On Friday, Texas Democrat Wendy Davis' campaign released what has been dubbed "one of the nastiest campaign ads" of this election cycle. Even the liberal site Mother Jones called the ad "offensive and nasty," and MSNBC called the spot a potential career-killer. With prominent figures from both sides of the aisle condemning the ad, one would think (hope?) that the Davis campaign would come to their senses and apologize, but instead, they've been doing the exact opposite.
At first there was evidence that Davis was trying to sound like less of a monster on her Twitter account:
...then this happened:
While unless Davis is surveying members of her own campaign team (or a class of kindergarteners), I'm not quite sure where this "80 percent" figure is coming from. (I mean, when you've lost Mother Jones...)
News broke earlier today that an unidentified nurse that treated now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had tested positive for the disease. Her illness was identified via a self-monitoring program and was isolated immediately after she reported a low-grade fever.
CDC Director Thomas Friedan said he was "deeply concerned" about this new infection, and said that there must have been a breach in safety protocol for ebola to have spread. It's possible that the nurse was infected by improperly removing safety equipment.
From The Daily Signal:
“We’re deeply concerned about this new development with a preliminary positive [test for Ebola],” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said. “The fact that we don’t know about a breach in protocol is concerning because, clearly, there was a breach in protocol.”
Since Duncan is believed to already have been infected when he arrived Sept. 20 in the U.S., confirmation of the preliminary diagnosis would make this the first known case of Ebola being contracted or transmitted here.
The hospital worker, who reported a fever Friday night, is listed in stable condition. The worker provided care for Duncan “on multiple occasions after his diagnosis,” wearing protective gear that included a gown, gloves, mask and shield.
While ebola is certainly a scary illness, I wouldn't go full-on panic just yet. The woman's symptoms were caught incredibly early, and she was already a member of a high-risk group for the illness. Moreover, it's important to note that this nurse is the first transmission of the virus in the U.S., and the dozens of healthcare providers that treated patients in Atlanta and Nebraska have so far remained entirely symptom-free. Accidents do happen, and I pray that this woman has a full recovery.
Last week, the First Lady of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, had a confession to make: she participated in sham marriage with an Ethiopian in order to get a green card. She received $5,000 for her services as well. She found this moment in her life so embarrassing that she did not tell her fiancé, Gov. John Kitzhaber, about the ordeal until the local press did a little digging (via WaPo):
A few years ago, Oregon’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, shared her rags-to-riches journey — from her dilapidated childhood home in Washington state, to a tent on government land in Oregon, to the governor’s mansion, where she now lives with Gov. John Kitzhaber (D).
But she never mentioned the Ethiopian immigrant she married 17 years ago and divorced in 2002. When stories seeped out this week that she helped him obtain U.S. residency in exchange for $5,000, she said she needed the cash.
“It was a marriage of convenience,” she said in a statement. “He needed help, and I needed financial support.”
Hayes, 47, wiped away tears during a news conference Thursday, explaining that when she married the 18-year-old immigrant in 1997, she was “associating with the wrong people” and attempting to pay for classes at Evergreen State College near Seattle. She said she used the money to buy a laptop and cover school expenses. She was so “ashamed and embarrassed” about the illegal union that she never even told Kitzhaber, her fiance — until the Willamette Week peeked into her past earlier this week.
Hayes was twice divorced and not yet 30 when she married an Ethiopian teenager identified as Abraham B. Abraham, whom she met through a mutual acquaintance in Washington state. He was allegedly trying to stay in America to obtain a college education.
Hayes said the two saw each other only a handful of times and never lived together.
“It was wrong then and it is wrong now and I am here today to accept the consequences, some of which will be life-changing,” she said.
Abraham eventually earned a mathematics degree from Greensboro College in North Carolina. He now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, according to public records. He declined to respond to calls and texts from the Willamette Week, and he refused to speak to a reporter who went to his home.
Hayes committed a federal crime, but the statute of limitations is five years; 2002 was the last year that federal prosecutors could have charged her with the crime.
Here’s her statement on the matter:
Seventeen years ago I made a serious mistake by committing an illegal act when I married a person so that he could retain residency in the United States. It was a marriage of convenience. He needed help and I needed financial support.
We were both living in Washington. I was attending Evergreen State College, and we were introduced by mutual acquaintances. This was a difficult and unstable period in my life. I want to be clear today - I was associating with the wrong people. I was struggling to put myself through college and was offered money in exchange for marrying a young person who had a chance to get a college degree himself if he were able to remain in the United States.
We met only a handful of times. We never lived together. I have not had any contact with him since the divorce finalized in 2002.
It was wrong then and it is wrong now and I am here today to accept the consequences, some of which will be life changing. And I cannot predict what direction this will go.
In the few years after this bad decision I completed my degree, got my feet underneath me and established my home and career in Oregon. I became an active and engaged civic volunteer, community member and I became active politically.
My decision to marry illegally felt very, very distant and far removed from the life I was building. I was ashamed and embarrassed. Therefore I did not share this information even with John once we met and started dating.
This is the most painful part for me. John Kitzhaber deserved to know the history of the person he was forming a relationship with. The fact that I did not disclose this to him meant that he has learned about this in the most public and unpleasant way. This is my greatest sorrow in this difficult situation.
I apologize deeply for my actions and omissions, first and foremost to John, the person I love and respect above all others. I also apologize to my friends, family and colleagues who have trusted and supported me. And to Oregonians, I deeply regret not being right up front about the fact that I had made a serious mistake. I owe you all an apology.
The work that I do on behalf of our environment and trying to make people’s lives better is incredibly important to me -- it’s the focal point of my life. I will continue to do my best in that arena going forward.
But for the time being, there are more important issues. I need to take some personal time to reflect and address this difficult situation and to focus on my relationship with John.
"I was just a mouth piece for a liberal, leftist movement in the church," said Chelsen Vicari, author of the new book, Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith.
During Vicari's time in college, she was heavily influenced by something she says is plaguing the Christian church: Liberal indoctrination of core Christian teachings such as the inerrancy of the Bible. The growing liberal evangelical influence in today's churches is something Vicari fell victim to, but through a series of mentors was brought to the realization she was deceived.
In "Distortion," Vacari goes through her experience with liberal Christianity and how the Church can come back to authentic Christian teaching with grace and love in a hostile world.
Townhall had the opportunity to ask Vicari a few questions about "Distortion" and its importance in today's Christian church.
Leftist versions of Christianity are targeting Evangelicals, especially on university campuses, youth groups, and the like. So it is my prayer that through Distortion, other parents, grandparents, and faithful Christians can expose the left’s deceptive tactics in the Church. If the breaks aren’t applied immediately to the Christian Left, then the next generation is on track to abandon the moral foundations and ethical principles that have made America great.
This topic is so incredibly important to me because it’s partly my story. For a short time in college, I started to buy into this leftist Christian identity. Oh my parents will tell you that I grew callous and bitter towards what I thought was their “outdated” and “bigoted” version of Christianity. I specifically remember driving back from a family vacation and fighting with my mom and dad in the car because they refused to reconcile homosexuality with Christian teaching. After all, I was being taught at my campus ministry to affirm and “coexist,” not take seriously Scriptures that would hurt anyone’s feelings. Thankfully, my parents kept speaking about God’s truths in a loving tone to me and I backed away from this liberal political agenda cloaked in Christianity.
2. How can Christians be sensitive to controversial issues such as homosexuality and abortion while remaining strong in their faith?
Just recently Christians heard the news that the United States Supreme Court has deemed same-sex marriage constitutional by not hearing lower court appeals in several states. Many Christians are feeling disappointed, maybe even disillusioned or willing to compromise Christian teaching on marriage. But no matter how disappointed with our government leaders, we should never react harshly. This is a reminder of why it’s vital to pray for our national leaders and also why character counts when it comes to voting.
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that the Supreme Court’s’ ruling is not God’s. As Christians, it’s our responsibility to take a confident and unashamed stance on not just marriage and abortion, but all of God’s commandments including to love our neighbors. However, it doesn’t mean that we are unwelcoming or unloving because we can’t accommodate homosexuality or abortion. We should love our neighbors enough to tell them the truth about what the Bible says.
3. Christians have been historically conservative Republicans. You argue this is changing. Why?
I’ve read it estimated that about 6.4 million Evangelicals voted for President Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential election. This was shocking to me, since the president had a heavy pro-abortion track record and shifted his support to same-sex marriage on the campaign trail. But these Evangelical votes likely goes back to the Christian Left’s increasing influence. If you are taught by leaders in the Church that morality and ethics are relative and priority should be placed on political correctness, then that makes it easy for one to consider themselves a follower of Christ and still vote for an anti-life, anti-marriage candidate without conviction. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that voting Republican is Scriptural. Not at all! No matter what side of the political aisle a candidate is on, faithful Christians should consider how their moral character reflects Biblical values before placing a vote.
4. Because Christians are traditionally more conservative and small-government minded, why should they be on the forefront of pro-life and sanctity of marriage movements when that may seem in contraction to keeping government limited?
This question reminds me of the Apostle Peter who said, “we must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) For Christians, the importance of defending innocent unborn life and traditional marriage extends beyond conservative ideologies. If you say declare yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, then your responsibly is to His teachings. That includes defending the vulnerable and helpless or upholding sexuality in marriage between a man and woman. If Christians say that we don’t want to get involved in these two hot button issues because we are for small government, then we’ve got our priorities seriously out of order.
Chelsen Vicari is Evangelical Program Director at The Institute on Religion and Democracy and contributes to outlets such as The Blaze and The Christian Post.
Weeks after dropping out of the Montana Senate race over allegations of plagiarism, the U.S. Army War College revoked the master’s degree held former Sen. John Walsh; the paper was part of earning that degree. Walsh was accused of not properly cited sources in the term paper, which led to him dropping out the race (via AP):
The U.S. Army War College revoked Democratic Sen. John Walsh's master's degree after an investigation completed Friday concluded that he plagiarized a research paper required to graduate, a college spokeswoman said.
The college assigned an academic review board to the probe in August after The New York Times published a story showing Walsh borrowed heavily from other sources for the paper he wrote in 2007.
Walsh was pursuing a master of strategic studies degree at age 47, a year before he became Montana's adjutant general overseeing the state National Guard.
The board of the Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based college took less than a day to hear the case and make its findings Aug. 22. But the process of appeal and review wasn't completed until Friday.
"The board found that then Colonel John Walsh did commit the offense of plagiarism and thus his Master's Degree and status as graduate of the U.S. Army War College should be revoked," War College spokeswoman Carol Kerr said in a statement.
The review board's report found the plagiarism "egregious." A review of Walsh's paper by the school's director of communicative arts found little, if any, original language or research and that it was "primarily composed of verbatim liftings from other sources" presented as if they were Walsh's own work.
"In short, the paper was plagiarized and ... the plagiarism was intentional," the review board said in its report.
Democrats nominated Montana State House Rep. Amanda Curtis to replace Walsh on the ballot. She’s expected to lose to Rep. Steve Daines in the general next month.
From ALL's statement in August:
Michael Hichborn, ALL’s director of Defend the Faith, stated, “An official declaration of Planned Parenthood as an enemy of the Church will be a real game changer. Such a declaration will prevent Planned Parenthood employees and volunteers from serving in positions of responsibility in our parishes. Simply put, Catholics could no longer hide behind an uninformed conscience in order to assist or promote Planned Parenthood or its agenda and be able to continue calling themselves Catholics in good standing.”
Jim Sedlak, vice president of ALL, added, “Some people have told us this campaign has an impossible goal. But with God, nothing is impossible. In addition to being a massive educational effort, this campaign has a large spiritual dimension.”
ALL's request isn't without precedent In 1949, the Vatican issued a similar document, The Decree Against Communism, which stated that Catholics who associated with or defended communism would be excommunicated, and a papal bull issued in 1738 prohibits Catholics from joining the Freemasonry.
While I agree that no faithful Catholic has any business being involved with America's largest abortion business, I'm not sure if I would support something that results in automatic excommunication. Excommunication effectively ends any chance of that person quitting the abortion business and returning to the Church--which does happen. I sincerely hope that Pope Francis does something similar to his online support of the March for Life and condemns the work of Planned Parenthood and those who support abortion.
Editor's Note: This interview originally appeared in the October issue of Townhall Magazine.
Townhall: How would you describe “The Yanks Are Coming!”?
Crocker: An American-centric history of the First World War that highlights America’s heroes both of the war, but also men who got blooded in the war but whose fame came later.
I like to think of it as a very welcoming open entryway into understanding World War I. Told, I hope, with a certain flare and excitement. But also in going through the debates of why we got into the war, when I discuss that aspect of it, a lot of it is focused on the interplay between Teddy Roosevelt, who I think is right, and Woodrow Wilson, who I think is wrong about virtually everything.
Roosevelt is a very poignant example, because he understands the complexities of the First World War. He understands that Germany is not a cardboard cutout villain. The Germans have certain power, political realpolitik interests, that need to be respected. But on the other hand, he cannot stomach the way the Germans treat occupied Belgium and their invasion of France. But most especially, as an American, the way the Germans had no respect for our shipping as a neutral power.
Roosevelt talks about how the Germans have killed more Americans, roughly speaking, than had been killed at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. But while the British fired on armed men, the Germans were making war on women and children on ships. He excoriates Wilson for his cravenness and his cowardliness.
I also quote Roosevelt’s daughter as saying that “whatever else we’ve achieved, since then, our lives have been shaped more than anything else by the First World War.”
Townhall: What about World War I makes the topic relevant today?
Crocker: World War I is an underserved war. I think it is fair to say that the First World War is the war that made the modern world. It made the modern world in many respects. It changed the map of Europe, it knocked off most of the crowned heads of Europe, it saw the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it created the map of the modern Middle East, more or less.
It really is a shattering event in the 20th century that shatters this belief in inevitable human progress, which was made even more manifest in the Second World War.
The issues that were at stake in the First World War were shadow versions of what was at stake in the Second World War. The Second Reich was by no means as bad or as evil as the Third Reich, but the Second Reich had many of the same motivations driving it, and you can see this in some of the decisions that were made by its leaders afterwards.
Townhall: In part III of your book, you talk about people you call “The Young Lions.” Who are these people and why did you choose them?
Crocker: Some of them actually were generals already. [Douglas] MacArthur was a young brigadier general in the First World War. But he was one, in particular, who remembered traveling across the Old West with his father (who’d been in the Army) along the Indian Trail and yet MacArthur, during the Korean War, is thinking about deploying nuclear weapons.
I chose partly men like Patton, and Truman, and Marshall for their name recognition, but also because they really are emblematic of a certain American way of war. The 20th century really is the American century, and when you look back and you see what unites all these men, in terms of their values, the way they see America developing, it is kind of poignant to think what they would think of America today.
I close the book with the founding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which happens after the First World War. I close it with a sort of reflection on what that soldier died for, the America he believed in, and the America that exists and just how congruent or not those two Americas are.
Townhall: Did you uncover anything while writing this book that surprised you? What were your favorite takeaways?
Crocker: I hope this is a great benefit to readers. Some of the people I write about, they will undoubtedly know something about, like Truman, and Marshall, and Patton. But some of them are forgotten American heroes who led amazing lives and I think need to be rediscovered. I mean, Eddie Rickenbacker, our air ace was a former race car driver and becomes a businessman after the war running Eastern Air Lines, and he is just a fascinating character.
For Marines, or those who know Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, well Lejeune was a marine general during the First World War.
Or men like Billy Mitchell in the 1920s, the court martial of Billy Mitchell was a huge event, I mean think of like the O.J. Simpson murder trial. But he was also one of our great air officers during the war.
So it was kind of fun to go back and relive that. •
To former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, faith absolutely trumps politics, so much so that he has no reservations about casting off the R beside his name if the GOP abandons its opposition to same-sex marriage.
“If the Republicans want to lose guys like me — and a whole bunch of still God-fearing Bible-believing people — go ahead and just abdicate on this issue, and why you’re at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter, either,” Huckabee said on the American Family Association’s radio show this week during a discussion on gay marriage.
“Because at that point, you lose me,” he continued. “I’m gone. I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this.”
Huckabee’s comments came after the Supreme Court announced earlier this week that they will not take up gay marriage, thereby clearing the way for same-sex marriages in Wisconsin, Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, and Indiana. This, of course, provides an opportunity for some GOP candidates who wish to avoid the issue to do just that:
The Supreme Court’s decision Monday clearing the way for same-sex marriages in five states may benefit an unlikely group: Republican lawmakers who can’t wait to stop talking about gay marriage, an issue that is increasingly becoming a drag for the party.
Advisors to multiple likely 2016 candidates told TIME after the news broke that they are hopeful that swift action by the Supreme Court will provide them cover. “We don’t have to agree with the decision, but as long as we’re not against it we should be okay,” said one aide to a 2016 contender who declined to be named to speak candidly on the sensitive topic. “The base, meanwhile, will focus its anger on the Court, and not on us.”
“I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue when, if they continue this direction they guarantee they’re gonna lose every election in the future,” Huckabee said. “Guarantee it.”
“And I don’t understand why they want to lose,” he continued. “Because a lot of Republicans, particularly in the establishment and those who live on either the left coast or those who live up in the bubbles of New York and Washington, are convinced that if we don’t capitulate on the same sex marriage issue and if we don’t raise the white flag of surrender, and just accept it as inevitable, we’ll be losers.”
“I tell you,” he said. “It’s the absolute opposite of that.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is one of Congress’s loudest voices on right to life issues. One of his most passionate causes, is exposing and dismantling China’s inhumane One Child Policy.
At the Heritage Foundation this Thursday, Smith joined fellow freedom fighters Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, for a discussion of China’s disastrous policy.
Smith began with a powerful speech at the podium, listing just a few of the law’s atrocities. Here a just a few reasons why Smith calls the One Child Policy the “most egregious act against women ever:”
“It bans single moms from carrying to term.”
“Women are held in punishment cells or her relatives beaten if she resists pressure. Or, she is forced to undergo a forced abortion.”
“There are 590 female suicides per day – the only country higher than male suicides. It’s three times higher.”
Smith also mentioned a few other inevitable consequences that have resulted from this policy. Namely, that China has become one of the world’s prime hubs for sex trafficking, and that the surplus of Chinese men has led to economic instability and raised the specter of war.
With all these factors in mind, Smith had a list of people to criticize. Namely, women’s rights groups who are too busy claiming Republicans are waging a “war on women,” and the Obama administration for not taking decisive action against the Chinese government – especially since they’ve had ample opportunity to do so. When Vice President Joe Biden visited a Chinese university three years ago, he said he “fully understands” the policy and “wouldn’t second guess it.” Smith called these statements “unconscionable.” Biden presumably refused to challenge the policy because he didn’t want to hamper trade relations, Smith explained. Smith also challenged the Obama administration for giving money to the United Nations Population Fund, which he says is “complicit” in the One Child Policy.
Smith is not just looking for applause. In addition to putting forward legislation to raise awareness and end the atrocities in China, he was also part of the successful effort that helped activist Chen Guangcheng escape from a prison cell in China, where he was being held for demonstrating against the One Child Policy. Guangcheng has continued to fight against this legislation and powerfully simplified the policy for the Heritage audience:
“The government grabs babies out of your womb.”
Guangcheng shared one particularly tragic story about a couple in China who was pregnant without a permit. They were driving along a road one day and government officials stopped them and dragged the husband out of the truck and beat him. Then, they forcibly brought them both to an abortion clinic, where they forced the mother to terminate her pregnancy.
These kinds of stories are not anomalies – and it’s why Guangcheng is fighting every day to end the policy that has “demoralized” his country, as he puts it.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers President Reggie Littlejohn had some other devastating statistics to share about China’s Once Child Policy:
“In the time we speak, at least 1,500 women will be aborted in China.”
“Up to 200 million women are missing today because of gendercide.”
Littlejohn also dedicated part of her speech to discussing how forced abortions in China not only kill wanted children, they also put mothers at risk. It’s so violent, she says, that sometimes women die in the operations too. What’s more, with each abortion, studies have shown women are at increased risks for breast cancer.
In this kind of environment, it’s no wonder Rep. Smith asserts that for women in China, their “trauma is beyond comprehension.”
In summary: The One Child Policy is indefensible.
Kansas' 2014 race for Senate may be one studied by political scientists for decades to come. For now, it looks as if it'll be a case study in how low-information self-identified independents think the partisan ID next to a candidates name matters more than anything else.
A background: a lot of research has shown that self-identified independent voters and swing voters are only in the middle of the political spectrum because they're low-information voters. The more informed an American is, the more strongly partisan he or she is. A large portion of independent and swing voters are low-information, as Businessweek described in 2012:
[M]any undecideds are so-called low-information voters—they have only a dim awareness of what’s actually going on. The YouGov poll found that just 40 percent could identify John Boehner as the Speaker of the House. In Hart’s focus group, one participant wrongly believed that Romney planned to raise the Social Security eligibility age to 75, another that Obama had erred in not visiting New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina (George W. Bush was president at the time).
The other group of undecided voters, those who haven’t tuned in yet, will draw on an even thinner grasp of politics. They tend not to follow current events and thus don’t respond to the normal methods of persuasion. Brabender calls them “unknowings” and says they can’t be reached by advertising on Fox News or MSNBC. “If you’re watching Fox, you already know who you’re voting for,” he says. This group tends to be younger, concentrated in rural and suburban areas, and more apt to watch prime-time network TV than news shows, which means its members are more expensive to reach through ads.
Greg Orman, who previously ran for Senate as a Democrat but is now running as an independent, is winning the self-identified independent vote in Kansas very comfortably:
Independent Greg Orman is doing shockingly well among…who else, but self-described Independents. He’s winning, on average, 54% of their vote. The incumbent lags far behind at an average of 25%. That roughly 30% advantage is larger than most candidates for statewide office in Kansas over the last two decades.
In the most recent CNN/ORC poll, which also had Pat Roberts in a better situation with Orman than previous polls, Orman had an even larger majority with self-described independent voters - 62%. But in that same poll, self-identified Kansas voters strongly disapproved of the job that President Barack Obama is doing as President by a 55%-36% margin.
Self-described independent voters, numerous studies have found, are actually mild partisans. It could be the case that independents in Kansas are actually mildly liberal on the whole, and like the idea of an "independent" or center-left-ish candidate like Greg Orman. The independent vote in Kansas is actually larger than the self-described Democratic vote. The CNN poll recently found that 36% of likely voters described themselves as independents.
Still two facts have to grappled with: Republicans have historically won majorities of the independent vote in Kansas, which Roberts is not poised to do; and independents are strongly disapproving of President Obama's job performance.
There's time left, and the late-deciding and low-information independents might realize that the race is between a Republican and a Democrat-in-everything-but-name. It was only in the most recent two polls that Roberts began even winning comfortable majorities of Republicans in Kansas, so it could be that he'll keep making up the difference as the actual reality of the race becomes clearer.
But if Orman wins, it's going to be because he ran as an independent instead of a Democrat. It'll have nothing to do with issues and it'll have nothing to do with the temperature of the electorate. It'll have everything to do with the letters next to the politicians' names and the heuristics used by low-information voters to make decisions.