Daily Briefing: May 17, 2107

Posted by    |    May 17th, 2017 at 6:22 am

T O P   N E W S

Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation (NY Times)

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.
“Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.
“Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates.”

Nick Note: As my papaw would say, let’s not get the cart before the horse.These are all just allegations. But Judy Woodruff is right – we have transitioned from a media cycle to a media cyclone. Michael Schmidt, who broke this story and wrote the featured article, is the one who broke the news that Hillary Clinton had a private email server back in 2015. CNN’s Jake Tapper reports that Mr. Trump asked AG Sessions and VP Pence to leave before asking Comey to let it go. Watch him report it here. Late Tuesday evening, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to Acting FBI Director McCabe requesting that the FBI provide “all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President” by May 24. Read the letter here. This news is on top of the news yesterday that notes President Trump allegedly shared classified information with Russian officials. The WSJ reports that the classified information that President Trump shared last week with Russian officials had been gathered by Israeli intelligence. Axios reports that Israeli officials are “boiling mad.” Speaking of Israel, National Security Adviser General McMaster declined to say whether the Western Wall is part of Israel. US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley clarified yesterday and said that the US embassy should be moved to Jerusalem and the Western Wall is a part of Israel. “I don’t know what the policy of the administration is but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue it.” Watch it here. Response to all of this news has been varied on the Republican side. Senator McCain likened the current scandals to Watergate. Sean Hannity, in his opening monologue last night (watch here), said five forces were against Trump: the “destroy-Trump propaganda media,” the Democrats, the deep-state establishment within the bureaucracy, establishment Republicans and “NeverTrump-ers.” Erick Erickson writes that what the President has done is far worse than what is being reported. And Ross Douthat, in his column this morning, pushes the 25th amendment. But David French has it right: “Either there is now compelling evidence that the president committed a serious abuse of power, or the nation’s leading press outlets are dupes for a vindictive, misleading story. Either outcome violates the public trust in vital American institutions. Either outcome results in a degree of political chaos. If the memo is real and as damaging as the Times claims, the chaos is likely greater, but don’t underestimate the cultural and political damage if our nation’s most prestigious press outlets run a story of this magnitude based on a malicious fiction. It’s time for facts and documents, not anonymity and allegations. It’s time for the truth.” My papaw insisted on not putting the cart before the horse and praying before meals. Would you pray for the leaders of the country (1 Timothy 2:1-2)?

Protesters injured outside Turkish embassy in DC (CNN)

“Nine people were injured during a protest outside of the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington, DC on Tuesday, according to the official Twitter account of Washington, DC fire and EMS department.
“About two dozen demonstrators showed up outside of the embassy just hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House.
“They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey,” Arthur said. “They stopped us for a few minutes … but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime.”

Nick Note: Here is a graphic video of the fight. Last April, President Erdogan captured only 51 percent of the vote after spending the previous eight months jailing up to 40,000 dissenters, firing approximately 125,000 people from their jobs, and closing 150 media outlets. At stake is two visions for the future of Turkey. Modern Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, following the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in World War I. Ataturk’s vision brought about positive reforms for women and a parliamentary democracy. Erdogan’s reforms have converted secular schools into religious schools, limited the sale of alcohol, and assumed a much more favorable view of Islamic law.Turkey’s position and influence in that part of the world cannot be understated. Would you consider praying for the leadership and the people of Turkey (99 percent Muslim) (1 Timothy 2:1-2)?

Chelsea Manning Is Expected to Leave Prison (NY Times)

“Chelsea Manning is expected to walk freely out of the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., on Wednesday, bringing to a close one of the most extraordinary criminal cases in American history over the leaking of government secrets to the public.
“Sentenced to an unprecedented 35-year prison term for disclosing archives of secret files to WikiLeaks, Ms. Manning spent about seven years in prison — already double the second-longest sentence in any leak case. She is set to be freed 28 years early because President Barack Obama, in one of his final acts, commuted the bulk of her remaining sentence.”

Nick Note: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers (Proverbs 21:15.”

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

How to Predict If a Borrower Will Pay You Back (NY Mag)

“Recently, three economists—Oded Netzer and Alain Lemaire, both of Columbia, and Michal Herzenstein of the University of Delaware—looked for ways to predict the likelihood of whether a borrower would pay back a loan… It turns out the language that potential borrowers use is a strong predictor of their probability of paying back. And it is an important indicator even if you control for other relevant information lenders were able to obtain about those potential borrowers, including credit ratings and income.
“You might think—or at least hope—that a polite, openly religious person who gives his word would be among the most likely to pay back a loan. But in fact this is not the case. This type of person, the data shows, is less likely than average to make good on their debt…And here are the phrases used by those least likely to pay back their loans: God, promise, will pay, thank you, hospital.”

Nick Note: Oscar Wilde suggested you always borrow money from a pessimist because they won’t expect it back. But in all seriousness, this is unfortunate for the cause of Christ. “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ (Matthew 5:37)”

What counts as ‘cheating’ in the digital age? (CNN)

“In fact, a recent survey commissioned by the Deseret News found that although more than three-quarters of Americans believe that being sexually intimate with another person is cheating, there’s more confusion surrounding other types of contact. For example, only about half view “sexting” as infidelity. So what really does constitute cheating, especially in this digital age?
“The biggest issue many couples have, in my experience, doesn’t necessarily involve the behavior itself but the secrecy around it. For instance, research suggests that women whose partners lie about viewing porn are more dissatisfied with their relationships than those whose partners are honest about it. And this dissatisfaction can often lead to the urge to see what the secrecy is all about.”

Nick Note: Michael Bolton noted that When a Man Loves a Woman he can’t keep his mind on nothing else, but The Bee Gees questioned How Deep Is Your Love. In all seriousness, what is disheartening about the article is that it seeks to press the limits. Instead of trying to identify new ways to love your beloved in a digital age, the author’s efforts are focused on what constitutes cheating. What does it digitally look like for a man to nourish and cherish his wife (Ephesians 5:29)?

Women just aren’t that into the ‘marriageable male’ anymore, economists say (WaPo)

The “marriageable male” has steady income. He pays his bills on time and could help support a child, too. He has long captured the interest of economists, who associate him with a healthier economy.
“As the theory goes: Women have more drive to marry their child’s father if he can contribute to the household. They’d rather not tie the knot with an additional dependent…. “There has been growing acceptance of having children outside of marriage, especially in the white community,” he said….“They’d be stigmatized if they weren’t and they might not be able to make it on their own. Now the social context has shifted. They can raise the bar.”

Nick Note: In 1994, R&B group Salt N’ Pepa paid tribute to this “marriageable male” in their hit Whatta Man. Today, we have Taylor Swift rhythmically reminding us of the Bad Blood between her and her former romantic interest. I guess you could say (or sing) Everything Has Changed. In the US, 40 percent of children are born to unmarried women. It was 28 percent in 1990.  Research suggests children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married, are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, and are less likely to be raised in poverty. (Hebrews 13:4)

Tinder fights one-man dating platform (BBC)

“Tinder has filed a legal objection to a dating platform created by a British man on which he is the only male date. Shed Simove called the app Shinder and said he built it to find himself a partner. However, when he tried to trademark it, a Notice of Threatened Opposition was filed to the Intellectual Property Office by dating giant Tinder.”

Nick Note: You Are So Beautiful To Me because you are the only one I can see. Aerosmith doesn’t have to worry about Missing A Thing because this guy is the only thing. His ingenuity is to be admired; his stealing is not to be emulated (Exodus 20:15).

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

This Kickstarter wants bro rompers to be a thing and the Internet is here for it (USA Today)

“This vision of frat nirvana could become a reality if a new Kickstarter campaign is to be believed. Aced Designs, a self-described group of business school friends based in suburban Chicago wants to make the full-body garment a summertime staple among men. Excuse me: That’s “RompHims,” as in rompers for him.”

Pitts Point: If fashion is a war, RompHims are fighting dirty. I owned a Starter jacket, popped my Abercrombie and Fitch collar, and wore a puka shell necklace. But I don’t think I will be wearing the RompHims. Yet I appreciate their desire to include men on this female piece of clothing. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27-28).”

Chick-Fil-A Plans Secret Birthday Gift, Surprises Hearing-Impaired Employee In Sweet Video.

Nick Note: Watch it here. These fellow workers wanted to celebrate their colleague. In a similar fashion, our God longs to communicate with us and rejoice over us. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jeremiah 33:3).”

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