Baltimore Emails Shows A City’s Descent Into Chaos

The controversial arrest and death of Freddie Gray–he died in police custody of a spinal injury–hurled the city of Baltimore into an unpleasant era of unrest. Some unrest occurred during the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 25. As Freddie Gray was laid to rest two days later, the unrest was reignited with an intensity that left the city completely unprepared to deal with the rioters who seemed to have outmaneuvered the Baltimore Police Department. As the security situation continued to deteriorate, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, deploying the National Guard in order to restore order. The Baltimore Sun obtained over 7,000 emails from city officials during the unrest showing how things devolved into chaos:

Even as Baltimoreans were breaching pharmacies and supermarkets, emails show, police were waiting for riot gear that was on order.

In one terse email — sent as the rioting was breaking out — William M. Johnson, the city's transportation director, called the confusion among city leaders "unacceptable."

"This issue needs to be corrected unless I am the only person who finds this unacceptable," he wrote to mayoral aides at 3:14 p.m., as television broadcast images of fighting at Mondawmin Mall. "Local news stations are reporting on what is happening, downtown buildings are closing early, and when the City looks to the Administration for leadership and answers, we don't know or we are the last to provide any guidance due to this protocol."

[…]

The documents also show that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan disagreed about when to lift the city's curfew and that police were planning for the potential for further violence on May 1 and 2.

The city withheld an unknown number of documents, saying state law does not require disclosure of information that is part of the "deliberative process."

[…]

Another email detailed a list of police gear that was being deployed, including 259 masks sent to the Western District. Four hundred and seventy-four more mask packs were ready to be distributed, and another 1,000 had been ordered wrote Thomas Moore, who was then chief financial officer for the Police Department.

In an update sent at 7:21 p.m., he said 17 riot bags were assembled and pepper spray canisters were ordered.

"Working on having 200 shields delivered from manufacturer for tomorrow delivery, Wednesday latest," Moore wrote.

Within hours of rioting, the city's finance director, Henry Raymond, signed off on the purchase of thousands of additional pieces of equipment.

He was asked for 1,000 pairs of "protective riot gloves," 1,000 pieces of chest, leg and arm protection items, 1,000 riot shields and 1,000 baton rings, among other items.

"Approved," Raymond wrote in an email with a 4:01 a.m. time stamp.

Johnson's strongly worded email followed a series of communications among city officials expressing concern that violence would break out on the day of Gray's funeral.

Drew Vetter, the Police Department's government affairs director, sent an email to elected officials at 10:13 p.m. Sunday warning that some students intended "to 'walk out' after first period and/or around 3pm tomorrow and head Downtown. BPD will be closely monitoring the situation and officers will be deployed accordingly."

By the next day, some officials were already talking about the possibility of a riot breaking out at Mondawmin Mall.

In an email marked "URGENT" sent at 1:52 p.m., Olivia D. Farrow, a deputy health commissioner, said the agency had "received reports that children will possibly riot after school starting at 3p down from Mondawmin to North Ave and to downtown. Staff at Druid becoming concerned. May need to close early. Waiting to see if rumor or if something seems to begin happening."

At 3 p.m., the rioting began at Mondawmin in what became a long, destructive night for the city. Even Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake admitted that the city could have been better prepared to deal with the fallout from the Gray incident.

In the end, the six police officers involved in Gray’s death were indicted on a multitude of charges, including misconduct in office, manslaughter, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, and second-degree assault. The city’s police department isn’t new to controversy regarding misconduct and improper arrests. Nevertheless, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired on July 8, and his deputy took the reins of a “demoralized” department. Neighborhoods that once slammed the police were now yearning for their return as crime spiked. A review of the incident by the city’s police union described the tragic events of the rioting as “preventable,” though Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office didn’t agree with the police union’s conclusions, she did fire Batts shortly after its release.

Report: Illegal Aliens Outnumber Unemployed Americans

A new report from the Pew Research Center says that the number of illegal aliens in the country currently outnumber unemployed Americans.

The Washington Free Beacon has the details:

The number of illegal immigrants in the United States totaled 11.3 million in 2014, outnumbering the 9.6 million Americans who were unemployed in the same year, according to data from Pew Research Center and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“An estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2014,” says a Pew report. “The new unauthorized immigrant total includes people who cross the border illegally as well as those who arrive with legal visas and remain in the U.S. after their visas expire.”

Of those 11.3 illegal immigrants, 8.1 million are participating in the labor force. “Unauthorized immigrants make up 5.1% of the U.S. labor force,” Pew says. “In the U.S. labor force, there were 8.1 million unauthorized immigrants either working or looking for work in 2012.”

Firstly, unauthorized immigrants? Why the politically correct language, Pew? Illegal aliens is the correct term, even if it's politically incorrect.

A couple of other things to note about this report. Like the U3 unemployment number, this report doesn't take into account the 92 million Americans that have dropped out of the workforce. Some have dropped out due to retirement- we do have an aging population- and others have dropped out because they've given up looking for work. So in that sense, the number of illegals in the country doesn't necessarily outnumber unemployed Americans.

But it should also be noted that the 11 million illegals number should also be taken with a grain of salt, as that number has remained static for over a decade. It is more likely that that number is closer to 30 million. That still doesn't quite outnumber the Americans that have dropped out of the workforce, but it is still a sizable number to compete with the number of Americans out of the workforce.

But the most important takeaway from this report is that the number of Americans searching for jobs is less than the number of illegal aliens in this country. That's a problem, given that employers are more likely to turn to illegals for cheap labor, which not only crowds out jobs for American workers but also lowers wages for workers due to the increased supply.

This is the sign of a country in decline.

Last Call: Democrats Are Running Out Of Time to Find Solid House Candidates

Well, the star search for solid House candidates for 2016 is coming to a close for the Democrats. It’s last call–and they have some absences in their roster. Nevertheless, the same goes for Republicans, who are missing some candidates in competitive races, according to Roll Call. Yet, the publication added that recruitment is much harder for Democrats since they got pummeled in 2014. The Democrats aren’t worried since Hillary is going to be at the top of the ticket, but their consultants admit that the time frame in finding good people to run next year is rapidly coming to a close:

Among the seats Democrats must win in 2016 if they have any shot at chipping away at Republicans’ 30-seat House majority — but where the party still doesn’t have recruits — is upstate New York’s 24th District. The Syracuse-based seat voted for President Barack Obama by a 16-point margin in 2012, making it one of the most Democratic districts held by a Republican in the country, but so far no candidate has emerged to take on freshman Republican Rep. John Katko.

In California’s 21st District, a seat Obama carried by an 11-point spread in 2012 but that is now held by two-term GOP Rep. David Valadao, Democrats are hunting for a stronger recruit after the current candidate posted a measly $24,000 fundraising haul in the second quarter. And in Iowa’s 3rd District, a competitive seat held by freshman GOP Rep. David Young, Democrats are also without a recruit. Democratic former Gov. Chet Culver is mulling a run there, but it’s unclear when or if he’ll announce.

Still, national Democrats say they are unconcerned about the current state of recruitment, noting there are potential recruits mulling bids behind the scenes in a number of districts — though they declined to name names or specify which seats.

[…]

Yet multiple Democratic operatives cede it’s typically harder to recruit a cycle after bruising losses. In 2014, Democrats saw a net loss of 13 seats.

[…]

But a month into the third quarter, a number of Democratic consultants say the window to find strong candidates is slowly closing.

Yet, let’s be honest. The chances that Democrats can win back the House of Representatives next year is quite slim, even with her highness, Hillary Rodham Clinton, leading her party, which seems to have been met with a soporific reception (for now). The New York Times’ Nate Cohn wrote after the 2014 midterms that it’s not inconceivable that Republicans have a lock on the House for the next generation. Yet, that all ends if the GOP loses at the state-level, which oftentimes goes underreported.

Republicans control two-thirds of the governorships and the most state legislatures since 1920. This is where the districts are drawn, hence why the Republican State Leadership Committee launched their REDMAP 2020, which carries with it a $125 million investment goal through 2022, on July 16, according to their press release:

“We are launching REDMAP 2020 to stay on offense at a time when Republicans are at historic highs in state chambers around the country,” said RSLC Chairman Bill McCollum. "The launch of REDMAP 2010 marked the beginning of strong gains in the number of Republican-controlled legislative bodies at the state level that led to helping both solidify a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and winning back the U.S. Senate a few years later. It’s important to maintain that success at all levels of government, and by investing $125 million over the next seven years, we plan to help do just that.”

“When we started REDMAP in 2010, we were able to utilize the in-depth knowledge and resources of the RSLC’s vast network of Republican elected leaders who represent all 50 states,” said SGLF Chairman and former NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds. Reynolds served as REDMAP Chairman in 2010. “To now expand that role from winning critical legislative majorities that help shape the redistricting process to also providing targeted legal strategic advice and commentary for ongoing redistricting legislation is exciting for the REDMAP 2020 program. It’s exciting for the future of the Republicans Party.”

Through REDMAP 2010, the RSLC raised $30 million and led Republicans to take control of 21 new chambers, including capturing control of both chambers in several states President Obama went on to win twice: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Republicans today control a Party-record 69 of 99 state legislative chambers. REDMAP 2020 will work to maintain the historic highs we hold today, including those in Obama-blue states, while working to pick up additional majorities in states like Kentucky, Maine and New Mexico where the legislatures play a vital role in crafting district boundaries, and Republicans currently control only one of the two state chambers.

Kentucky’s State House of Representatives is one of the last legislative chambers with a Democratic majority in the South. Of course, that’s on the hit list, but Democrats also know the significance of state-level elections, albeit they have a lot more rebuilding to do. Hillary Clinton has made rebuilding such political infrastructures–which have withered to irrelevance in many states–a priority if she’s elected president. It’s to the point where Democrats literally have no one to succeed the current Democratic leadership in Congress, which is increasingly becoming older. The state-level is where the new talent is found–and Democrats don’t have those connections anymore. Nevertheless, they’re also fundraising and mobilizing their political forces to win back state legislatures in the hopes they can redraw the congressional map (via WaPo):

Both Democrats and Republicans think controlling state legislatures in 2020 is one of the most important political battles to fight, mostly for one reason: The power of the pen -- the kind that draws district lines, that is.

[…]

Some analysts think the current map is such that Democrats simply won't be able to win a majority on it, barring a massive wave in their direction.

[…]

After another great 2014 midterm election for Republicans, the party now controls an all-time high of 68 of 98 state chambers. That's the potential to rewrite a lot of lines.

Sensing a winning game plan, Democrats are getting in now, too. They launched Advantage 2020 last year, a super PAC that hopes to raise $70 million to play exclusively in states where redistricting is on the line. (Compare that with the $10 million they raised in 2010.)

[…]

Expect the first of the redistricting battles to take place a little closer to Capitol Hill: Control of the Virginia senate is in question in the fall.

You can bet RedMap 2020 and Advantage 2020 will be there, with an eye toward the future.


Global Warming Is So Powerful That It Showed The Resilience Of Sea Ice

So, sea ice is more “resilient” that scientists originally assumed, according to the Wall Street Journal. In fact, a “single cool summer” actually stopped the ice cap around the North Pole from melting:

Using new satellite data, researchers at University College London reported in Nature Geoscience on Monday that the total volume of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere was well above average in the autumn of 2013, traditionally the end of the annual melt season, after an unusually cool summer when temperatures dropped to levels not seen since the 1990s.

“We now know it can recover by a significant amount if the melting season is cut short,” said the study’s lead author Rachel Tilling, a researcher who studies satellite observations of the Arctic. “The sea ice might be a little more resilient than we thought.”

A steady decline in the extent of Arctic sea ice since the late 1970s has been taken as a barometer of longer-term warming trends in the Northern hemisphere. The U.S. Navy last year predicted that by 2030 the Arctic’s northern sea route could be ice-free and navigable for nine weeks every year.

Miss Tilling and her colleagues used new data from the European Space Agency’s Cryosat-2 radar satellite, launched in 2010. For the first time, they measured changes in the overall volume of seasonal sea ice across the Arctic and Greenland. Until now, researchers have been able to track the extent of ice, but not its thickness.

In 2013, summer temperatures were about 5% cooler than the previous year and the volume of autumn ice jumped 41%, they said.

Now, the Journal reported that sea ice levels are at its lowest before measurements began, but let’s elaborate on this a bit.

Scientists predicted the Arctic Ice Cap would be gone by 2013 as well. By the time 2013 came around, it had grown by 533,000 square miles. That year we also saw the creation of 19,000 Manhattan-size islands worth of sea ice, the quietest tornado season in six decades, and the calmest hurricane season in three decades*. Our air quality is also better than ever, according to the EPA.

To the south, the sea ice conditions in Antarctica have made the journey for the resupply vessels keeping the various research stations sustained more difficult. Heck, the CIA even shut down their climate research program.

Recently, the CCGS Amundsen, an icebreaker that acts as a research vessel, which conducts experiments 24-hours a day, had its 115-day expedition altered when it was ordered to help out resupply ships en route to Northern Quebec due to the amount of ice in their shipping lanes.

So, scientists were wrong about the resilience of sea ice, they were wrong about global cooling in the 1970s, and they could be wrong about rising global temperatures that seemed to have plateaued almost two decades ago, according to the UK Metrological Office.

Oh, and those new EPA regulations that are aimed at combating this phantom threat are going to do little; EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seems to have admitted to it.

*Global warming was suppose to create wild weather, right? 

Kerry: The Iran Deal "May" Lead to US Deaths

The Iran deal, as Guy has meticulously argued, is disastrous. Moreover, it is also unpopular. (Goalpost shifting and eleventh-hour concessions, after all, are hardly the stuff of universally-popular diplomatic negotiations). Nevertheless, there is one provision, as outlined in the accord, that is extremely disconcerting; namely, eventually allowing “conventional weapons” to flow back into the hands of an unapologetically anti-American and anti-Semitic regime.

Put another way, Western powers will be presiding over the de facto rearmament of a burgeoning nuclear power. The consequences of doing so – and lifting economic sanctions, for that matter — are incalculable. And yet, critics of the accord have long argued that such provisions will only put Americans and our Israeli friends at risk.

Stunningly, however, after listening to the administration’s own Secretary of State testifying before Congress on Wednesday, it appears they weren't totally off the mark (via Weasel Zippers).

In fairness to Kerry, he is not the first member of the administration to admit this.

Kentucky Juvenile Department Bans Minister From Biblical Counseling

In his dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Alito warned that the decision “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” Moreover, he argued, “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

Unfortunately Justice Alito was correct in his predictions about life in America post-Obergefell v. Hodges, which wasn’t hard to see coming given that we’d already seen it happening prior to the decision. But in any case, the intolerance has now reached the steps of a Kentucky pastor’s prison ministry work.

David Wells, an ordained Evangelical minister, has been visiting and counseling juveniles at the Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center for more than 10 years. Now, however, because he refused to sign a statement promising to refrain from telling the juveniles that homosexuality is “sinful,” the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) revoked his volunteer credentials.

“Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes,” Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement. “David Wells must be able to discuss what the Bible says about matters of sexuality with the juveniles he is trying to help. To remove the Bible from a pastor’s hands is like removing a scalpel from a surgeon’s hands,” he continued. “Without it, they cannot provide healing.”

DJJ’s policy on ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ states that volunteers “[S]hall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns, and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful, or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“DJJ 912 equates the teaching of Biblical morality with ‘derogatory,’ ‘biased,’ and ‘hateful’ speech,” Staver noted in the statement. “In so doing, the DJJ policy creates an unconstitutional, religious litmus test for DJJ access.”

He continued, “The First Amendment prohibits the government from viewpoint discrimination. This detention center may not prohibit the expression of Biblical morality simply because a few DJJ policymakers object to the Bible and its teaching.” 

Collapse: WH Caves on All Three 'Red Line' Demands of Iran


Western negotiators, led by the United States, offered two enormous concessions to the Iranian regime from earliest stages of talks: In spite of President Obama's tough rhetoric, an eventual deal would allow Tehran to keep virtually its entire nuclear infrastructure intact, with Western-imposed restrictions automatically beginning to sunset after one decade. These allowances alone would be sufficient to give observers pause over the wisdom and efficacy of an accord. But those were only the opening salvos of the US-quarterbacked giveaway. In June, as details and rumors about the progress of negotiations leaked into the press, a bipartisan group of respected foreign policy heavyweights wrote an open letter spelling out the tough limits on Iran's program that would be necessary in order to win their support for an agreement. This contingent included a number of former high-ranking Obama administration officials. Their concerns focused on three primary areas:

A group of influential U.S. foreign-policy strategists, including five former confidants of President Barack Obama, warned the White House Wednesday they would oppose a nuclear agreement with Iran if tough terms weren’t included in a final agreement. Among the requirements identified by the former diplomats, military officers and lawmakers were intrusive snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear and military sites, a resolution of questions surrounding secretly developed nuclear-weapons technologies and a phased reduction of international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Let's examine how each of these crucial issues was resolved:

(1) "Intrusive snap inspections:"


The experts:

The Obama administration’s claim that the Iran nuclear accord provides for airtight verification procedures is coming under challenge from nuclear experts with long experience in monitoring Tehran’s program...Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the [IAEA], said in an interview that while “it is clear that a facility of sizable scale cannot simply be erased in three weeks’ time without leaving traces,” the more likely risk is that the Iranians would pursue smaller-scale but still important nuclear work, such as manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. “A 24-day adjudicated timeline reduces detection probabilities exactly where the system is weakest: detecting undeclared facilities and materials,” he said...“If it is on a small scale, they may be able to clear it out in 24 days,” Mr. Albright said in a telephone interview. “They are practiced at cheating. You can’t count on them to make a mistake.”

(2) "A resolution of questions surrounding secretly developed nuclear weapons technologies:"


An Obama administration assessment of the Iran nuclear deal provided to Congress has led a number of lawmakers to conclude the U.S. and world powers will never get to the bottom of the country’s alleged efforts to build an atomic weapon, and that Tehran won’t be pressed to fully explain its past. In a report to Capitol Hill last week, the administration said it was unlikely Iran would admit to having pursued a covert nuclear weapons program, and that such an acknowledgment wasn’t critical to verifying Iranian commitments in the future...“On Iran’s alleged past weapons work, the Obama administration said it concluded: ‘An Iranian admission of its past nuclear weapons program is unlikely and is not necessary for purposes of verifying commitments going forward,’ said a copy of the assessment viewed by The Wall Street Journal.


(3) "Phased reduction of international sanctions:"

Within six months to a year, Iran will have access to $100 billion to $150 billion in unfrozen assets due to the unwinding of sanctions, a total that doesn't include the economic windfall to come once international firms begin doing business in Iran. As a leading sponsor of terrorism according to the State Department, Iran would thus have more money available to distribute to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.Initially, the Obama administration argued that all of the sanctions being lifted would exclusively have to do with the nuclear program – this was their way of justifying why they didn't make Iranian sponsorship of terrorism or human rights violations a part of any deal...But the final deal provides much broader sanctions relief to Iranian financial institutions and individuals. The deal even unwinds sanctions against Qasem Soleiman, commander of the Quds Force, which has provided aid to Hamas and Hezbollah, and killed American soldiers in Iraq.

A comprehensive rout.  The United States backed down on every single one of the big ticket items -- to say nothing of the astonishing last-minute "add-ons" to sweeten the pot for Iran, or the undisclosed, unreviewable secret side agreements between Iran and the IAEA.  President Obama dismisses critics of his disastrous deal as intellectually dishonest purveyors of "talking points."  The astounding degree to which the administration shifted its own established goalposts -- offering one concession after another to an enemy regime -- exposes his arrogant posture as demagogic nonsense.  Congress must vote this deal down and force our reckless president out onto an isolated, illegitimate limb.

Three Excerpts From Carly Fiorina's Ronald Reagan Library Speech

For better or worse the safe bet is that Carly Fiorina will not be the Republican nominee in 2016. The odds therefore are even longer that she will be the next president of the United States. Nevertheless, she has taken her effective communication skills, her withering criticisms of Secretary Clinton and President Obama, and her vision for the country to anyone who will listen. Her most recent stop was the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

There she delivered what can only be described as a landmark speech. Lasting almost thirty minutes, she focused exclusively on foreign policy issues. She repeatedly assailed the “political class” for their incompetence and pusillanimity — and called out the spinelessness of the current administration for bargaining with our enemies and alienating our friends. She also offered warnings for America and optimism.

Consequently, the following are three must-read quotations from her rousing speech. They are as follows.

On her first day as president:

“On my first day in the Oval Office I will make two phone calls. The first will be to my friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him that the United States of America will always stand with the state of Israel. My second phone call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Realistically, he might not take my phone call. He will get the message. And the message is this: [No] deal. Unless and until you are prepared to open every military facility and every nuclear facility to full and unfettered ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections, we will make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.”

On the threat from China:

“China is our rising adversary… The Chinese, like the Iranians and the Russians, engage in draconian Internet censorship. Just as Ronald Reagan tore down a physical wall we must now tear down these cyber barriers to the exchange of free information… Today the Chinese steal our intellectual property with impunity and engage in state-sponsored cyber terrorism. The Chinese government, as we now know, has stolen the personal information of 20 million Americans... And yet once again the government bureaucracy was too bloated and inept to act and the political class was too complacent to stop it.

“The next president must understand technology. She must understand both how to use it, to harness the power of our citizenry to engage in the process of their government to change and challenge bureaucratic status quos as well as protect and defend our nation.”

On Secretary Clinton’s hypocrisy:

“As Mrs. Clinton now runs for president she likes to talk about her support for human rights, for women’s rights, for democracy. But unfortunately, her actions conflict with her words… Mrs. Clinton personally gave the Russians a 'reset button' just as the human rights situation, in that country, took a drastic turn for the worse. And in Iran, when the green movement demonstrated against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, she went silent. China, Russia, Iran, and terrorist groups such as ISIS — these are the big human rights tests of our time. Women and girls are systematically targeted, subjugated, murdered, raped and sold into bondage. It is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to run for president as a champion of “women’s rights” when her record as secretary of state is so dismal.

Watch the full clip below.

Manners Before Truth: The Usual RINOs Pile on Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz's public accusation that Mitch McConnell lied to fellow Senators has not gone over well among the GOP leadership. Establishment Republicans are predictably going after the Texas Senator and rebuking him for violating Senate etiquette.

Cruz made waves last week when he accused the Majority Leader on the Senate floor of telling a bald-faced lie to Republicans -- a lie that Cruz says opened the way to a vote on the Export-Import Bank, which conservative Republicans would have blocked if they had known the Majority Leader's plans. The Senate ended up voting to renew the Ex-Im Bank on Sunday evening. Cruz and other conservative Republicans have persistently fought the Ex-Im Bank, calling it a classic example of corporate welfare and congressional corruption.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was among the first to attack Sen. Cruz's comments.

"I think it was outside the realm of Senate behavior," said Sen. John McCain, who has clashed with Cruz in the past. "I would never contemplate going to the floor of the Senate and impugning the integrity of another senator. Just not something we do here. I really think it was a very wrong thing to do."

Wrong, perhaps -- unless Cruz's claim is actually true. Wouldn't a straight-up lie warrant a slight breach of genteel manners? Would not a breach of trust warrant a breach of cordiality?

Perhaps it is this stubborn politeness, after all, that has for so long kept noble reformers from upending the money-changers who rule Congress and lie in bed with lobbyists. Perhaps it is McCain's profound and unrivaled concern for niceness that keeps the Senate awash in cronyism. Perhaps it is this unwavering devotion to the status quo, which rules the hearts of so many GOP leaders, that millions of Americans voted to oust last fall. Sadly, their votes have affected little change.

McCain is not alone in his overt concern for niceness over truth. Sen. Orrin Hatch threw in his own two cents on the matter.

"Squabbling and sanctimony may be tolerated in other venues -- or perhaps on the campaign trail -- but they have no place among colleagues in the United States Senate.

I see. So Cruz was simply grandstanding, perhaps trying to catch up to Donald Trump in the presidential polls. Whatever his motives, he couldn't have been expressing righteous indignation at a misguided Senate leader who goes to bat for K Street every day.

At least Cruz remained unfazed. His response to these criticisms was short and sweet.

"I do not believe speaking the truth is anything other than in the very best tradition of the United States Senate," Cruz said to reporters.

Obama: I'd Make An Awesome Third Term President, You Know

Do you think President Obama would make a good third term president? He certainly thinks so.

Speaking in Africa Tuesday, President Obama made positive remarks about Africa's democratic progress, but criticized leaders who refuse to step aside and give up power once their terms are over. He then proceeded to explain his belief he'd make a great third term president, but that the Constitution limits him to just two terms. 

"I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as the President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again. I can't run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t, so there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving but the law is the law," Obama said.

For reference, President Obama's disapproval among Americans currently outweighs their approval.

Thanks to the WFB for the video.

On The Day Israel And Cyprus Sign Energy Security Deal, EU Protects Cypriot Cheese

WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – If you ever wanted to see why British people are so sick of the European Union look no further than the two announcements on Cypriot security today. On one hand was Nicosia and Jerusalem talking about making themselves energy independent by working together, while Brussels announced greater protection for Cypriot cheese.

The remarkable contrast is further evidence of just how out of touch and irrelevant the European Union really is. According to the Associated Press the move to protect halloumi, or hellim in Turkish, will serve as some sort of a symbol of unity in Cyprus. The island has been divided since it was invaded by Turkey in 1974.

Commenting on the weighty new proposal for peace EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the “cheese unification drive” shows the commitment of both sides "to work together on projects unifying the whole island."

Meanwhile in the real world Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said they would seek to tap the potential of natural gas in the sea bed beneath both countries. Energy security is a major issue for them because they both have land borders with aggressive neighbors.

This is not a one off case, the EU has taken a keen interest in food related irrelevance for a number of years now. It has already legislated to make carrots a fruit and to make sure bananas are not too curvy. There were also moves in Brussels to make it illegal to serve olive oil in a bowl.

To be fair each of these moves did have some justification but they also proved the EU is desperately trying to create a role for itself. The UK recently converted many of its embassies from just being British alone to also including other Commonwealth countries, especially Canada. The reason for this was the EU is desperate to take over the embassies of its member states and the UK has some of the nicest ones.

All of this is a power grab, Brussels bureaucrats will get involved in anything to make themselves feel useful. It would not surprise if they deliberately announced the cheese thing because they were jealous about being left out of the energy deal.

We are told that it is the EU that is stopping European conflict, a point that is self evidently disproved as several wars have taken place during its existence. In reality it's a vehicle for empire builders to exercise their dreams of world domination… and they'll use anything to get there (admittedly cheese was not their finest weapon).

Britain is likely to vote on independence in July next year, the establishment will throw the kitchen sink at the campaign to keep us in the EU. Hopefully today's announcement will further serve to show how little point there is giving up our freedom to be associated with these people.

Oh and well done on the gas deal, it's about time Israel had some good will from a European country!

Chaffetz: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Should Be Fired And Impeached

After years of investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who took over as chairman after Rep. Darrell Issa earlier this year, has had enough of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. 

Yesterday Chaffetz called on the President to fire Koskinen over allegations of obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence and stonewalling a congressional investigation. He accused Koskinen of lying to Congress when he said last year that backup tapes belonging to former IRS commissioner Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the targeting scandal, didn't exist. We of course learned shortly after that backup tapes do exist, but that IRS officials didn't bother looking for them in order to turn them over to Congress for scrutiny. It was later revealed that at least some of the available back-up tapes were destroyed, even after a congressional subpoena for the tapes was issued. 

"Congress needs to get more aggressive and stand up for itself. We may hold him in contempt and there are other constitutional remedies that perhaps, one of the things we're exploring is perhaps impeaching the commissioner," Chaffetz said last night On The Record. "He [President Obama] should fire Mr. Koskinen because he's not working with us." 

"We're going to get to the truth no matter where it is no matter how long this takes. We're going to get after it," Chaffetz continued.

Considering President Obama doesn't believe the IRS targeting of conservatives is a scandal at all, I doubt he'll be heeding Chaffetz' calls. However, Congress does have the power of impeachment. Whether that authority will be exercised under current GOP leadership is a different story.

Last week, former Oversight Chairman Issa revealed the IRS is still engaged in targeting of conservative groups.

Poll: Half of Respondents (52 Percent) Oppose Iran Deal

The Iran deal has been the talk of Washington for weeks now. Supporters of the accord say it slows Iran’s path to the bomb, reduces the number of centrifuges operated by the regime, earns general support among Western powers, and is the best option currently available under difficult circumstances. Critics, however, aren't as sanguine. They claim that the deal will speed Iran’s path to the bomb, lift sanctions on an active terrorist state, threaten the state of Israel, and provide zero assurances that Iran will ever give up its quest for nuclear weapons.

But what does the public believe?

As it happens, a hot-off-the-press poll conducted after the deal was announced provides some instruction. When asked if “Congress should approve or reject the deal with Iran,” a majority of respondents said they should:

Over a thousand respondents participated in CNN/ORC’s national survey. The D/R/I breakdown was 29/22/49.

UK Lords Deputy Speaker Resigns after Cocaine and Hooker Binge

WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords has resigned his seat after being filmed taking cocaine with prostitutes. Before the scandal broke at the weekend Lord Sewel was a highly respected figure in the Labour Party and even chaired the House of Lords Standards Committee.

The Sun newspaper first exposed his actions on Sunday and he resigned as Deputy Speaker but reportedly wanted to stay on as a member of the Lords.
He announced he would take a leave of absence from the House, which is fairly common among peers as they are appointed for life. The 69-year-old would have been able to end the leave at anytime.
Last night his home in Dolphin Square close to Parliament was raided by thge Metropolitan Police. They confirmed his activities were now under criminal investigation.
In addition to sleeping with prostitutes and taking drugs Sewel also made a series of indiscreet comments about other senior politicians. He claimed former Prime Minister Tony Blair had “fallen in love” with George Bush, who himself was “crap”. Sewel also said the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, was “facile” and “superficial”.
This morning he issued the following statement: “I have today written to the Clerk of the Parliaments terminating my membership of the House of Lords. The question of whether my behaviour breached the Code of Conduct is important, but essentially technical.
“The bigger questions are whether my behaviour is compatible with membership of the House of Lords and whether my continued membership would damage and undermine public confidence in the House of Lords. I believe the answer to both these questions means that I can best serve the House by leaving it.
“As a subordinate, second chamber the House of Lords is an effective, vital but undervalued part of our political system. I hope my decision will limit and help repair the damage I have done to an institution I hold dear. Finally, I want to apologise for the pain and embarrassment I have caused.”
Baroness Stowell, Leader of the House of Lords, said: "I welcome Lord Sewel's decision to resign permanently. For the House of Lords to earn the confidence of the public, all of us must respect the privileges that come with a peerage and recognise that - because we are unelected - it is especially important to meet the standards the public have a right to expect, and to act swiftly when we fail."
Members of the House of Lords are unpaid and instead are given $470 unappreciated expenses for every day they attend. There is also a smaller payment for anyone who attends half a day. The system exists because peers are not expected to vote on every issue that comes before the House.
Today a number of UK newspapers claimed Sewel has spent over $18k on prostitutes in the last three years. On the tape itself he is clearly heard to say he used his expenses payments from the House of Lords for the prostitutes and drugs.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Calling for National Lobster Day

If a bipartisan group of Senators from New England get their way, September 25 will be deemed "National Lobster Day." Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are co-sponsoring a resolution to proclaim an official National Lobster Day for this year.

The senators are introducing a resolution to designate Sept. 25, 2015, as National Lobster Day. Maine's Angus King and Susan Collins say the crustacean deserves the honor because thousands of families rely on the multimillion dollar American lobster industry to make a living.

Collins and King say the lobster day will also note the American lobster's "growing popularity as a global delicacy."

June 15 had previously been unofficially deemed "National Lobster Day." While lobster season is year round, the season tends to peak in the fall.

Not that I personally need an excuse to eat a lobster, but I think this resolution is as good a reason as any to indulge. Lobster prices have plummeted in recent years, which while good for the consumer, is a little rough on the lobsterman who needs to sell lobsters to earn a living. Anything that would promote local industry is a win in my book.

Horror: Third Planned Parenthood Video Captures Abortionists Procuring Fetal Tissue for Profit

In baseball, three strikes means you're out. Hopefully the same is true for Planned Parenthood, who as of Tuesday morning has now been exposed three times negotiating the sale of fetal body parts.

For a brief morbid summary, in the past two weeks the Center for Medical Progress has released findings from their 3-year investigation into Planned Parenthood. Their first undercover video contained footage of a doctor describing the potential of selling aborted babies' body parts for profit, all while enjoying her lunch. The second video featured an abortionist discussing prices for the organ harvesting, while callously joking she 'wants a Lamborghini.'

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards tried (unsuccessfully) to defend her organization on ABC's "This Week." Now, however, she will be forced to do damage control once again.

In its third released video, the CMP interviews an ex-procurement technician from the company StemExpress. Holly O'Donnell describes how she thought she was just tasked with drawing blood when she applied for the company, yet soon realized, to her horror, they wanted her to procure tissue from aborted fetuses. Then the harvesting began:

“For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.”

Later in the video, O'Donnell describes how she fainted on her first day when doctors asked her to help procure fetal body parts from a pie dish. A similar scenario was conducted by the CMP, who caught the Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Dr. Savita Ginde, harvesting fetal tissue in a laboratory following an abortion, her only concern seeming to be the price tag of each specimen:

"I think the per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it."

Footage is included below, but I warn you it's very graphic.

Today, in several cities throughout the country, defund Planned Parenthood rallies will be held for anyone concerned about what they see in these videos, including in the nation's capital, right outside Congress' door. Doing so, pro-life activists hope, will speed new legislation introduced by GOP members like Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) to halt this ill use of taxpayer money.

It's time to stop funding this money-hungry and immoral organization. O'Donnell, for one, knows Planned Parenthood's agenda all too well:

"They do get some kind of benefit."

Video: Hillary's Email Lies Eviscerated By…MSNBC?


We've spent several posts documenting Hillary Clinton's known, provable lies about her improper and national security-endangering secret email scheme. MSNBC's Morning Joe condensed her falsehoods into one damning segment, juxtaposing Hillary's on-camera assertions with evidence disproving her claims. It's thorough and excellent:


Joe and the crew marvel at the fact that Hillary is still repeating the false statement that all of the classified materials that passed through her private server were retroactively deemed to be classified -- already a departure from her initial claim was that zero classified materials passed through that server.  But as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have reported, that's just not true.  Of the 40 emails examined by independent Obama administration Inspectors General at the State Department and CIA, fully ten percent of them included classified content -- that was classified at the time.  Via Ed Morrissey, Mark Halperin rightly focuses attention on the most serious element of Mrs. Clinton's email scandal -- namely, national security breaches:

It matters in terms of security. If there was classified information in there — Secretary [Clinton] says there wasn’t, the Inspectors General say there was — and that got hacked into in the private server, that is a huge breach of her responsibilities. That to me is where the story’s going. Will the FBI investigate the question of was there a security breach on the private server, or on the outside server, the outside vendor that — the Clintons switched their information — making sure that there was no security breach. And they’ve not addressed that one bit.

That's why these Inspectors General referred this matter to the Justice Department and the FBI.  They are deeply concerned that untold quantities of government secrets were accessed by foreign governments and hostile parties through Clinton's egregiously under-secured server.  Why would she construct such a risky and reckless scenario?  The "one device" convenience excuse has been blown to pieces, so what's really going on?  MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell spoke with experts who can only draw one conclusion:

MITCHELL: I was at a security conference speaking to intelligence officials on all sides, and to the Attorney General, and we’ll talk about that later. But nobody can give an explanation for why a Cabinet Secretary would have a private e-mail system, other than to thwart inquiries, FOIAs, and someone who had spent 20 years fighting off many investigations, many of which were unwarranted and many of which led nowhere, and so you understand the defensive approach that a lot of Clinton people were in. But it still doesn’t explain why going from the Senate into a Cabinet level position there was a private e-mail system.

Put bluntly, she violated the rules and endangered national security for the sole and explicit purpose of avoiding accountability and transparency, for her own political purposes.  And she's been lying about it ever since.  One of those lies is that she turned over all work-related emails to the State Department, which has been demonstrated to be flat-out false.  She destroyed tens of thousands of emails without any oversight.  What is she hiding?

Pew Poll: Republicans Unhappy With The Republican Party

Despite an unpopular President Obama and a less-than-enthused population when it comes to Hillary Clinton, Republicans are struggling with their favorability rating just nine days before the first GOP primary debate in Ohio. 

According to a new poll released by Pew Research, Republicans have seen their favorability drop significantly since the beginning of the year among voters. 

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).


Further, a huge struggle Republicans seem to be having comes from disappointment inside their own party.

Republicans, in particular, are now more critical of their own party than they were a few months ago. About two-thirds (68%) express a favorable opinion of their party, the lowest share in more than two years. Six months ago, 86% of Republicans viewed the GOP positively.

And here is the biggest problem: Democrats are still trusted more to handle big issues, to "govern in a more honest and ethical way," and to relate to everyday Americans. This is a pretty incredible feat considering the news of Hillary Clinton's personal email server and deletion of 32,000 emails she deemed "personal." Voters also view the GOP as the more extreme of the two major political parties. 

 

These latest numbers certainly reflect the rift we've seen inside the GOP for years and prove Republicans have a lot of work to do in terms of reaching voters and proving their Party is the better pick. Just over the past few days, there has been a feud between anti-establishment Senators like Ted Cruz and GOP leadership on Capitol Hill. Further, the rise of the Tea Party in 2009 was not only a reaction to President Obama's big government policies, but also against big government Republicans. 

ICYMI: Planned Parenthood CEO Struggles to Justify Selling Baby Parts

In case you missed it over the weekend, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards sat down on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and struggled to justify the selling of baby parts "for science" and "medical purposes." Richards was extremely defensive when asked about why Planned Parenthood doctors are seen in undercover footage haggling over the price for body parts and ironically accused the journalists who captured the footage of engaging in unethical practices. One doctor in particular was caught on camera negotiating body parts while joking that she wanted a Lamborghini.

"This has been a three-year, well funded effort by the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement in this country to try and entrap doctors with highly doctored videos. Doctors repeatedly said, which was edited out, Planned Parenthood does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation, which is an important element of healthcare research in this country," Richards said, failing to acknowledge that the organization behind the undercover video, The Center for Medical Progress, has released the "edited" footage Richards is referring to in full. "What is not told is that these [undercover videos] are highly selectively edited." 

To his credit, Stephanopoulos followed up on that point, asking if Planned Parenthood doesn't profit from the sale of parts, then why do doctors participate in a negotiation process about price for baby parts?

"Planned Parenthood has broken no laws, we have the highest standards. The care and healthcare of our patients is the most important priority," Richards said. "This is actually laudable that women choose to make fetal tissue donations." 

It isn't clear if women are knowingly donating (or in this case, Planned Parenthood selling) fetal organs harvested in late term abortions for "medical research." It is a felony to sell fetal parts to any company without the consent of the mother.


ABC US News | World News


Meanwhile, while Congress debates whether the abortion giant should continue to receive more than $500 million per year in taxpayer funding, big companies are denying any previous involvement or sponsorship of the organization.

Planned Parenthood once boasted a list of sponsors that read like a who's who of the Fortune 100, but now some of the biggest companies say they never gave money to the embattled organization.

Coca-Cola, Ford and Xerox are all among the companies listed in a roster of corporate sponsors claimed by Planned Parenthood, but representatives for the companies said they either never donated to the organization or had not in years. Planned Parenthood, which is now reeling from the release of two undercover videos in which top officials alluded to selling fetus parts, had published the company names on the website of its Washington, DC, chapter.

Planned Parenthood's financing has come under scrutiny in the wake of the video sting, which was carried out by the Center for Medical Progress. In the videos, Planned Parenthood officials were recorded talking to people posing as medical researchers about providing aborted fetal organs for research. Critics say the videos show Planned Parenthood is illegally harvesting and selling organs, although the organization's president, Cecile Richards, claims the group has done nothing illegal and is being smeared.

Exit question: Is Planned Parenthood an advocate for late-term abortion because the organization profits off of baby body parts that are significantly more developed in later pregnancy? We'll be finding out. The Center For Medical Progress reportedly has at least a dozen more undercover videos to publish in the coming weeks. 

WaPo: Americans See More Guns As The Solution

Is this the end of the gun control debate? The Washington Post’s reported��probably to Everytown’s dismay–that more Americans see gun ownership as the solution in fighting crime, and not the problem:

It's an echo of a familiar theme from NRA head Wayne LaPierre. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said frequently amid the more recent gun-control debate.

And most Americans agree with this logic, according to a 2014 Pew Research Poll. Since the 2012 Newtown, Conn., massacre of 26 people, including 20 school children, the poll found a nine-point rise in the number of Americans who think gun ownership could "protect people from becoming victims of crime."

The post-Newtown shift was most significant among Republicans, whose support for gun ownership in the two years since the attack rose from 63 percent to 80 percent.

The poll also marked the first time in two decades of Pew surveys that more Americans supported gun rights rather than gun control (though public opinion had been shifting that way for years).

In fact, the pro-gun-rights lobby is so powerful and its voters so active that Democratic senators who support gun laws tend to reverse their positions before reelection, a 2014 research paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found.

Now, they aptly note that large majorities of Americans–gun owners and regular Joe alike–support the idea of background checks. A background check for a gun purchase is reasonable; the law requires it. Expanding them into private sales, which mostly involve family members, is a waste of time. It does nothing to reduce crime single the percentage of such sales are within single digits. It’s window dressing.

Moreover, the pro-gun control crowd had their narrative shattered when Dylann Roof was able to purchase a firearm because his pending narcotics charge wasn’t properly entered into the National Instant Background Check System [NICS]. That’s not to say that the system should be dismantled, but the aura of government being efficient in supplying that security blanket by expanding background checks was gutted, or at least it should be. The feds utterly failed to keep us safe in this instance.

Now, one area where both gun control and pro-Second Amendment alike can find an area of agreement is keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. John Russel Houser, the Louisiana movie theater shooter, had a history of mental illness, but was able to pass a background check for his firearms purchase at a pawnshop because he was never involuntarily committed. At the same time, the Grand Theater, where Houser engaged in a senseless act of violence that left two people dead and nine injured, was a gun-free zone. That’s another debate entirely, but it shows another area where gun control advocates back policies that leave law-abiding Americans vulnerable to attack.

Yet, getting back to the issue of whether the debate over this subject is over, the tides were already turning in the Second Amendment camp’s favor months after Newtown. Support for more gun regulations returned to their pre-Newtown levels, and 68 percent of Americans feel safer living in neighborhoods with firearms. Getting back to what the Post noted, our side outmaneuvers, out-fundraises, and, most importantly, votes when the time calls for it. Whenever there’s a ballot initiative–or candidate–who wishes to curtail one of our oldest civil rights, we act–and we usually win.

We’ve beaten the gun control side to a pulp. For now, the debate is over, but our society doesn’t allow for permanent victories since public opinion is volatile. Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) remembers just two decades ago when the gun rights crowd was on the losing side, and we’re told by the gun control masses that the issue was settled. It could happen to us if we don’t continue to engage the other side, as annoying as that may be, in defending one of our most basic rights in the Constitution. C’mon! It’s great fun messing with the anti-gunners!  As Reynolds said, this engagement is the reason why we won. It's because we fought. 

Gun control groups, like Everytown, may brag about the millions in their membership who don’t vote, and petition signers who just waste paper. If your side doesn’t vote on Election Day, it means nothing. Yet, that could change. For now, we’re winning, and we should feel good about that. Moreover, with women becoming more active in exercising their Second Amendment rights, the hurdle for those who wish to pull the nation leftward on guns will find themselves hitting a very low ceiling in terms of support. Men, womenblacks, and Hispanics–they're all coming towards the right on firearms. Politically, Republicans, who are generally pro-gun rights, have two-thirds of the governorships, control the most state legislatures since 1920, and, as Reynolds noted, we have some form of carry rights in all 50 states. 

The Boston 2024 Olympic Bid is Dead

After Boston beat out Los Angeles, Washington, and San Francisco for the US Olympic Committee's bid for the 2024 Olympics, there was near instantaneous controversy among Boston residents and city leaders. Today, it was announced that the bid will be withdrawn and Boston will not host the 2024 Olympics.

An alternative city, most likely Los Angeles, will be given the USOC's bid instead.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced earlier today that he would refuse to sign a host city contract that would burden the city's taxpayers. This sparked rumblings that the bid would be pulled by the city. These rumblings were confirmed to be true this afternoon.

Due to continued low public support, the United States Olympic Committee and officials from the local bid group, Boston 2024, “have reached a mutual agreement to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the organizations said in a joint statement Monday.

The USOC will now explore alternative cities, which many experts believe would be two-time Olympic host Los Angeles.

“The USOC would very much like to see an American city host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024,” said USOC chairman Scott Blackmun, in a statement. “We will immediately begin to explore whether we can do so on a basis consistent with our guiding principles, to which we remain firmly committed.

“We understand the reality of the timeline that is before us,” he said.

Hosting the Olympics (or any major sporting event) has been a bit of an economic gamble, and Walsh is smart to protect the economic interests of the city of Boston.

The United States last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996, in Atlanta.

Poll: Democrats Viewed Way More Trustworthy, Compassionate Than Republicans

Hardly surprising. Nevertheless, Republicans have their work cut out for them in combatting long-entrenched and easily-perpetuated stereotypes. By and large, respondents overwhelmingly believe Democrats represent the party of compassion, moral rectitude, and moderation, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

The most alarming figure above is probably the empathy gap. Fifty-three percent of respondents say Democrats are “concerned with people like me.” Republicans, by contrast, trail on this question by double digits. This is depressing news, partly because as the GOP has sought to rehabilitate its image — and grow the party — there’s been no discernible change in public opinion on this question for years:

The Democratic Party continues to enjoy an advantage on a number of key traits and qualities, and these views are little changed since last fall. By a 22-point margin, more say the Democratic Party is “more concerned with the needs of people like me.” The Democratic Party has held a similar-sized lead on this trait since 2011, and at least a double-digit edge going back to when this question was first asked more than 25 years ago in 1988.

The Democratic Party also leads the Republican Party as the party that governs in a more honest and ethical way (45% vs. 29%). This balance of opinion is also little changed over the last few years.

Even worse, perhaps, Republicans themselves are losing faith in their own party. To wit:

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).

The Democratic Party has often held an edge over the GOP in favorability in recent years, but its advantage had narrowed following the Republicans’ midterm victory last fall. Today, the gap is as wide as it has been in more than two years.

Still, the silver lining is this: Pew's findings merely and seemingly only convey general trends. That is, what happens when you test specific candidates on these issues? Could the results be any different? Of course they could.

For instance, Democrats like Hillary Clinton are struggling mightily when polled about their trustworthiness and favorability. In that sense, Mrs. Clinton shares similarities with a political party that, otherwise, she has very little in common with.

How Much Planned Parenthood is Really Costing You

Planned Parenthood, the organization responsible for 329,445 abortions a year, is also collecting $487.4 million dollars worth of taxpayer money annually.

According to Planned Parenthood’s own apologist, Media Matters, its “total revenue from abortion services was approximately $164,154,000,” a year. Accordingly, over 51 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinic income comes from abortion. In addition to its $320.1 million in clinic income and $223.8 million in private donations, Planned Parenthood receives $487.4 million dollars a year from taxpayers. And that number is drastically increasing. Taxpayer funding for the abortion giant has more than doubled in the last decade.

This is money coming out of your wallets:

Here's a sample: Individuals making between $50,000 and $100,000 paid just $15.51 toward Planned Parenthood. However, those making more than that paid considerably more. Individuals making above $250,000 have paid, on average, roughly $420 toward the organization.

After controversial videos were released suggesting Planned Parenthood was selling aborted babies' organs, senators are trying to halt federal funding of the organization.

One legislator leading the action includes Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a GOP presidential contender. 

"This organization has absolutely zero respect for the sanctity of human life and is an affront to the most basic human dignity enshrined in our founding documents," states Paul.

Also fighting the defund fight is Republican Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, a nurse for more than 40 years and a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. She has submitted the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on all federal funding for one year while Congress does its own personal investigation.

“The one-sided relationship between Planned Parenthood’s ever-growing bank account and American taxpayers must be severed”

This Defund Planned Parenthood Act only will serve as a temporary prohibition on the taxes that come out of your pocket. Others are hoping for more drastic measures, that include getting rid of the taxing that supports Planned Parenthood altogether.

While drastic measures are being taken to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood, the organization itself is not backing down.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, in her first live interview regarding the controversy, on Sunday said the organization has broken no laws and slammed the group that produced the videos, the Center for Medical Progress. "The folks behind this, in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind, you know, the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes and in their churches," she told ABC's "This Week." "And that's what actually needs to be looked at."

To find out how much your share of Planned Parenthood is costing you in tax dollars, click here.

These Companies Have Directly Supported Planned Parenthood

In the wake of two undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood-affiliated physicians discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, politicians and pro-life advocates alike have ramped up efforts to defund the abortion giant once and for all.

But there’s something citizens can do right now that could have an impact on a significant source of revenue for Planned Parenthood: stop supporting businesses that donate directly to the organization.

According to 2ndVote, which tracks causes that corporations donate to, of Planned Parenthood’s $1.3 billion in yearly revenue, more than 25 percent comes from private donations, including corporate contributions.

Their research indicates that the following 38 well-known companies have directly supported Planned Parenthood.

Unfortunately many more, which you can see here, have supported third-party groups that fund the abortion giant.

“We encourage you to reach out to these companies; let them know why you spend your dollars elsewhere,” 2ndVote’s website reads. “By working together and voting with our dollars, we can turn the tables on this national tragedy.”

H/T: The Daily Signal

Blacks And Hispanics Are Lining Up For Their Concealed Carry Permits In Chicago

The Land of Lincoln was the last state to recognize concealed carry rights in July of 2013 after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s law banning the carrying of firearms in public was unconstitutional in December of 2012. In January of 2014, the law allowing for concealed carry went into effect, and Chicago saw the lowest murder rate since 1958. Sadly, Chiraq Chicago is undergoing another bloody era. It recently had another bloody Fourth of July holiday weekend that left nine dead and 53 wounded. In 2014, the city’s Independence Day weekend saw 82 people shot, with at least 15 killed. So, no one should really be surprised that everyone in the city is applying for concealed carry permits, especially in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Additionally, there are a sizable number of women in Illinois with their concealed carry permits (via Chicago Sun-Times) [emphasis mine]:

A Chicago Sun-Times analysis of concealed-carry permits issued since 2013 shows the 60643 ZIP code where McDonald lived is ranked 23rd out of more than 1,300 ZIP codes across the state.

Ten of the top 50 ZIP codes in the state were in Chicago.

[…]

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Sun-Times obtained an Illinois State Police database of the 119,337 concealed-carry permits issued between Dec. 18, 2013, and June 6, 2015. The names of the people who received the permits and their addresses were removed because of privacy restrictions.

About 12 percent of the permits in Chicago were granted to women; the rest are men. Statewide, about 14 percent are women.

[…]

The top five ZIP codes for concealed-carry permits in Chicago include upper middle-class, safe and predominately white neighborhoods on the Southwest and Northwest Sides — but they also include high-crime, minority neighborhoods on the South and Southeast Sides, the Sun-Times analysis showed.

Chicago’s highest concentration of permits is in the 60617 ZIP code — in the East Side neighborhood on the city’s Southeast Side — with 538 permits. According to the census, about 55 percent of the residents in 60617 are black, 34 percent are Hispanic and 7 percent white.

The sizable number of women who have their concealed carry is also another positive aspect of this analysis, and represents a shift in gun politics. Whereas the battle lines on gun control was usually drawn between men and women, Democrat and Republican, women have been lining up across the country for their carry permits. Female participation in shooting sports and ownership has the gun manufacturers seeing them–and rightfully so–as the next frontier in the industry. Now, men still represent the vast majority of gun owners, but more and more women are exercising their Second Amendment rights, enjoying it, and seeing its value–even in deep blue states like Illinois. This represents another hurdle for the gun control crowd. Fifty-one percent of white, middle class women think that a gun in the home makes them safer; overall, 68 percent agree that guns in a neighborhood makes them more secure. As many observers of politics have said in the past, it’s never a smart move politically to go against anything that white, middle class women like.

Regarding homicides, in 2012, the Windy City witnesses an all-time record of 504 murders. According to the Washington Post, that dropped to 392 within two years, with a crime rate the lowest since 1972. Right now, Chicago is seeing an uptick in shootings and homicides.

So, does more concealed carry permits equal less crime? There are studies that point to this result, but Illinois is still new to this right–with a legislature that’s still not gun friendly. Time will tell, but we shouldn’t be shocked in a five-to-ten year span if crime begins to dip once more people obtain their carry permits.