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 fete 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 that crime begins to trickle down as more and more people obtain their carry permits.

Levin: It's Time for Boehner and McConnell to Resign

Popular radio talk show host Mark Levin has called for Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to resign from their positions.

Levin wrote on his Facebook page:

It is time for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to resign for the good of the nation and the Republican Party. The nation and GOP are both suffering as a result of the unwillingness or inability of McConnell and Boehner to effectively defend either. Instead, these politicians are consumed with consolidating their own power on Capitol Hill and silencing opponents who dare to challenge their ironfisted rule. Sadly, they rarely act in the best interests of America's future. Indeed, time and again they have delivered victory after victory for Obama and his radical agenda -- from spending, borrowing, and Obamacare to illegal immigration, Iran and "trade" power. Never before has a Congress controlled by one party been so thoroughly impotent. This is due to the disastrous leadership of McConnell and Boehner.

As usual, Levin is spot on. The Republican Congress was elected in large part to fight against Obama and his far left policies. And yet, they have caved on every issue. They fund Obamacare, they fund Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty, and they made themselves irrelevant in the Iran deal by passing Sen. Bob Corker's bill that turned the treaty provision of the Constitution on its head.

Where have Boehner and McConnell been on the issue of sanctuary cities and Kate Steinle's murder? Where is the forceful action and leadership on the defunding of Planned Parenthood after these horrific videos of them admitting to illegally selling the body parts of aborted babies?

The truth is that Boehner and McConnell are very uninspiring and seem to be more concerned in appeasing their special interest groups and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times than stopping the decline of the country. Boehner and McConnell both talk as if they have marbles in their mouths. Boehner says he won't take action against Planned Parenthood until more evidence comes out- even though the videos released already provide enough evidence to implicate Planned Parenthood. Instead, Boehner continues to push for comprehensive immigration reform- a.k.a. amnesty- against the wishes of the American people and punish conservative House members who dare to vote against him. And of course, Boehner cries like a baby way too often. How is this guy an effective leader?

When McConnell isn't bashing conservatives like Ted Cruz, he touts the Senate's ability to pass amendments- as if that's some sort of major accomplishment. How does that resonate with the American people? 

Recently, McConnell blocked amendments that would have defunded Planned Parenthood and implemented Kate's Law in cracking down on sanctuary cities using the "filling the tree" process of crowding out amendments that he didn't like- the same tactic that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used against Republicans. 

However, McConnell didn't block an amendment reauthorizing the Export-Import bank, a source of crony capitalism for corporations like Boeing and GE. This is why Cruz bravely stood up to McConnell on Friday. As a result, McConnell fast-tracked a stand alone bill to defund Planned Parenthood, which was meaningless because Democrats could kill it with a filibuster, which they wouldn't have been able to do if McConnell had allowed it as an amendment.

This isn't out of the ordinary for McConnell. I remember hearing a story on Levin's show a couple of years ago about how McConnell had courted Sen. Marco Rubio to be a part of the Gang of Eight as a way to get Tea Party support for the amnesty bill that had passed the Senate that year. McConnell, meanwhile, waffled on his support of the bill and ended up voting against it. And yet, the fact that he had courted Rubio behind the scenes to become a face to that bill shows the shady deception that McConnell engages in to pretend that he's a conservative in an election year, and then proceeds to channel Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.

Levin concluded his Facebook post by saying:

It is time for younger, wiser, and more courageous Republican leadership -- constitutional conservatives who understand the role of a statesman in perilous times -- who are willing to truly lead the nation and the Republican Party based on America's enlightened principles, advance the cause of liberty and republican government, and make the case everyday to the American people.

Right on. Boehner and McConnell are aging, mealy mouthed politicians who stand for cronyism and keeping themselves entrenched in power. With America in decline and our enemies on the rise, it's now time for true constitutional conservatives who stand up for the American people and the rule of law to take their place. The country depends on it.

Q-Poll: Colorado Voters Oppose Tougher Gun Laws

Well, what do you know; Colorado voters really don’t want tougher gun laws, according to a Quinnipiac poll. At the same time, the majority of Coloradoans approve of the job that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is doing:

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows Colorado voters oppose tougher gun control laws, especially among men and Republicans.

The poll showed voters oppose such laws 56-39 percent, with a 80-18 percent opposition among Republicans. Independent voters oppose tougher laws by 59-35 percent while Democrats support tougher laws 76-19 percent.

According to the poll, men oppose tougher laws 69-27 percent, while women support them 51-44 percent.

The poll, completed as part of a swing state gauge that also included Iowa and Virginia, questioned 1,231 Colorado voters with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

The poll also found Colorado voters approve 51-40 percent of Gov. John Hickenlooper's work. The voters also approved of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet by 41-34 percent approval rating though the poll showed voters say 40-32 percent that he does not deserve reelection in 2016.

In September 2013, Colorado was the site of the first real Second Amendment fight post-Newtown. In March of that year, Gov. Hickenlooper signed legislation to ban so-called high-capacity magazines and expand background checks. The latter of which is wholly unnecessary since all gun purchases at gun dealers with a federal firearms license must conduct one for all purchases. John Lott mentioned how sales conducted without background checks are within the single digits. It’s not 40 percent, which is a patently false statistic that was peddled without shame by the Obama administration.

The new gun laws sparked recall elections for two pro-gun control state senators, Angela Giron and John Morse, who were booted from office thanks to a coalition of women, Hispanics, and blue-collar workers. The meltdown showed the impotence of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun groups, regarding having any impact on gun politics … anywhere. They’re still searching for relevance since they really haven’t done anything other than start incoherent petitions, and hound businesses to ban open carry in their establishments.

The post-recall meltdown was even more delicious. Giron tried to say that voter suppression was the reason she lost her recall election. Giron represented a heavily Democratic district.

This also explains why Bernie Herpin and George Rivera, the two Republicans who succeeded Giron and Morse in 2013, lost in 2014 since both of their senate districts were Democratic strongholds. So, anti-gunners, don't think that's a sign of anything relating to shifting sands on gun control. The Quinnipiac poll just proved that assumption wrong. Colorado Democrats also lost their majority in the State Senate that year as well.

In March of 2015, Colorado Republicans in the State Senate voted to repeal the high capacity magazine ban, with some Democratic support. Yet, it met a legislative death in the Democratic-controlled State House of Representatives.

*Special thanks to Aaron Gardner and Revealing Politics' Kelly Maher for their input with this post.  Both are Colorado residents and active in politics.

Huckabee: Iran Deal Could Initiate Another Jewish Holocaust

It appears Gov. Mike Huckabee has made yet another bombastic statement, this time by criticizing President Obama’s recently-brokered and much-pilloried Iran deal.

Speaking with Breitbart News over the weekend, he alleged that the accord, if implemented, would do the following:

Governor Huckabee didn’t pull any punches when talking about Obama’s Iran nuclear deal: “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped.”

Not surprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) immediately seized upon – and repudiated – his comments:

Whatever one’s views of the nuclear agreement with Iran – and we have been critical of it, noting that there are serious unanswered questions that need to be addressed – comments such as those by Mike Huckabee suggesting the president is leading Israel to another Holocaust are completely out of line and unacceptable.

Israeli military and security officials have repeatedly said the Obama Administration has been as strong as any other American administration in keeping Israel secure. Just a year ago, during the war in Gaza, the president signed off on an additional $223 million for Iron Dome anti-missile weaponry to protect the lives of Israeli civilians.

To hear Mr. Huckabee invoke the Holocaust when America is Israel’s greatest ally and when Israel is a strong nation capable of defending itself is disheartening. The great tragedy of the Holocaust saw the Jews of Europe without allies and without power at the worst possible moment. …

Many would agree. And yet, it didn't take long for Huckabee’s comments to reach the administration; here’s what President Obama said about them earlier today (via The Hill):

President Obama on Monday condemned GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for invoking the Holocaust while criticizing the Iran nuclear agreement.

Obama said those type of “outrageous attacks” have become “all too commonplace” in the Republican Party and have helped poison American political debate.

Speaking at a press conference in Ethiopia, Obama described the former Arkansas governor’s comments as “part of just a general pattern we have seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.”

That's rich coming from the president. Nevertheless, as of this writing, Huckabee hasn't walked back what he said – or issued an apology. He even tweeted this yesterday:

Surely Gov. Huckabee could have made that exact same point — i.e., that the Iran accord jeopardizes the national security of the US and therefore its greatest ally Israel — without bringing Nazi gas chambers into the conversation. By doing so he (a) muddled the point he was trying to make and (b) gave Democrats a political opening to accuse Republicans of extremism and incivility. By the way, how does such language advance his cause and win over Americans to his point of view anyway? Answer: It doesn't. The media will now largely focus on his rhetoric, not the substance of what he was trying to articulate; namely, how bad the Iran deal really is.

At the same time (and as the ADL points out) he also inadvertently implied that the Jewish state is completely and totally helpless in defending itself against Iranian aggression. That's totally false.

For that reason alone, shouldn't he think very seriously about apologizing?

UPDATE: Huckabee responded to the president.

Cuban Athlete Defections Continue

I wrote last week about the surprising number of Cuban athletes who have defected to the United States in the past month at various athletic tournaments. The string of Cuban defections continued this weekend, as one half of Cuba's men's field hockey team defected to the United States at the Pan-American Games in Toronto. Eight of the 16 members of the team defected to the U.S. and deserted the team as the games drew to a close. The lack of team members forced Cuba to play a modified version of the game with fewer players.

From AFP:

The sources said eight of the 16 Cuban players had deserted, while team member Roger Aguilera put the number at seven, just the latest in a rash of Cuban defections across several sports.

"Everyone knows what happened to our team, we have seven of them in the United States," said Aguilera, after the decimated Cubans were hammered 13-0 by Trinidad and Tobago.

Short of manpower, Cuba could only field eight players instead of the standard 11 plus five substitutes.

While things may be different in Cuba, some things sadly remain the same. Although athletes in Cuba typically enjoy a more privileged status over ordinary Cubans, they're still trying to flee at the first opportunity.

Meet the Press Anchor: Hillary's Favorability 'Dismal,' Email Probe 'Incredibly Significant'


As I said on Friday, last week was a rough one for Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee. A Q-poll of voters in the swing states of Colorado, Virginia and Iowa showed her upside-down by substantial margins on trust, empathy and overall favorability. A new NBC/WSJ survey confirms Quinnipiac's favorability findings, measuring Mrs. Clinton's ratings approximately 20 points underwater in two early battleground states. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd opened yesterday's program by describing the numbers as "dismal" and "troubling" for the Clinton camp:


She's at (37/56) favorable vs. unfavorable in Iowa, and (37/57) in New Hampshire.  Todd also called Friday's news that two Inspectors General have requested a DOJ investigation into Hillary's improper email server and usage "incredibly significant."  MSM tastemaker Mark Halperin agreed, casting the development as a "disaster" for her campaign -- if a criminal probe moves forward:


In this clip, Halperin and his co-host outline the Clinton camp's response to the New York Times' reporting, which has entailed quite a lot of highly Clintonian parsing.  It's unclear whether the IG referrals to DOJ were explicitly criminal in nature, or if that determination has not yet been made -- plus, the investigation may focus on 'those responsible' for Hillary's emails, not necessarily Hillary herself.  It's worth noting that Hillary ordered the (scandalously under-secured) server to be set up in the first place, misused it, then ordered its contents culled prior to putting on a belated smoke-and-mirrors show of "complying" with records-keeping requirements.  Mrs. Clinton is responsible for Mrs. Clinton's email.  And while we're on the subject of responsibility, read Gabriel Malor's quick Twitter primer on the implications of her classified "spillage" problem.  Aside from her lying about it, that is, which is hardly unusual for her anyway.  A few key take-aways:


With Team Hillary's 'deflect, deny, distract' machine firing on all cylinders, Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau tries the focus people's attention on two core facts:


Exactly.  Frustrated by stonewalling, two IGs referred the matter of Hillary Clinton's improper email usage to the DOJ for an investigation, which evidently involves the FBI's counterintelligence division -- and in direct contradiction of her pervious assertions, she did use her private server and account(s) to share classified materials. As she is wont to do in times of distress, Hillary is busy ignoring her problems and playing the woman card:


Ahem.  Isn't the Democratic field…"all guys," and one woman? And all lily-white, I might add, since identity politics is so terribly important to these people. Pretending to forget about Carly Fiornia's existence was a nice touch, by the way.  As it happens, Fiorina appears to be gaining steam with the GOP electorate, and deservedly so.

McConnell One Year Ago: 'You Can Count on Me' to Lead Pro-life Legislation

Sen. Mitch McConnell gave the keynote speech at last year's National Right to Life convention in Louisville, Ky. He excited attendees with his pledge to defend the unborn once he took the Senate reins from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Well, a year later, and those pro-lifers are wondering what the heck happened. This weekend on Capitol Hill, McConnell rejected Republican senators' attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, even after the organization was exposed by an under cover investigation showing top abortionists nonchalantly discussing the sale of fetal body parts. 

Here was McConnell in June 2014, criticizing Democrats and their shameful agenda of stymieing the efforts of the pro-life movement:

"For six years, the president has been isolated from this growing movement [...] He will be forced to listen to the cause that's brought us all here this morning [...] Senate Dems would be forced to take a stand."

Well, despite McConnell's contrast, not much has seemingly changed under his leadership. In what could have been a prime opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood as it is reeling from the poor publicity of the last two weeks, McConnell looked the other way. Instead of allowing the pro-life amendment to be added to the highway funding bill, he offered a different one anathema to the conservative cause: the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Again, flashback to that pro-life convention:

"As long as I'm the senior senator from Kentucky, you can count on me."

McConnell, I have no doubt, is pro-life. He cosponsored the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and last month assured pro-lifers the Senate would vote on it.

“A bill that protects life after 20 weeks in the womb, a bill that in the past couldn’t even get a hearing, I’ll promise you will be a getting a vote,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said on Friday. “That’s not only good news for pro-lifers, it’s good news for our entire country.”

“It’s high time we did that because, I don’t know about you but I think we’re failing the country if the best thing we can offer to a scared, young mom-to-be is a referral to Planned Parenthood," said McConnell.

But, as his pro-life speech last year proves, it may be all rhetoric. 

Oh and did you catch that? Yeah, that was a slam against Planned Parenthood. Let's hope he hasn't forgotten who he's fighting.

Final note: McConnell seems like he's trying to make amends by agreeing to "fast-track" a stand-alone defund Planned Parenthood bill. Sean Davis explains why that may yet again be just an empty gesture:

Mr. Trump, Where's The Issues Section On Your Campaign Site?

Donald Trump is surging. He’s tapped into the anger within the electorate about how Washington has failed to do anything about immigration. Yet, it’s really grounded in what voters see as a lack of the rule of law on this issue and many others, specifically Obamacare, coming from the Obama administration. The president’s delay of the employer mandate is arguably on the precipice of violating separation of powers, but that’s for another time. The Donald wants to “make America great again,” but he doesn’t want to tell you how he would do it. He has no issues section on his website, as Rare’s Corie W. Stephens noted yesterday. She also wrote that we shouldn’t be surprised:

Trump’s political speeches tend to be rambling, barely coherent declarations of self-promotion, often citing how rich he is and listing off people who allegedly ask him for favors. Trump has made vague policy commentary in the form of statements such as “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall, mark my words.”

Trump also laid out a hypothetical scenario in which he will, “call up the head of Ford,” who will then wait until the next day to call him back, to “play it cool.” Suddenly, Ford will decide not to build a plant in Mexico and instead bring the jobs to the United States. Voila! How such lofty goals will miraculously be achieved is anybody’s guess. In Trump’s mind, he appears to have the magic touch, no policy analysis or political finesse required.

[…]

Take what Trump wrote in his book “The America We Deserve” about health care. He called for a single-payer system that is further to the left of Obamacare, and reflects a position held by self-avowed socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He also called for an “assault weapons ban” and described himself as pro-choice in the same book.

[…]

Politicians can of course, have sincere and informed changes of heart from time to time. But Trump’s “evolution” and current lack of substance smacks of political opportunism. This is a man who went from hiring undocumented workers for his various real estate projects to fashioning himself as an immigration hardliner when he felt the political winds necessitated it.

Trump is a celebrity*, and a great entertainer. 

That doesn’t mean he’s suited to be the next president. Nevertheless, Trump won’t be the 2016 Republican nominee, and he won’t be the next president. So, there’s that sobering fact.

*Don't get me wrong, the WWE bits are highly entertaining. 

Obamacare Repeal Vote Attached to Highway Funding Bill Fails

The 3-year highway funding bill up for debate in the Senate today has been surrounded by plenty of controversy. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) very publicly lambasted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for including an amendment to the legislation that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which many conservatives criticize as coporate welfare. Although McConnell also tacked on a vote to repeal Obamacare to somewhat appease his small government-minded colleagues, Cruz scoffed that it was no more than an empty gesture.

Unsurprisingly, the Obamacare repeal vote has failed to reach the 60 votes it needed to progress.

Stay tuned for more updates as the Senate votes on today's highway bill.

Update: In another blow to conservatives, the Senate has voted to reauthorize the Ex-Im bank.

Cruz and other Republicans are incensed not only because McConnell offered the Ex-Im amendment, but also because he rejected their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which they tried to do for obvious reasons.

By the way, Republicans determined to stop the president's health care law are not letting today's defeat slow them down. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has already made clear he will introduce the Obamacare repeal amendment again once the highway funding debate is over.

Update II: Cruz responds. He's not happy.

Shocker: Minimum Wage Hikes Gutted Over 700,000 Jobs In 2013

Are liberals better at economics or are they just more adept at selling ideas that drive purely on emotion? Increasing the minimum wage is a perfect example. Raising it increases the living standards for those who struggle earning such a wage, and those who are against it–Republicans–are just anti-poor cretins who have no heart. The political campaign almost sells itself. Yet, we’re against it not because we hate poor people–that’s unadulterated nonsense. We’re against it because hurts workers, which is something that we’ve been saying ad nauseum, but alas, liberal intransigence and stubbornness on this issue has resulted in over 700,000 jobs being cut over the past couple years.

Piggybacking off Daniel’s post last week, Seattle’s progressives have seen their minimum wage increase blow up in their faces. Workers are now demanding fewer hours. Why? The city’s $15 minimum wage law means that they’re ineligible for other welfare services. So, the burden of the law falls entirely on the employer, with the employees wanting to work less so they can remain on the government programs. It is laziness or just immaturity; that being you have to pay more in taxes and are ineligible for certain programs once you start making more money? That’s a debate for another time.

The American Action Forum has provided an analysis of the minimum wage and other economic policies from the Obama administration, which was supposedly meant to help the middle class. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t:

In 2013 High Minimum Wages Cost 747,700 Jobs: In 2013 a $1 increase in the minimum wage was associated with a 1.48 percent increase in the unemployment rate, which amounted to 747,700 jobs. States with minimum wages above the federal standard are lagging behind their counterparts by a full percentage point. The increases will lead to fewer jobs for those who need them the most.

The jobs lost from minimum wage hikes are almost entirely low-wage jobs.

[…]

According to a study by Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither from the University of California San Diego, the last time the federal minimum wage increased (from $5.15 to $7.25), employment among those earning less than $7.50 decreased by 8% nationally. That amounted to 1.7 million fewer jobs. As a result, average monthly income fell by $100. Read more here for fascinating data on its effect on mobility, poverty, and unpaid work.

[…]

The Affordable Care Act has reshaped American healthcare and affected the middle class, but not in a positive way financially.

Small businesses have been some of the hardest hit. AAF research found that Obamacare has reduced the wages of small business workers (offices with 20-99 employees) by $22.6 billion annually and cost those small businesses 350,000 jobs.

The ACA has also led to workers’ hours being cut. As Nate Silver’s 538 site wrote this past January, “the evidence suggests [the Affordable Care Act] has led some employers to limit the hours of workers who were already part-time, effectively giving a pay cut to some of the most vulnerable Americans.”

Welcome to Obama’s America.

Heller: McCain Blocked Amendment To Arm Troops on Bases Weeks Before Chattanooga Attack

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller knew it wasn’t a good idea to ban arms from our military bases and recruiting centers, which is why in June—weeks before the Chattanooga attack—he submitted an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act which would “give military base commanders the authority to allow service members to carry personal firearms.” Unfortunately, his amendment was blocked, by none other than Sen. John McCain.

The Republican senator explained in an interview on the Lars Larson Show that McCain, who’s the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, “didn’t want the amendment as part of the [2016 National Defense Authorization] bill and wouldn't accept it."

Five days after the horrible shooting in Tennessee, Heller resubmitted his amendment, which asked that the NDAA conferees include it to help prevent similar situations from happening again.

"I encourage all conferees to look at my amendment, along with the language passed by the House, as a reasonable and effective way to move forward on this issue and give our nation's base commanders the authority they need to create a safer environment for our heroes serving across America,” Heller's letter to the Committee read. “Never should the men and women serving at home have to be afraid that the base they work, and often live, on is not safe."

Vote Rigging Allegations As Communists Pull Ahead In UK Labour Leadership Race

WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – A senior Labour MP has called for the party's leadership election to be halted amidst claims large numbers of people were deliberately joining to vote for the hard-left candidate Jeremy Corbyn. When Corbyn entered the race he was seen as an 'also ran' but polling now has him ahead, leading John Mann MP to demand the process be stopped.

Mr Mann claimed the system by which anyone could vote if they gave £3 to the party risked leaving genuine members outvoted by entryists. Registration can be done via text message, and is believed to have been incredibly popular, although the party has not published exact numbers of signups.

Mann told the Sunday Times: “It is becoming a farce with longstanding members.” He claimed they were “in danger of getting trumped by people who have opposed the Labour party and want to break it up.”

His claims were backed by another Labour MP, John Cryer, who says he has evidence the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is encouraging its members to register to vote. The group is the successor to Militant Tendency, which rendered the Labour Party unelectable in the 1980s.

Under Margaret Thatcher's Premiership, the Militant Tendency group's grip on Labour was so strong many moderate party members left altogether and founded the Social Democratic Party. Since then many have returned and are now known as the Blairites, after their most successful leader Tony Blair.

It's not just the hard left that want to see Corbyn win the leadership. The Thatcherite pressure group Conservative Way Forward published a survey this week showing 56 percent of their members favor Corbyn. Many believe Corbyn cannot win the next election and his leadership would guarantee the Conservatives stay in Downing Street until at least 2025.

Some Conservatives claim to have gone even further than moral support and claiming to have joined the party in order to vote for Corbyn. Privately some are admitting to making up false names to vote more than once.

Corbyn's camp can hardly believe their luck, his long-term political aide Maggie Dunn told the Guardian: “It does feel unreal. I am having political discussions that I haven’t had for donkey’s years. People are talking about whether we should be renationalising things. It is wonderful.”

Today a YouGov published a poll indicating 25 percent more young people would vote Labour if Corbyn won. This puts him a long way ahead of his nearest rival, the former Health Secretary Andy Burnham. At the start of the campaign Mr Burnham had looked guaranteed to win, whereas most pundits hardly bothered to mention Corbyn.

Corbyn was pictured this week entertaining the former head of the Irish Republican terrorist group the IRA. He also has strong connections with Palestinian terrorist organisations, and is widely considered to have been pro-Soviet as a younger man.

He divorced his wife when she asked to send their son to a selective school.

Good News: Keystone Delay Has Cost Us $175 Billion In 'Lost Economic Activity'

The Keystone XL pipeline is an issue that Democrats are going to have to deal with sooner rather than later. Hillary Clinton has repeatedly dipped, ducked, dived, and dodged questions about her position on the project to the ire of the environmental left. In January of 2014, the State Department concluded that the construction of the pipeline “would not substantially worsen carbon pollution,” according to the New York Times. Still, the president vetoed legislation to get the project moving in February. Right now, the project is being reviewed (again) by State to determine if it is within our national interests. In the meantime, the seven-year delay on Keystone has cost us an estimated $175 billion in lost economic activity, according to American Action Forum:

The Keystone XL pipeline has the potential to bring huge gains to the United States, including energy independence, increased security and jobs. The $8 billion, 1,179 mile line, to be operated by Canadian firm TransCanada, would run from Montana to Nebraska and deliver an estimated 830,000 barrels a day of crude to refineries located along the gulf coast. At today’s price of crude at $51.76, this would gross over $42 million dollars a day or roughly $15 billion per year.

TransCanada has waited since September 2008 for authorization of the pipeline. With crude oil prices at a 10 year low, approximately $175 billion in economic activity has been unrealized due to the delay.

The U.S. would benefit significantly from increased oil imports from Canada as it would lessen our reliance on imports from more unstable areas of the world such as the Middle East, Russia and Venezuela.

According to the Energy Information Agency, the U.S. imported approximately 9 million barrels per day of petroleum in 2014 from 80 countries with the bulk of its oil imports from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia.

Since 2009, the U.S. has paid over $1 trillion to these top five countries with just over half of it going to Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Kimberley WanWyhe, director of energy policy for AAF who conducted the analysis, also wrote that the pipeline could “gross over $15 billion in revenue a year.” Alas, it seems the Obama administration has decided it was more important to keep these people happy:

Illegal Immigrant Border Siege Spells Misery for UK School Holidays

British families are facing huge delays leaving for France because illegal immigrants from North Africa invaded the Channel tunnel last night. Five thousand migrants are now camped in Northern France, and attack the UK border fences every night in the hope of getting to the British mainland.

For those hoping to cross the English Channel the border is located in two small areas of UK territory: the Port of Calais and at the Channel Tunnel terminal, both of which are on the French side. Last night’s incursion into the Channel tunnel was so serious that it was closed altogether to stop illegals getting through it. The tunnel is served by trains which cars drive aboard, the size and speed of the trains are such that the company cannot risk having any obstructions.

The immigrants keep breaking through to both the Port and the Tunnel despite the UK having re-enforced the border with the 'ring of steel' used to protect the NATO summit in Wales last year. The fencing had been approved by the US Secret Service as strong enough to protect the president, but it is still proving no match for the increasingly desperate immigrants.

Most British schools broke for the summer holidays yesterday and thousands of families are now attempting to leave the UK to get to continental Europe. The National Health Service is warning them to pack food and water into their cars as the current delays of three hours are expected to increase over the weekend.

The Channel Tunnel operator blamed the problems on “intensive migrant activity” and has responded by effectively turning the M20 motorway into a car park. One immigrant is believed to have been killed by trying to jump on top of a moving train.

The chaos caused by the illegal immigrants is not just a problem for tourists, hauliers are also concerned about goods being held up or damaged. Thousands of trucks bring imports from continental Europe, and they are now regularly tampered with by the immigrants as they wait to board ferries and trains to the UK.

The Chief Executive of the UK Road Haulage Association, Richard Burnett, said: "Business owners are being forced to take extreme action by scrapping cargo. They can't take any risks if goods have been tampered with or contaminated."

He added: "Approximately 10,000 loads pass across the Channel every day. Even if just 1 per cent of those loads are tampered with or contaminated, at a loss rate of around £30,000 per trailer, this equates to around £3 million per day, totaling £1 billion per year.

“That's a huge and unacceptable loss to the UK's economy. What's worse is that many haulage firms have to absorb a large amount of these losses."

The group has claimed shops may start running out of some products from Europe if the attacks continue. The Home Office has responded by offering to build a new “secure zone” for lorries in France so they cannot be attacked whilst they queue.

Immigrants are able to make it to France because of the Schengen Agreement which has abolished border controls across most the European Union. Africans who are trafficked to Italy can make it as far as France without any paperwork. They are stopped at Calais because the British government has refused to sign up to the agreement.

There is pressure for the UK to sign Schengen and allow more illegal immigrants in to take pressure off the French.

Below is footage of an attack on the lorries.

New EPA Regulations Could Gut Millions Of Jobs For Black and Hispanic Americans

So, the EPA wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025. It’s part of the Obama White House’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is aimed at dealing with the immensely overstated threat we allegedly face from global warming. The president said that when his daughter, Malia, had an asthma attack, it became personal. The plan already has an estimated 300,000 jobs on the chopping block, and it has pit GOP governors and the president on another collusion course regarding its implementation. Some 2016 presidential candidates may weigh in on this brewing policy fight as well. Yet, regarding minority-owned businesses, the impact of these policies could gut millions of jobs from black and Hispanic Americans (via Heartland Institute):

A study commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce to evaluate the potential economic impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) clean power plan (CPP) on minority groups, found the CPP would increase poverty in the black community by 23 percent and cause the loss of 7 million jobs for black Americans by 2035.

The Black Chamber of Commerce represents 2.1 million black-owned businesses in the United States.

Looking at the impact of the CPP on the Hispanic community, the study found it would increase poverty among Hispanics by 26 percent and result in the loss of 12 million jobs in the Hispanic community by 2035.

[…]

In testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on June 23, National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford discussed the report, Potential Impact of Proposed EPA Regulations on Low Income Groups and Minorities, testifying, “The study finds that the Clean Power Plan will inflict severe and disproportionate economic burdens on poor families, especially minorities.

[…]

The report found the CPP would "decrease Black and Hispanic median household income by $455 and $515 respectively, in 2035," Alford testified.

Well, that’s certainly an ominous economic cloud looming towards these communities. Yet, the environmental community is saying that we should ignore the millions of jobs that would be lost in the black and Hispanic communities, along with their reduction in household income, because there will be fewer trips to the hospital. That’s right. We’re not seeing the big picture. There are enormous health benefits, says Kimberly Hill Knott, director of policy for Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice:

Harry C. Alford's unfounded attack on the Clean Power Plan ignores the enormous health benefits to Michigan residents achieved by reducing pollution. The plan will prevent up to 150,000 asthma attacks and 6,600 premature deaths annually by 2030 by reducing dangerous air pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

[…]

The Clean Power Plan will reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths from asthma and other respiratory problems caused by air pollution, and protect the health of Michigan kids, families and seniors.

While defenders of the status quo repeat myths and threaten economic hardship, the truth is the Clean Power Plan will save money for low-income households. When it comes to budgets, low-income households spend 8.3 percent on electricity — and more when energy prices spike — compared to the average U.S. household which spends only 2.9 percent.

She also says that air pollution “disproportionally affects low-income and minority families.” Yet, according to the EPA, our air quality has never been better, and it continues to improve. The Institute for Energy Research labeled this news as the “silent update:”

Despite showing emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) down 40 percent, nitrogen oxides (NOx) down 42 percent and sulfur dioxide (SO2) dropping 60 percent, all since 2005, the agency stays silent, attempting to avoid any attention. More curious, is that the 2010 figures from the website were not just updated, but removed. Ironically, the change from 2010 to 2012 in many emissions areas showed improvement in air quality increasing at a faster rate

ICYMI: Ted Cruz is 'Profoundly Disappointed' in Sen. McConnell

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he didn't quite believe his office when they told him Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was "lying" when he assured Congress he would oppose the Export-Import Bank. Well, on Thursday, Cruz realized his staff had spot on intuition. Speaking for 20 minutes on the Senate floor, Cruz let the Majority Leader know he was very disappointed in his breaking his "explicit promise" not to support Ex-Im and file an amendment to reauthorize it with the passage of a transportation bill.

“There is a profound disappointment among the American people because we keep winning elections, and then we keep getting leaders who don’t do anything they promised,” Cruz said. “We’ve had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress now for about six months. .?.?. This Senate operates exactly the same, the same priorities.”

Cruz explained how he made an unfortunate decision to believe McConnell when the latter looked 54 Republican senators in the eye and gave them their word he would reject Ex-Im. Yet, a "corrupt deal" was simmering in Congress behind their backs.

“I asked the majority leader very directly: What was the deal that was just cut?” Cruz recalled. “The majority leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask such a question, and the majority leader looked at me and said, ‘There is no deal, there is no deal, there is no deal.’ Like Saint Peter, he repeated it three times.”

Yikes.

Cruz's frustration over an Ex-Im reauthorization stems from the bank's providing corporate welfare to companies who don't necessarily need the help. In April, Cruz's colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged the Senate to let the bank and its crony capitalism expire.

As for McConnell's also including a vote for the repeal of Obamacare, Cruz called it "empty showmanship."

Eating Disorder Website Makes Video Game Characters "Average Sized," Cures Bulimia, or Something

There's a great line from the film Mean Girls that I wish more people would listen to:

“And that’s when I realized making fun of Caroline Krafft wouldn’t stop her from beating me in this contest. Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

That being said, an eating disorder support website, Bulimia.com, took it upon themselves to put some meat on the bones of popular female video game characters to make them more closely resemble an average woman. (Never mind that there's nary a dadbod to be found in the likes of Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat, but I digress.)

For example, plus-sized women are a rarity in video games, and when one does show up, she’s typically unusual looking. More often it seems video games are home to ultra-slim waistlines only.

If video game creators are going to pride themselves on accurate digital representations, then it’s time for them to get real about women.

With realism in mind, we altered some of the most beloved female video game characters with Adobe Photoshop, shaping their bodies into images that represent the average American woman’s measurements. Check out the results below!

Oh, bravo. Bravo.

With the exception of Lara Croft, whose design literally came about as an error that the game engineers found humorous, and Nabooru, who, um, isn't entirely human, I know plenty of "average" women who have the body types depicted in the "before" shots of the article. I also know plenty of "average" women who look like the "after" images as well. Some women are petite with large breasts. Some women are thicker than others. Some women have thigh gaps. Others don't. These are all fine. The amount of space between a woman's thighs is not indicative of her overall health.

Furthermore, bulimia and other eating disorders are mental illnesses, and have a much, much deeper cause than breasty video game characters in games that are predominantly played by men. The women in video games aren't supposed to be average. Hell, they (literally and figuratively) kick ass. The same is also true of the male characters of video games. If video games caused eating disorders due to the portrayal of "unrealistic" body image, one would expect men between 13 and 25 would be the deepest affected due to the fact that literally nobody looks like this. It's taking the easy way out to blame Lara Croft's bra size and the video game industry as a whole for this deeply complicated issue, nor does it do anything except effectively shame slim women.

Which brings me back to Cady Heron from Mean Girls: making Cortana thicker isn't going to make a bulimic stop binging and purging, nor is it likely going to convince someone with an eating disorder to stop purging or restricting what they eat. That's not how this works. Video games aren't the problem--and it's pointless to blame them.

Granny’s Got a Gun: More Seniors Now Purchasing Firearms

If you thought the elderly's weapon of choice was their knitting needle, think again. A growing trend reveals that today’s senior citizens are taking advantage of their Second Amendment rights just as much as younger generations.

One gun store in Georgia, Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range, has seen an influx of senior citizens eager to get their hands on firearms. Sandy Springs records show a 30 percent increase among seniors buying guns, or showing up for target practice. Even more telling are statistics from Dekalb County which show that out of 1,800 gun applications, 244 were over 55 years old.

Sandy Springs owner Mike Mers, for one, is not surprised by the trend.

“They watch the news, they see crime, they like to protect themselves,” he said. “So we’re seeing an increase across all age ranges.”

Why do these seniors feel the need to pack some heat? Because of favorable concealed carry laws and, more importantly, because they’re often easy targets for intruders looking for vulnerable victims.

The increase in senior firearms purchases comes at a period when the White House has announced plans to scale back Second Amendment rights for those who need help with Social Security. Under the provision, seniors unable to handle the benefits of their own accord would be placed on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the reasoning being that those with mental illness should not be in possession of a firearm. Some argue, however, that just because a senior needs help with paperwork doesn’t disqualify them from owning a gun.

The need for self-defense transcends age. Kudos to seniors for being proactive about keeping their families and their homes safe. I’d think any criminal would think twice before messing with a grandmother who had a Glock in her closet.