Three Things You Need to Know - October 11, 2017

The Weinstein saga makes one thing crystal clear.

Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino.

All have come out as victims of Harvey Weinstein’s disgusting behavior.

The situation has gone from bad to worst-case scenario for Weinstein.

For almost a week, allegations have mounted that Weinstein sexually harassed an untold number of women over the last 30 years.

Sunday night Weinstein was fired from his own company. Yesterday, his wife, Georgina Chapman, announced she is leaving him. The couple have two children, ages 4 and 7.

Yesterday, The New Yorker published a story that dwarfed last week's original piece from The New York Times with even more appalling revelations. The story quotes two women who say they were raped by Weinstein, and four others describe being touched by Weinstein, without their consent. Four additional women say he exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

Sixteen former and current employees at Weinstein’s company say Weinstein had a system of preying on young actresses by inviting them for business meetings, then dismissing other employees from the meeting so he could be alone with the actress.

All of the victims told The New Yorker they were scared of Weinstein’s retaliation, fearing he would ruin their lives.

Weinstein released a statement denying the rape and retaliation accusations, ending it with: “Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.” Only in Hollywood.

Now that Weinstein’s ship is sinking fast, former President Obama and Hillary Clinton are feigning surprise that their fundraising pal is actually a creep. Obama, whose daughter Malia interned at Weinstein’s company last year, said, “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.” Hillary said she is “shocked and appalled.”

Yes, but were they disgusted, shocked or appalled when Weinstein was signing those Democratic fundraising checks? No.

All these after-the-fact denunciations from celebrities and politicians are meaningless. This Weinstein saga has made one thing crystal clear about the liberal elite --- respecting women and protecting them from predators like Weinstein is top priority, just not while the checks are still rolling in.

California's attempt to "destigmatize" HIV is senseless.

The phone rang.

“Hello?”

Silence.

“Hello? Who is this?”

The silence on the other line suddenly turned into hysterical, manically laughter.

“Burn, I got you!”

The man dropped the phone. He knew who the caller was.

It was the man who intentionally gave him HIV.

That man, Daryll Rowe, is on trial in England right now for maliciously infecting four men with the HIV virus without their knowledge.

This creep had a terrifying system. He would sabotage any protection, infect his victim, and then mercilessly mock them with abusive texts and phone calls that he had given them the disease.

If Daryll Rowe moved to California, he would not be behind bars awaiting a court date like he is now.

He would be a free man. Probably swiping right to meet his next victim.

Starting January 1, it will no longer be a felony in California to knowingly expose a sexual partner to HIV with the intent of transmitting the virus.

Why?

To destigmatize HIV.

Bill sponsor Senator Scott Wiener explained, “We are going to end new HIV infections, and we will do so not by threatening people with prison time, but rather by getting people to test and providing them access to care.”

So, let me get this straight. California is going to stop HIV infections by letting terrible human beings continue to spread HIV infections to unknowing victims.

That makes absolutely no sense at all.

California, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you cannot “destigmatize” HIV.

It’s a potentially fatal disease. No one wants it.

It will never be destigmatized.

HIV positive people shouldn’t be judged by their disease or discriminated against, but the disgusting people who intentionally infect others should be criminalized.

California, your efforts to normalize and condone this terrorism is beyond revolting and will have the opposite effect on HIV infections.

How long before something snaps in North Korea?

Strategic bombers were flying over South Korea again yesterday. Two B-1 Lancers flanked by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets buzzed North Korea in yet another show of force.

Perhaps the weirdest thing about all this is how routine it's beginning to feel. This wasn’t an elaborate air show or even a recon mission to take pictures, this was a mission to deter against nuclear war.

Tough talk and saber rattling between Kim Jong Un and President Trump has become so common, it’s easy to miss just how close to war we are literally every day.

Take yesterday for example. It was the 72nd anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party. Kim Jong Un typically uses these holidays for nuclear or missile tests, and the last threat we heard was a possible hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific.

Trump set the stage last week when he said we were in the “calm before the storm.” Everyone began to wonder what that meant, and on Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed there were “world issues” and named North Korea specifically.

Over the weekend, Trump doubled down in an ominous tweet saying diplomacy hadn’t worked for 25 years and “only one thing will work!”

Early Tuesday morning, Trump called for a meeting with Defense Secretary Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford. They discussed “a range of options” to respond militarily to North Korean aggression. They’ve had these planning missions over a hundred times since this crisis began. Why did they pick Tuesday for another?

A few hours later that day, B1 bombers and Japanese and South Korean fighter jets flew over the Korean Peninsula. Was it just a show of force or were they waiting for an attack order?

The threat of war with North Korea is greater than it’s been in over 50 years. Kim Jong Un apparently got the message yesterday and backed down. Will he the next time?

MORE 3 THINGS

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?