Ex-TV anchor, journalism teacher given 3 years for bank holdups…

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(Second column, 11th story, link)


Cardinal Sarah Sounds The Alarm

The Catholic Cardinal Robert Sarah does not mince words in an interview about his new book. Excerpt:

In the first part of your book, you describe “a spiritual and religious collapse.” How does this collapse manifest itself? Does it only affect the West or are other regions of the world, such as Africa, also affected by it?

The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God. They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him…” We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic “Superman.”

The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this. Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices. Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.

This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace. Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself. The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It preferred the kind of riches that it owed only to itself.

More:

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse.[Emphasis mine — RD] It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

He goes on:

A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

Read the whole thing. It’s extraordinary.

I’m in Boston today to give a talk at a private gathering for a Catholic classical school, St. Benedict Elementary; headed back home to Louisiana early tomorrow morning. I went to dinner last night with some of the benefactors. I was taken aback by many of their stories, about how difficult it is to live as faithful Catholics in this part of the world. The spiritual collapse of which Cardinal Sarah speaks is general here. On the other hand, so is the renewal. I visited the little St. Benedict School yesterday, and was moved and impressed. I was even more moved and impressed talking to these parents last night, and learning about what they are sacrificing to make sure their children get a real Catholic education. These Catholic moms and dads are wholly undeceived about the challenges they and their children face. But they are not surrendering! They are working hard and giving generously to build this little oasis in a spiritual desert.

Anybody who thinks that the Benedict Option is about surrender should come to see St. Benedict School. It is deeply countercultural, in the best way. It is exactly the opposite of what Cardinal Sarah condemns as Church institutions that allow “radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking and living to coexist side by side with faith.” It is so encouraging to be here. I get the same light-shining-in-the-darkness feeling here that I get when I visit the Tipi Loschi in Italy, and the monastery in Norcia. I’m sure Cardinal Sarah would think the same, if he came to visit.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that St. Benedict Classical Academy is a modest school that needs help. If you are a Catholic with resources, especially if you live in the Boston area and despair of the condition of the Church, please consider, and consider strongly donating to the school. A place like this would be a blessing wherever it appeared. That it appears in this post-Christian habitat is a miracle, and a sign of real hope.

Committee Votes to Move David Bernhardt’s Nomination as Interior Secretary to Full Senate Vote

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on April 4 voted 14-6 to move the nomination of Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former Westlands Water District and oil industry lobbyist, to a full Senate vote, setting the stage for a contentious and heated debate.

In his lobbying disclosures, Bernhardt has listed “potential legislation regarding the Bureau of Reclamation and the Endangered Species Act” under his specific lobbying areas, including trying to minimize protections for endangered salmon, Delta smelt and other fish populations.

According to a story I broke in January, a fish survey that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) conducts every autumn turned up zero Delta smelt — the very same fish that Bernhardt is trying to strip protections for — throughout the monitoring sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in September, October, November and December 2018. (www.dailykos.com/…)

“It’s no surprise that a group of Senators who owe so much to special interest lobbyists would support this choice for Interior Secretary,” said Western Values Project’s Executive Director Chris Saeger in a statement in response to the committee’s vote. “For the last two years, conflict-ridden David Bernhardt has tipped the scales in favor of former clients, likely violating his ethics pledge and responsibilities to the American people.”

“Western Senators Heinrich, Gardner, McSally, and Daines greased the wheels to push Bernhardt’s controversial nomination forward before getting clear answers to critical questions regarding his serious conflicts of interests. There is still time for them to reverse this mistake by voting to reject Bernhardt on the floor of the Senate. Until that happens, they will have to live with being known as full-throated supporters of Trump’s conflicted ex-lobbyist pick to run our nation’s public lands,” Saeger said.

During Bernhardt’s hearing, Senators were unable to get clarification on several key conflicts of interest questions raised by Western Values Project. In addition, calls by Senator Wyden and others to delay his vote based on “serious concerns regarding Bernhardt’s culture of corruption” were ignored, said Saeger.

Two Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Mark Heinrich (NM), and Independent Angus King (ME) joined with every Republican on the committee in voting to confirm Bernhardt. Western Senators Martha McSally (AZ), Cory Gardner (CO), and Steve Daines (MT) also supported the former lobbyist, according to Saeger.

The Washington Post reported this week that, at the request of two watchdog groups and several Senators, Interior’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing evidence that Bernhardt violated his ethics pledge when he acted on behalf of a former client, Westlands Water District.

Then today (April 4) new details released by the New York Times revealed that Bernhardt had continued to associate with the water district at least until his deputy secretary nomination on April 28, 2017, according to Saeger. Within four months of his confirmation as Interior Deputy Secretary, Bernhardt pushed for a decision that would be beneficial for his former client.

“A 2017 invoice indicates that David Bernhardt, President Trump’s choice to lead the Interior Department, continued to lobby for a major client several months after he filed official papers saying that he had ended his lobbying activities,” said Times reporter Coral Davenport.

“The bill for Mr. Bernhardt’s services, dated March 2017 and labeled ‘Federal Lobbying,’ shows, along with other documents, Mr. Bernhardt working closely with the Westlands Water District as late as April 2017, the month Mr. Trump nominated him to his current job, deputy interior secretary. In November 2016, Mr. Bernhardt had filed legal notice with the federal government formally ending his status as lobbyist,” Davenport wrote.

Western Values Project (WVP) filed suit against the Interior Department in July of 2018 for public documents related to Bernhardt’s involvement with his former lobbying firm and clients. “Interior has been stonewalling the release of the documents and only now begun releasing preliminary documents related to the ten requests and comply with the joint status agreement,” said Saeger.

In response to the New York Times article’s revelations about Bernhardt’s lobbying for Westlands after he began working for Interior, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said: “Our friends at Pacific Advocates confirmed what we suspected — that Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Interior, David Bernhardt, was lobbying for Westlands Water District after going to work for the Trump Administration. Invoices show he was busying lobbying for weakening endangered species protections and water rights for the Bay-Delta estuary.”

She also pointed out how Senator Dianne Feinstein was in contact with Bernhardt and Westlands regarding the weakening of Delta protections.

“During his period of double employment and conflict of interest, Senator Feinstein’s office was in contact with him and Westland’s General Manager Tom Birmingham on this weakening of Delta protections,” Barrigan-Parrilla stated. “This pains us because we thought we saw movement in Senator Feinstein’s thinking on Delta management.”

“While she opposed the twin tunnels, she seems fine with just pumping all the water away and destroying Delta fisheries, part of our historical and cultural legacy, and our water quality for public health protections. That’s not a better solution for the Delta. Her staff knew the nominee for Interior had conflicted interests and engaged with him regardless of his status, but Delta leaders seldom hear from her office. We expect better Senator Feinstein,” she concluded.

On March 19, a coalition of California fishing groups, conservation organizations and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein seeking an investigation and public disclosure of Bernhardt’s role in granting the powerful Westlands Water District a permanent water supply contract. The groups also demanded that taxpayers be repaid for Westlands’ Delta Tunnels’ bills before his confirmation hearing.

“In advance of Mr. Bernhardt’s Senate confirmation hearing on March 28, we draw your attention to the dark ethical cloud that hangs over his nomination,” the letter states. “Questions about a broad range of potential conflicts have been submitted by other Senators to the Inspector General and there have been numerous, publicly-reported conflicts of interest, violations of ethics recusals, and a pattern of repeated favoritism Mr. Bernhardt has extended to almost all of his former clients.”

“All of the potential conflicts need to be assessed, but our specific emphasis herein is to urge you to investigate two concerns of unique importance to California: (1) Westlands’ pending request for a permanent water supply contract for more than 1 Million Acre-feet (MAF) and (2) the repayment of $84.8 million in federal taxpayer dollars, paid by Interior to cover Westlands’ (and three other federal water contractors’) Delta water tunnel costs,” the letter states.

The coalition sending the letter included: the Crab Boat Owners Association, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association, AquAlliance, Environmental Water Caucus, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Sierra Club California, Southern California Watershed Alliance, Institute for Fisheries Resources, CA Save our Streams Council, California Water Impact Network, Save the American River Association, Local Agencies of the Delta, Restore the Delta, North Coast Rivers Alliance and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Planning and Conservation League.

The latest revelations about Bernhardt’s enormous conflicts of interest take place at a critical time for salmon, Delta smelt and other San Francisco Bay Delta fish populations. For the first time ever, a fish survey that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) conducts every autumn turned up zero Delta smelt throughout the monitoring sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in September, October, November and December 2018.

The smelt, a 2 to 3 inch fish listed under both federal and state Endangered Species Acts that was once the most abundant fish in the Delta, is found only in the Delta estuary. It is regarded as an indicator species, a fish that demonstrates the health of the entire Delta ecosystem.

Adoptive Couple Drives Drugged Children off Cliff to Their Deaths

Details about the tragic March 2018 deaths of Jennifer and Sarah Hart and their six adopted children have been revealed by authorities. (More)

Jim Carrey: America ‘Doomed' If We Don’t Regulate Capitalism

LAS VEGAS (AP) — At the just-wrapped CinemaCon, celebrities talked about their upcoming movies but much much more. From Linda Hamilton and her “strange” return to the “Terminator” franchise to Jamie Lee Curtis demanding Joe Biden apologize to Anita Hill to Jim Carrey talking about his politically inspired paintings, stars had a lot to say at the Las Vegas event. (More)

Exclusive–Kris Kobach: Surge of Illegal Immigration 'Undercutting' Trump's Wage Hikes for Working Class

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the flood of illegal immigrants arriving in the United States on a daily basis is “undercutting” President Trump’s “Hire American” economy by threatening to choke recent wage hikes for America’s blue collar and working class.  (More)

USA plans to turn fish into spies…

The US military is trying to turn fish into underwater spies

The US military is turning to fish and other sea life to help them monitor the activity of their enemies in the oceans.

Marine creatures are well adapted to their environment, and scientists want to employ their sensory abilities to pick up signals that might be missed by conventional technology.

This could mean anything from monitoring fluctuations in schools of sea bass to microbes responding to the magnetic signatures emitted by submarines.

From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) programme will make use of this information to transform these creatures into self-sustaining populations of underwater spies.

“The US Navy’s current approach to detecting and monitoring underwater vehicles is hardware-centric and resource intensive,” said programme manager Dr Lori Adornato as the initiative was launched last year.

“As a result, the capability is mostly used at the tactical level to protect high-value assets like aircraft carriers, and less so at the broader strategic level.

“If we can tap into the innate sensing capabilities of living organisms that are ubiquitous in the oceans, we can extend our ability to track adversary activity and do so discreetly, on a persistent basis, and with enough precision to characterise the size and type of adversary vehicles.”

A total of $45m (£35m) has now been distributed to five research teams, each of which is working on a particular organism and developing technologies to monitor them and beam information back to the scientists.

One team is analysing the “booms” made by territorial fish known as goliath groupers, which they think could provide information about approaching drones or submarines.

Another is examining the noises made by snapping shrimp, 200-decibel pops that could work as a natural form of sonar.

“It has the potential to detect even the quietest vehicles that might be there,” project leader Dr Alison Laferriere of Raytheon BBN Technologies told Scientific American.

Findings from these studies are expected to be published across the next few years, and should contribute to basic research into animal behaviour as well as its military uses.

The programme is administered by the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), and it is not their only initiative involved living creatures.

One project is creating genetically modified plants that, like fish in the PALS programme, are capable of acting as environmental sensors.

Another project being developed by the agency involves using insects loaded with synthetic viruses to spread genetic changes to plants growing in fields.

That initiative, dubbed Insect Allies, has faced controversy as scientists raised concerns that instead of being used in agriculture it could lead to the development of “a new class of biological weapon”.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

At The Independent, no one tells us what to write. That’s why, in an era of political lies and Brexit bias, more readers are turning to an independent source. Subscribe from just 15p a day for extra exclusives, events and ebooks – all with no ads.

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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Cob Save America

What We’re Following Today

It’s Friday, April 5.

‣ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it will no longer classify people in same-sex marriages as “apostates,” and will allow children from same-sex marriages to be blessed and baptized as infants.

‣ The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, a rebound from the February jobs report, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8 percent.

‣ Senator Elizabeth Warren called to abolish the legislative filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to pass laws.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

More From Michael Cohen: Attorneys for Donald Trump’s former lawyer submitted documents to lawmakers alleging that Trump “encouraged Cohen to lie” to Congress about the Trump Tower project in Moscow. The memo goes further than Cohen’s public testimony before the House Oversight Committee in February, when Cohen said Trump told him to lie “in his way.”

(Kathryn Gamble / The Atlantic)

Socialism, but in Iowa: One popular perception of socialism in America is that it’s a sort of pastime for affluent and cerebral hipsters. But the Democratic Socialists Elaine Godfrey met in Iowa don’t come from wealthy families, and don’t have Ivy League educations. Instead, they’re using socialism as a vehicle to change their immediate circumstances—and build a movement that goes beyond 2020.

Is Faith an Asset for 2020?: The religious left is wild for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg because of how outspoken he’s been about his faith. But while “speaking the language of faith” will get him media attention, religious rhetoric isn’t enough to win votes, writes Emma Green.

A $100 Billion Heist: As the federal tax deadline looms, consider that the IRS itself is in a pretty dismal state. The agency is understaffed and operating with archaic equipment, which means it doesn’t have the resources to conduct necessary audits. And corporations and the wealthy are benefiting from the lack of oversight, according to an Atlantic–ProPublica investigation.

+ Speaking of tax returns: Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, but a lawyer for the president is warning the IRS not to comply.

-Elaine Godfrey


Snapshot

People line the road as President Donald Trump heads to the border with Mexico in Calexico, California. Friday April 5, 2019. At the border, Trump made a renewed push for border security as a central 2020 campaign issue. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)


Ideas From The Atlantic

A Warning From Wisconsin (Charles J. Sykes)
“A funny thing happened Tuesday to the Democrats’ momentum in Wisconsin: It sputtered out. Despite being heavily favored to win a crucial seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, the candidate backed by liberal groups was apparently upset by a conservative.” → Read on.

It Hurts to See Nipsey Hussle’s Life Not Mattering (Jemele Hill)
“If Hussle hadn’t been a well-known rapper, the story of his death would be sadly ordinary because of the grim statistics on the proliferation of violence in the black community.” → Read on.

Yemen Cannot Afford to Wait (Robert Malley and Stephen Pomper)
“The United States is left with painful questions: What would have happened if it had rejected the Saudis’ original pleas, or set tighter limits on its support, or exerted earlier and more meaningful pressure on its partners?” → Read on.

The Scams Are Winning (Megan Garber)
“The logic of the scam has permeated American life so completely that it has found its way to the Justice Department itself. The particular brand of absurdity at play in the report, the one that translated a multi-hundred-page work of investigation into an announcement of “Total EXONERATION,” is a rule much more than it is an exception.” → Read on.


What Else We’re Reading

Democratic Candidates Visited 115 Cities Across 20 States in One Month (Shane Goldmacher, Weiyi Cai, and Jugal K. Patel, The New York Times)
How Trump Conspired With the Freedom Caucus to Shut Down the Government (Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, Politico Magazine)
The Violence Against Women Act Is Turning 25. Here’s How It Has Ignited Debate. (Emily S. Rueb and Niraj Chokshi, The New York Times)
If Biden Runs, They’ll Tear Him Up (Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal) (🔒 Paywall)

We’re always looking for ways to improve The Politics & PolicyDaily. Comments, questions, typos, grievances and groans related to our puns? Let us know anytime here.

Were you forwarded this newsletter? Sign up for our daily politics email here. We have many other free email newsletters on a variety of other topics. Find the full list here.

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Cob Save America

What We’re Following Today

It’s Friday, April 5.

‣ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it will no longer classify people in same-sex marriages as “apostates,” and will allow children from same-sex marriages to be blessed and baptized as infants.

‣ The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, a rebound from the February jobs report, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8 percent.

‣ Senator Elizabeth Warren called to abolish the legislative filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to pass laws.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

More From Michael Cohen: Attorneys for Donald Trump’s former lawyer submitted documents to lawmakers alleging that Trump “encouraged Cohen to lie” to Congress about the Trump Tower project in Moscow. The memo goes further than Cohen’s public testimony before the House Oversight Committee in February, when Cohen said Trump told him to lie “in his way.”

(Kathryn Gamble / The Atlantic)

Socialism, but in Iowa: One popular perception of socialism in America is that it’s a sort of pastime for affluent and cerebral hipsters. But the Democratic Socialists Elaine Godfrey met in Iowa don’t come from wealthy families, and don’t have Ivy League educations. Instead, they’re using socialism as a vehicle to change their immediate circumstances—and build a movement that goes beyond 2020.

Is Faith an Asset for 2020?: The religious left is wild for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg because of how outspoken he’s been about his faith. But while “speaking the language of faith” will get him media attention, religious rhetoric isn’t enough to win votes, writes Emma Green.

A $100 Billion Heist: As the federal tax deadline looms, consider that the IRS itself is in a pretty dismal state. The agency is understaffed and operating with archaic equipment, which means it doesn’t have the resources to conduct necessary audits. And corporations and the wealthy are benefiting from the lack of oversight, according to an Atlantic–ProPublica investigation.

+ Speaking of tax returns: Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, but a lawyer for the president is warning the IRS not to comply.

-Elaine Godfrey


Snapshot

People line the road as President Donald Trump heads to the border with Mexico in Calexico, California. Friday April 5, 2019. At the border, Trump made a renewed push for border security as a central 2020 campaign issue. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)


Ideas From The Atlantic

A Warning From Wisconsin (Charles J. Sykes)
“A funny thing happened Tuesday to the Democrats’ momentum in Wisconsin: It sputtered out. Despite being heavily favored to win a crucial seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, the candidate backed by liberal groups was apparently upset by a conservative.” → Read on.

It Hurts to See Nipsey Hussle’s Life Not Mattering (Jemele Hill)
“If Hussle hadn’t been a well-known rapper, the story of his death would be sadly ordinary because of the grim statistics on the proliferation of violence in the black community.” → Read on.

Yemen Cannot Afford to Wait (Robert Malley and Stephen Pomper)
“The United States is left with painful questions: What would have happened if it had rejected the Saudis’ original pleas, or set tighter limits on its support, or exerted earlier and more meaningful pressure on its partners?” → Read on.

The Scams Are Winning (Megan Garber)
“The logic of the scam has permeated American life so completely that it has found its way to the Justice Department itself. The particular brand of absurdity at play in the report, the one that translated a multi-hundred-page work of investigation into an announcement of “Total EXONERATION,” is a rule much more than it is an exception.” → Read on.


What Else We’re Reading

Democratic Candidates Visited 115 Cities Across 20 States in One Month (Shane Goldmacher, Weiyi Cai, and Jugal K. Patel, The New York Times)
How Trump Conspired With the Freedom Caucus to Shut Down the Government (Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, Politico Magazine)
The Violence Against Women Act Is Turning 25. Here’s How It Has Ignited Debate. (Emily S. Rueb and Niraj Chokshi, The New York Times)
If Biden Runs, They’ll Tear Him Up (Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal) (🔒 Paywall)

We’re always looking for ways to improve The Politics & PolicyDaily. Comments, questions, typos, grievances and groans related to our puns? Let us know anytime here.

Were you forwarded this newsletter? Sign up for our daily politics email here. We have many other free email newsletters on a variety of other topics. Find the full list here.