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Commentary

Hugh Hewitt: The Key Point on the FISA Memo

FISA

The recent release of the memo from GOP Rep. Devin Nunes revealed one major fact that stands out above all other revelations: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant-or FISA warrant on Carter Page (and the three subsequent renewals of the warrant) omitted a material fact. While the FBI admitted that the information came from a politically motivated source, the bureau did not disclose that the source had been financed by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. That’s a damning omission.

The non-disclosure of a material fact in an application for a FISA warrant-its minimization, indeed one could argue its camouflaging-is a very big deal and its provenance should be thoroughly investigated. It threatens to undermine every warrant submitted to a FISA court.

What I’ve called “Trump torque” is pulling on everyone in the news business-his critics are often overheated and his defenders tend to ignore his errors. This “torque” is twisting every single story in one direction or another.

But: It’s not about President Trump. Or at least this one shouldn’t be. It’s about when American courts approve surveillance of Americans. And that’s every American’s concern.

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Albert Mohler: The Education Bill and the Future of Religious Liberty

Billy Graham

Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965. And we should all sit up and take note.

Sometimes legislation that looks almost innocuous is anything but; sometimes legislation that will have historic and long-lasting effect doesn’t go by any name that would get the citizens’ attention; and sometimes it’s almost as if politically it’s moving under the surface without much attention at all.

This reauthorization is an entire clash of worldviews in one piece of legislation. It’s to the credit of the Trump administration that the over-500-page bill is loaded with respect and concern for the future of religious liberty in the United States, and, most specifically, the future of religious liberty on American college and university campuses.

Now, all of this might look routine, but the result can turn out to be anything but routine.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of religious liberty will have a great deal to do with the final state of this bill.

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Albert Mohler: A Government Ministry of Loneliness

Billy Graham

One of the saddest headlines I’ve seen in a very long time comes to us in the New York Times. The headline article: “U.K. Appoints a Minister for Loneliness.”

 

A 2017 report indicated that “more than 9 million Britons often or always feel lonely.”

 

The extremes of age are identified as two very urgent problems: loneliness amongst the young and loneliness amongst the aging.

 

The breakup of the family, and especially the demise of the extended family, will explain why so many especially amongst the elderly are cut off. And the advent of social media helps to explain the impact of loneliness in epidemic proportion amongst young people.

 

But the sad reality is that when a government establishes a minister for loneliness it’s an affirmation of a problem; it’s not likely to be a step towards the solution.

 

To put the matter bluntly, government can’t be our friend. When human connection breaks down at a most fundamental level, no government can solve the problem.

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Michael Medved: Marijuana Isn’t Harmless for Moms and Their Kids

Marijuana

The growing and powerful marijuana industry wants the public to believe that the drug they promote is harmless, or even beneficial for many medical conditions. But a major study of nearly 300,000 pregnant women in JAMA—the Journal of the American Medical Association—shows that getting high is dangerous for expectant mothers. An appalling 19 percent of pregnant California women between 18 and 24 used pot regularly during the first months of pregnancy; among mothers under 18, a full 22 percent indulged.

Despite the belief that weed might help combat morning sickness discomfort, the CDC—the Center for Disease Control and Prevention—shows major perils for the unborn baby, including increased risk of low birth weight and serious developmental problems. Most women know they should avoid alcohol while bearing and then nursing a baby, but medical research shows they haven’t gotten the same important message about marijuana—which, despite its trendy popularity, threatens serious impact on both adults and their offspring.

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Albert Mohler: A Very Historic Vote on the Floor of the United States Senate

Headlines

On January 29, we witnessed a very historic vote on the floor of the United States Senate.

The vote was for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would’ve banned abortion after the unborn child had reached 20 weeks of gestation. It failed by a vote of 51-46—reaching a majority but falling short the required 60 votes to move the bill to the floor for a full up or down vote.

But what we saw was courageous—and it was convictional. It was necessary. Remember that it took 15 years in order for the United States Senate to pass what became known as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act—15 years of bringing bills to a vote again and again and again until finally a sufficient number of senators voted for that bill protecting babies from partial-birth abortion.

And senators are going to have to bring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act back. We have to hope that they will—again and again and again—until we reach the 60 votes necessary to make this act the law of the land.

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Michael Medved: Democrats: Badly Out of the Mainstream on Israel

Marijuana

A survey of opinion on the Middle East brings good news to Israel and bad news for Democrats. The Pew Center asked the question: “In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, who do you sympathize with?” Among every gender, every racial or religious group, every age or educational level, Americans strongly sided with Israelis.

Only one political group—self-identified Democrats—split nearly evenly between sympathies for Israel and the Palestinians—with 27 percent with the Jewish state, 26 percent for the Palestinians.

By contrast, Republicans backed Israeli by a lopsided ratio of 13 to 1, while Independents favored the Jewish state by nearly 3 to 1. What puts Democrats so badly out of the mainstream?

In part, it’s the moral relativism that’s infected contemporary liberalism, leaving the left reluctant ever to say one side’s right and the other’s wrong. Moreover, Israelis and Americans share a reverence for three institutions many liberals instinctively distrust: the military, business and traditional faith.

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Hugh Hewitt: Trump the Builder

FISA

President Trump’s opening words of his State of the Union Address were his entire message, “A clear vision, a righteous mission.” The speech was 100 percent pure Trump, because he was first, and remains primarily, a builder: first of towers, then of a television show, then of the most unorthodox campaign in American history, now of a presidency of concrete achievement. Like any builder, he touches up the obvious cracks, the unnecessary and off-putting cruelty in the harsh attacks, and then he sells the best features. He’s building his record, and he’s patching it up as he goes.

So, in this very big, very crucial speech, the big things were immigrants and building: integration of new communities, the “Dreamers,” intervention in the lives of the addicted, and the infrastructure everywhere.

For everyone: upbeat stuff, big picture stories, wonderful inspiring narratives, good stuff. Keep it up, Mr. President! Put away the division. Keep that building going.

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