAP, in order to reduce food insecurity even further.

Congress is currently working on a new Farm Bill, which includes oversight of SNAP. Lawmakers will propose increasing SNAP benefit amounts by citing the share of households that are food insecure. But arguments over whether SNAP benefit amounts should be raised may miss some broader points. Half of SNAP participating households indicate that they are food secure, suggesting that benefit levels alone may not be the problem.

Congress is encouraged to consider three other aspects when it comes to reforming SNAP as a way to reduce food insecurity: (1) allowing benefit levels to vary based on cost of living in different geographic areas, (2) allowing restrictions that ensure that households can only purchase food with benefits (and not sugary beverages), and (3) strengthening work expectations and programs for SNAP participants.

See also:

The calculation of SNAP benefits is complicated, but for the most part, little consideration is given to cost of living differences across the country. Benefit levels are the same no matter where one lives. Fixing this could take many forms, such as allowing states to set benefit levels, changing deductions based on housing prices, or establishing benefit multipliers based on cost of living indices.

Restricting what can be purchased with SNAP benefits may seem unrelated to food insecurity, but almost 10% of food expenditures in SNAP households goes toward sugar-sweetened beverages. It is difficult to think about food security when such a large share of SNAP goes toward something that is not food. Ensuring that only food is allowed for purchase may increase levels of food security.

Finally, addressing food insecurity must consider the broader context of low income and limited employment for SNAP households. Although many SNAP households work, some do not and they could benefit from employment programs designed to help connect them to the labor market. Reasonable work requirements and employment and training programs should be part of any conversation about SNAP in the new Farm Bill.

Food security for all American households is an important goal. SNAP and other federal food assistance programs already help millions of families, but for those who still struggle to afford adequate food, reforming SNAP could provide the help they need.

Learn more:

Being Shoved Into Meaninglessness

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 19:10
<p>I'm an advocate of higher education and all, but so much for assuming that the development of common sense and sound judgment are part of the package. A Pew Research Center poll found that 77 percent of Democrats with a bachelor's degree or more believe a person's gender can be different from the sex they were "assigned at birth." You'll remember that Democrats are the party of science, and Republicans the Neanderthal science-deniers.</p>

NYT Op-Ed: I Feel ‘Guilty’ Calling For ‘Sacrifice’ of Al Franken , ‘I Adore Him’

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:47
<p>Last week, <em>New York Times</em> columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote an op-ed calling for Al Franken to resign in light of radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden’s claims that the Democratic senator sexually assaulted her multiple times while on a USO tour to the Middle East to entertain American troops back in 2006. However, on Monday, Goldberg published another piece retracting her original call for Franken to be replaced. She primarily based her new argument on the grounds that Franken’s support for “women’s rights” should preclude him from being subjected to feminists’ purported standards for alleged sexual abusers. Goldberg also fretted that getting rid of the senator at this point would set a dangerous precedent that would “risk unilateral disarmament” for Democrats in the political arena.</p>

Disagree With Family on Politics? Here’s the Only Advice You Need for Thanksgiving

The Stream - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:45

The holidays are upon us. Along with headlines like How to maximize your leftovers and How to avoid 10 extra pounds, this gem always reemerges: How to talk about politics with your family.

Is that last kind of article really necessary? Its readers are rational beings, presumably. Aren’t they capable of navigating their own clan without step-by-step instructions?

It’s not that such articles are all bad. One piece, for instance, advises that we regulate contentious conversations to a “politics zone.” Remember that your family members are, well, your family. Appoint a mediator who can keep things civil between clashing kin.

But things might be simpler if we remembered just three principles when charging into familial political warfare.

1. That’s a Person You’re Talking To

Their ideas are insane. Their understanding of the system is all wrong. And their assumptions about you are offensive, proving how little they know.

But before you hurl that killer comeback, wait! The relative you’re talking to -- that cousin, that step parent, that boyfriend no expected and who now requires a makeshift place setting -- is a person. They have fears and dreams, just like you. A favorite TV show, just like you. A life outside their voting habits, just like you.

In short, they’re human … just like you.

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So maybe that mic you wanted to drop would be better off tucked away. Instead, try to forge a new bond with them over something non-controversial, like pie. Speaking of which, would they like a slice?

2. God Loves Them

Okay, it’s true. Sometimes not even pie and shared humanity are enough to dam up your animosity. Especially if you think what they stand for is truly despicable. So can you toss the pie and hurl that comeback now? No. Because God loves them. Even after they voted for that scoundrel. After they joined that social movement. Right now, in all their polar-opposite-from-youness, God loves them enough to die for them.

If they don’t know Him yet, your behavior could have eternal implications. Will your love, despite your differences, point them to the Savior they need? Or will your hostility give them an excuse to write Christianity off?

One reason modern culture is so divided is because people have forgotten how to set politics aside.

If they do know God, there’s another imperative: to love them as a brother or sister in Christ. Perhaps you think they’re a disgrace to the faith because of their politics. Perhaps they think the same of you. But the love for God you both profess trumps everything else. If you share that, what you don’t share doesn’t matter. Not at Thanksgiving, anyway.

So why not talk about God instead? At the least, remember that He’s there, in your midst.

3. Politics Aren’t Everything

Often, we can’t get through one scroll of social media without seeing something political, and usually divisive. But politics aren’t everything.

Last weekend Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was interviewed by reporters at a “Celebrate the Family Banquet” in Des Moines, Iowa. He shared some critical insights regarding this point.

“Lots and lots of people differ on policy debates, they just don’t think policy defines the line between good and evil,” he told reporters. “They think that raising your kids to play sports right, with honor and integrity and respect, and to get your math homework done on time, and to be the kind of neighbors that people want to have living next door to you, all of those textured, communal things are more important than our political tribes.”

Unexpected press gaggle with @BenSasse at #CelebrateTheFamily. I was late to the party. #iapolitics pic.twitter.com/J0miiQNsCh

— Shane Vander Hart (@shanevanderhart) November 19, 2017

Sasse is right. One reason modern culture is so divided is because people have forgotten how to set politics aside, even during designated family time, like Thanksgiving dinner. Why not buck that trend? You can start this year by focusing on the “communal things” Sasse mentions.

This holiday season, you might be faced with the person you couldn’t agree with less. But remember, you only need three principles to survive: That person’s a person. God loves them. And politics, including your disagreements, aren’t everything. Happy Thanksgiving!

Robert Mugabe Resigns as Zimbabwe’s President After 37 Years

The Stream - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:29

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, succumbing to a week of overwhelming pressure from the military that put him under house arrest, lawmakers from the ruling party and opposition who started impeachment proceedings and a population that surged into the streets to say 37 years in power was enough.

The capital, Harare, erupted in jubilation after news spread that the 93-year-old leader’s resignation letter was read out by the speaker of parliament, whose members had gathered to impeach Mugabe after he ignored escalating calls to quit since a military takeover. Cars honked and people danced and sang across the city in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his rule.

“Welcome to the new Zimbabwe,” people chanted outside a conference center where the lawmakers met.

“Change was overdue. … Maybe this change will bring jobs,” said 23-year-old Thomas Manase, an unemployed university graduate.

Mugabe, who was the world’s oldest head of state, said in his letter that legal procedures should be followed to install a new president “no later than tomorrow.”

“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power,” Mugabe said in the message read out by parliamentary speaker Jacob Mudenda.

Recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa would take over as the country’s leader within 48 hours, said a ruling party official, Lovemore Matuke. Mnangagwa, who fled the country after his firing on Nov. 6, “is not far from here,” Matuke said.

Mugabe can participate in a formal handover of power “so that Mnangagwa moves with speed to work for the country,” Matuke said.

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Mugabe’s resignation brought an end to impeachment proceedings brought by the ruling ZANU-PF party after its Central Committee voted to oust the president as party leader and replace him with Mnangagwa, a former ally of Mugabe who served for decades as his enforcer with a reputation for being astute and ruthless, more feared than popular.

Before the resignation, crowds rallied outside the parliament building, dancing and singing. Some people placed photos of Mugabe in the street so that cars would run over them. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC party said the culture of the ruling party “must end” and everyone must put their heads together and work toward free and fair elections. His party had seconded the impeachment motion.

Earlier Tuesday, Mnangagwa said in a statement that Mugabe should acknowledge the nation’s “insatiable desire” for a leadership change and resign immediately.

Mnangagwa, a former justice and defense minister, added to the pressure on Mugabe to quit after a long rule during which he evolved from a champion of the fight against white minority rule into a figure blamed for a collapsing economy, government dysfunction and human rights violations.

“Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation,” said Mnangagwa, who has a loyal support base in the military.

Zimbabwe’s polarizing first lady, Grace Mugabe, had been positioning herself to succeed her husband, leading a party faction that engineered Mnangagwa’s ouster. The prospect of a dynastic succession alarmed the military, which confined Mugabe to his home last week and targeted what it called “criminals” around him who allegedly were looting state resources -- a reference to associates of the first lady.

Grace Mugabe has not been seen since the military stepped in.

Mnangagwa was targeted by U.S. sanctions in the early 2000s for undermining democratic development in Zimbabwe, according to the Atlantic Council, a U.S.-based policy institute. However, J. Peter Pham, an Africa expert at the council, noted that some Zimbabwean opposition figures have appeared willing to have dialogue with Mnangagwa in order to move the country forward and that the international community should consider doing the same.

“We’re not saying whitewash the past, but it is in the interests of everyone that Zimbabwe is engaged at this critical time,” Pham said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Zimbabweans simply enjoyed the moment.

“Today’s a good day,” said Eric Machona, a Harare resident. “People are very happy.”

___

Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torchiachris

 

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Flashback: Charlie Rose Lectured on Importance of ‘Respect for Women’

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:22
<p>CBS on Tuesday <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-rose-cbs-fired-20171121-story.html" target="_blank">fired Charlie Rose</a> in the wake of revelations that he sexually harassed multiple women for decades. In retrospect, his repeated claims of “respecting” and “appreciating” strong women ring particularly hollow. On September 10, 2017, the journalist grilled former ex-Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon about the infamous Billy Bush tape. </p>

Flashback: Rose Talks ‘Extraordinary’ Sexual Assault Allegations with Amy Schumer

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:01
<p>Sexual assault is a topic Charlie Rose has questioned others on multiple times – including one interview with comedian Amy Schumer. On Monday, CBS and PBS suspended host Charlie Rose after a <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/eight-women-say-charlie-rose-sexually-harassed-them--with-nudity-groping-and-lewd-calls/2017/11/20/9b168de8-caec-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html?utm_term=.eaada4c266ad">story</a> reported on eight women accusing him of “unwanted sexual advances.” CBS has since fired him.</p>

CNN Proudly Touts Late Night TV’s ‘Resistance’ to Trump, ‘Most Mocked Man in America'

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:50
<p>CNN is still proudly touting the media’s “resistance” against President Trump, despite it being over a year since he was elected into office.</p>

Flashback: Samantha Bee Made Fun of Creepy, Pawing 'Charlie Rose Clones'

NewsBusters - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:46
<p>The NewsBusters staff was passing around an old YouTube video from Samantha Bee that she taped with Charlie Rose in his Bloomberg studios last year. It was titled "What Are You Hiding, Charlie Rose?" She asked to turn up the lights in the typically black backdrop, and was frightened to discover a crowd of "Charlie Rose clones." One clone even paws her on the shoulder: "Hi, I'm Charlie Rose." The original Rose then says "He likes you!"</p>

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