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Trump’s foreign policy success or failure will be set in motion in Israel

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Today, President Trump had what a majority of Americans would consider to be a successful foreign policy day. His tone when speaking about terrorism to the core of the Muslim world in the Middle East was generally approved; the left liked that he didn’t go off the rails and the right witnessed a breath of fresh air after eight years of failure to even acknowledge the problem.

Not everyone was excited by his message, but conservatives should be able to agree that he sounded exponentially better than President Obama. He didn’t call it “radical Islamic terrorism” but he wasn’t making excuses for them, either. Most importantly, he urged Muslim countries themselves to take the lead on expelling and extinguishing the threat; there were no Neocon or Establishment hawk leanings towards police action by America.

Now, his and the world’s attentions turn to Israel where he has the greatest foreign policy opportunity as well as the biggest potential letdown for those of us who consider Israel to be our most important strategic ally. His trip to the Jewish state will set in motion his agenda in the Middle East. After success in Saudi Arabia, any failure from a diplomatic perspective will be magnified. There are already people on the right attacking his implicit support for Saudi Arabia’s most heinous activities. If he doesn’t follow that up with an equally strong (or stronger) level of support for Israel, the comparisons to Obama’s policies on the Middle East will grow louder.

Will he move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Preliminary reports tell us they won’t, but this is President Trump so you never know what will happen until it does.

Can he avoid public conflict over allegedly revealing sensitive Israeli intelligence to the Russians? We can assume any dismay from the Israelis or reassurances from the President will happen behind closed doors, so this is likely a non-topic during this trip as far as the public is concerned.

Pre-1967 borders have suddenly entered the equation since the White House released a video showing Israel without the “occupied” territories as part of their lands. This may be played off as an intern’s mistake or it may become an issue.

The BDS movement will be discussed. It’s an issue that should bring unification between the administration and Israeli leaders, particularly as he will undoubtedly point out how the movement hurts Muslims as much or more than it hurts Jews.

Lastly, will there be any talks of a two-state solution? If it happens during the Israel trip, it will push this portion of his agenda to the forefront and we can expect repercussions from many on the American right as well as an adversarial situation in Israel itself. This is unlikely, but again, it’s Trump so you never know.

If President Trump makes it out of Saudi Arabia and Israel with both allies feeling good about their relationship with America, Trump will be set up for success. If Israel turns south on the President, this could be the start of a foreign policy disaster that will likely spiral throughout his term(s).

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Entertainment and Sports

What makes a great movie villain great?

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What makes a great movie villain great

As a lover of cinema, there are two things any “fun” movie must have: a good hero and a great villain. A good hero with a great villain works. A good example of this would be Saw. Unfortunately, a great hero with a good villain often falls flat. The Amazing Spider-Man saw a great variation of the hero mixed with a decent yet boring villain.

“Fun” movies are action/adventure, horror, thriller, or anything that pits good versus evil. Silence of the Lambs, The Dark Knight, and Star Wars are the obvious examples everyone uses when they think of great villains, but I prefer to call on a creepy villain that nobody remembers until I mention him. Taylor Negron’s Milo in The Last Boy Scout was the perfect foil to Bruce Willis, arguably better from a purely evil perspective than Alan Rickman’s baddie in Die hard.

To see if my choice stood up to the tests of video essayists characterizing the perfect villain (which all of them have at some point), I picked #Filmento to test my bad guy.

The making of a bad guy is imperative for a fun movie to really be fun. This breakdown by Filmento is a good place to start if you’re about to make your own bad guy.

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Opinions

Nature, an international journal of ‘science,’ makes ludicrous political statement on sex and gender

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Nature an international journal of science makes ludicrous political statement on sex and gender

Anyone who thinks science is objective would be partially correct. Anyone who believes scientists are objective hasn’t been paying much attention lately.

Let’s look at a single paragraph from Nature, the self-proclaimed International Journal of Science. I’m not cherrypicking a single bad paragraph. It just encapsulates the lunacy being promoted in the name of this “scientific” article.

US proposal for defining gender has no basis in science

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07238-8The proposal — on which HHS officials have refused to comment — is a terrible idea that should be killed off. It has no foundation in science and would undo decades of progress on understanding sex — a classification based on internal and external bodily characteristics — and gender, a social construct related to biological differences but also rooted in culture, societal norms and individual behaviour. Worse, it would undermine efforts to reduce discrimination against transgender people and those who do not fall into the binary categories of male or female.

Let’s start from the top and work our way down. The opinion of this “scientific” journal is that a proposed classification system designed to protect all people’s privacy and safety without the possibility for discrimination is a “terrible idea that should be killed off.” This, of course, has no basis whatsoever in the science they claim to promote. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when science and politics mix, especially when it comes to allocation of research spending. But this isn’t like saying, “Research dollars spent on curing individual types of cancer would be better used helping scientists understand the root cause of all types of cancers.” That conclusion would come from the mix of science and politics. On the topic of sex and gender, they’ve abandoned the scientific side of the argument and gone completely political.

Their next statement is incredible. “It has no foundation in science and would undo decades of progress in understanding sex.” This isn’t simply inaccurate. It’s a bald faced lie. Of course sex is based on science. In the rare cases where sex is ambiguous or indeterminable, science enables doctors to help babies move along the path of least resistance while also allowing them the ability to self-determine their sex when they are older. Exceptions can and should be made in such cases. As for undoing “decades of progress understanding sex,” this is also a politically motivated lie. The HHS proposal has absolutely nothing to do with progress understanding sex. They aren’t changing textbooks or erasing research. Again, Nature is weaponizing their scientific credentials to give weight to a purely political statement. It’s a catchy use of words that could have just as easily been written by leftist speechwriters as alleged scientists.

As for gender, we’ll give that part of the statement to them. If we are to base sex on science, then we should accept that gender is a preference. We may not agree with someone’s preference, but that’s really none of our business unless it affects us directly. Thankfully, the rules proposed by HHS pertain to sex, not gender identity.

The last sentence of the paragraph is the funny one. Any hopes the editors had of not coming across as total political hacks masquerading as scientists can be tossed out the window when we read, “Worse, it would undermine efforts to reduce discrimination against transgender people and those who do not fall into the binary categories of male or female.”

Their entire article tries to ride the scientific high horse to the leftist finish line, but they can only do so by abandoning the science they claim to uphold and embracing the politics they claim to despise. This is why their best arguments revolve around discrimination. Unfortunately for them, being their best arguments does not mean they’re good arguments.

Let’s be clear about the charges the left likes to make about discrimination. By definition, there is nothing discriminatory about basing decisions surrounding sex on the biological physical components that determine sex. In fact, it’s the only way to NOT discriminate because it puts all people on equal footing. There are no advantages given to those who choose a non-biological sex as their gender and there are no disadvantages to people who abide by the sex they were born into. But the left loves throwing “discrimination” and “bigotry” into the mix any time there’s a perceived threat to their all-encompassing supremacy over accepted cultural norms.

Political statements disguised as science hurts both sides of the coin. It confuses the politics and dirties the science. Shame on Nature for weaponizing their credentials to push a political ideology. The credibility of this “scientific” journal is gone.

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Democrats

Democrats flip Utah House seat as McAdams tops Rep. Mia Love

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Democrats flip Utah House seat as McAdams tops Rep Mia Love

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Democrat Ben McAdams has flipped a U.S. House seat in deep-red Utah, defeating incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mia Love by fewer than 700 votes in a race that took two weeks to settle.

McAdams defeated Love by a margin barely over what would have been needed to require a recount, according to final results posted Tuesday.

McAdams’ victory adds to the Democratic majority in a year when they’ve flipped more than three dozen Republican-held seats across the country to win control of the House of Representatives.

The race had been too close to call for The Associated Press until the final votes were tallied. State election officials will certify the results next Monday.

McAdams declared victory Monday night after a release of ballots gave him a margin his campaign believed was insurmountable.

“This race was about connecting with Utah,” he said. “This race was about who was best positioned to serve Utah and working to not get it caught up in a national, partisan election.”

Love, the first and only black female Republican in Congress, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She was seeking a third term.

Love finished about 20 votes short of being able to request a recount in a race where about 269,000 votes were cast.

This is the second time she has lost a bid for Congress by a razor thin margin. In her first run in 2012, Love lost to incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson by 768 votes. She went on to defeat Democrat Doug Owens in 2014 and again in 2016.

For McAdams, it’s a victory that validates his reputation as an emerging political force in Utah.

He pitched himself as a solid moderate, and not a typical Democrat, while calling Love a partisan who almost always votes with President Donald Trump. The strategy was aimed at independent voters who account for nearly four in 10 voters in the largely suburban district, and designed to overcome his built-in disadvantage in a district where registered Republicans in the district outnumber Democrats by nearly 3-to-1.

He is an attorney who graduated from Columbia Law School and practiced in New York before returning to his home state of Utah. He has been a political figure in the state for a decade. He was elected as one of the few Democrats in the GOP-dominated state Legislature in 2008 and successfully ran for the Salt Lake County mayor’s seat four years later.

He became known for working with the state’s Republican leaders on issues like homelessness, where he backed a narrow Medicaid expansion to cover treatment and once went undercover as a homeless person when the issue reached crisis mode downtown.

Though solidly conservative, Utah voters have long been uncomfortable with Trump’s brash style and his comments about women and immigrants. That anxiety is especially pronounced in the suburbs of blue-leaning Salt Lake City, and McAdams’ mayoral position gave him solid name recognition with voters.

McAdams said during the campaign he would not support California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and insisting he’d be able to work with the president. He has already signed a letter along with 15 other Democrats vowing to oppose Pelosi.

He sharply criticized Love’s support for the GOP-backed tax overhaul and said she had not been available enough to her constituents at town halls. Love pushed back hard, saying the tax overhaul has been good for people in Utah and defending her approach of meeting with voters in smaller groups, on the phone or online.

She highlighted the times she’s stood up to the president, like when Trump used an expletive to describe her parents’ home country of Haiti. She tried to separate herself from Trump on trade and immigration.

Trump didn’t appreciate her approach, calling her out by name in a news conference the morning after Election Day, where he also bashed other Republicans who he said lost because they didn’t fully embrace him.

Love seemed to struggle to find the right balance among conservative voters as she tried to keep her distance but stopped short of disparaging the president, said Damon Cann, a political science professor at Utah State University.

“It became very difficult to satisfy everyone,” Cann said.

Voter turnout among registered voters was the highest for any midterm election in Utah since 1962 at about 74 percent, according to Justin Lee, the state elections director.

McAdams was an excellent candidate and also probably benefited from displeasure with Trump and the Republican party, Cann said.

“The winds were all at McAdams back,” Cann said.

____

Associated Press writer Lindsay Whitehurst contributed to this report.

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