Open Thread: Trump As The Frontrunner

Trump is ahead in the polls. He’s doing well. We all know this. He’s also getting some help from the media, some of whom say that it’s time to cover the billionaire business magnate as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, instead of a source of mockery (via Inside Sources):

Dave Price of Iowa’s WHO-TV; Ben Hoover, who has spent a decade covering politics in South Carolina; and Erin McPike, formerly of CNN — appeared on a “Race to 2016panel hosted by InsideSources and America’s Power. Each pushed back against the narrative advanced by much of the national press that Trump’s bombastic behavior and incendiary remarks make him an unserious candidate.

“The national media has had this all wrong,” McPike said, referencing recent polls showing the business mogul leading the race nationally as well as in early primary states. “I think they need to cover him as the frontrunner and take him seriously.”

McPike also argued that media mockery of Trump likely accrues to his benefit, and Hoover said he agreed.

“The more he’s beat up by the national press, the better he’s looking in South Carolina,” the Palmetto State reporter said. “South Carolina loves an underdog — especially an underdog getting beat up by the liberal, left-wing national press.”

So, just as our colleagues do every now and then on our sister site–Hot Air–let’s have an open thread about Mr. Trump.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver admitted that Trump is a political story, as well as entertainment. At the same time, he described the billionaire as a “the world’s greatest troll.” It really doesn’t matter if this is an underhanded compliment. Trump is dominating the news, thus don’t be shocked if you see more stories about him from various news sites. Yet, this is also how trolls prosper in the media cycle, which is why Silver says we shouldn’t feed them:

In the long run — as our experience with past trolls shows — Trump’s support will probably fade. Or at least, given his high unfavorable ratings, it will plateau, and other candidates will surpass him as the rest of the field consolidates.

It’s much harder to say what will happen to Trump’s polling in the near term, however. That’s in part because it’s hard to say exactly what was driving his support in the first place. Trump wasn’t doing especially well with tea party voters or with any other identifiable group of Republicans. My guess is that his support reflected a combination of (i) low-information voters who recognized his name and (ii) voters who share Trump’s disdain for the trappings of the political establishment and (iii) voters who were treating him as an inside joke or a protest vote, making him vaguely like an American equivalent of Beppe Grillo. None of them will necessarily be deterred from declaring their support for him because of his comments about McCain. Some of them might even be encouraged.

But what if you want Trump to go away now?


After 12 years of writing on the Internet, I’ve learned that the old adage is true. Don’t feed the troll. The only way to kill a troll like Trump is to deprive him of attention.

Over at The New York Times, Nate Cohn, noted that Trumpmentum in the press is all part of the vetting process. Cohn mentioned how Herman Cain wasn’t really considered news until he was one of the top contenders in the GOP field by the fall of 2011. Then, his 9-9-9 economic plan was criticized and the sexual harassment allegations surfaced. By November, his support was cut in half. Yet, he mentioned how polls showed that very few Republican voters were not turned off by the sexual harassment allegations. So, the good news is that Trump won’t take a dive. It’s too early for that.

Some commenters thought that Trump’s remarks about McCain would have ended them, and then new polls were released shortly thereafter showing the Donald’s unabated rise. Cohn reminded us that these polls were taken before the McCain remarks. He then circles back to Cain:

For good measure, it is not at all clear that we should expect Mr. Trump to suffer discernible losses in the near future. Take Herman Cain, who faced reports that he was accused of sexual harassment in late October 2011. These reports were surely more problematic for his candidacy than Mr. Trump’s comments about Mr. McCain, and yet the early polls conducted after the allegations did not show much evidence that they had any effect on his standing. One month later, Mr. Cain was out of the race.

If sexual harassment allegations didn’t immediately bring Mr. Cain down, there’s not much reason to think Mr. Trump’s ratings should crash either. It will take time for the effects of the scrutiny brought by Mr. Trump’s comments to take their toll. Maybe even a long time. What’s important is that the process of scrutiny, from party leaders and journalists, is now underway.

So, in all three instances, the polling shows that Trump has a longer shelf life than many are assuming, his story is political (as well as entertaining), and because of that he should be covered in the media as the frontrunner.

Hoover’s point about the media loving an underdog in South Carolina is exemplified in Newt Gingrich’s 2012 primary win, where he slammed moderator John King of CNN for bringing up allegations that he wanted an “open marriage” with his first wife. Oh, and he did pretty well in the debate too.

You already know my opinions of Mr. Trump. I’m not fond of him as a candidate, but I admit he’s entertaining. And he’s tapped into an angry electorate who are just sick of Washington and the absence of the rule of law that’s been exhibited by the Obama administration. I’ve said my piece on the matter.

Now, feel free to debate amongst yourselves. Does the Donald deserve to be treated as the frontrunner by the media, or is his surge really about the impact less educated Americans have on politics, as the Washington Post  pointed out, which probably means the press still won't take him seriously? At the same time, how does one feel about a GOP frontrunner who used to be opposed to the most basic tenets of conservatism in his past?  Should he be given a chance like Mitt Romney, or thrown into the pit? 

Either way, Trump is here to stay.

Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted on Racketeering Charges

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) was indicted on racketeering charges earlier today. He was charged with 29 charges. He is accused of, among other things, illegally using campaign contributions, bribery, and stealing charitable funds.

From CNN:

The Philadelphia Democrat, who was first elected to Congress in 1994 and served on the influential House Appropriations Committee, faces 29 charges, many stemming from his 2007 campaign for mayor.

The 85-page indictment accuses Fattah and four associates of devising a series of schemes to conceal how money was borrowed and repaid, falsifying documents in the process.

"As charged in the indictment, Congressman Fattah and his associates embarked on a wide-ranging conspiracy involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests," Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said in a statement.

Fattah has served in the House of Representatives since 1995. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007. Fattah has consistently been re-elected with large majorities.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that in light of the indictment, Fattah will be resigning from his position as Ranking Member on the House CJS Appropriations Subcommittee.

Fmr. Planned Parenthood Director: Biz Is Making $100 to $200 Off Each Fetal Body Part

Working at Planned Parenthood for eight years was more than enough for Abby Johnson, who once served as a director of the Texas Planned Parenthood clinic, to drastically change her views on abortion. She has since left the organization and become one of the most well-known and outspoken anti-abortion activists in America.

Johnson told The Christian Post that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s top abortion provider, sometimes charges between $100 to $200 a day for each fetal body part.

"Shipping only costs a clinic $4 to $10 but they are sometimes charging $100 to $200 for each baby," Johnson told The Christian Post when asked if there's a profit to be made from the harvesting of aborted baby parts. "They are charging additional fees, but in reality there are no additional fees except for minimal shipping costs," Johnson asserted. "There is definitely money to be made and that's an issue with the current law." Speaking about the legality of the practice, Johnson explained, "If there's a loophole, Planned Parenthood will blow through it."

The recent videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors negotiating fetal organ sales has caused a great stir for pro-life activists. If the selling of fetal organs is not enough to open some eyes, then this new revelation about fetal prices is enough to show Planned Parenthood only cares about revenue and not at all about the lives of women.

For Johnson, she knew she couldn’t stand the murder, and immoral sales negotiations anymore.

“The defining moment for me leaving was assisting and witnessing a live ultrasound abortion procedure and seeing a 13-week old child struggle for his life inside his mother’s womb,” Johnson recalled. “It was really shocking for me to witness that mainly because I had been told by Planned Parenthood that the fetus didn’t have any sensory development until [later].” The pro-life advocate claims she was “in a state of shock” and that she instantaneously felt betrayed. At the same time, she remembers feeling like a liar, as she, too, had told thousands of women that fetuses wouldn’t feel pain or struggle.

As Johnson understood this truth, she left and made her mission to find a solution for women.

“I looked at myself and said, ‘I’m part of the problem’ — and I had been a part of the problem for eight years,” she said.

Throwing Israel a Bone? U.S. to Release Convicted Spy

Jonathan Pollard, a man arrested in 1985 for spying on the U.S. for Israel, will be released on parole in November after 30 years in prison. Pollard had been scheduled for mandatory parole, but the U.S. government could easily have kept him in prison for longer if the Justice Department objected to his release.

This news comes only a couple of weeks after President Obama struck a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, a deal that has received near-universal criticism in Israel and is undergoing tough scrutiny on Capitol Hill this week. The timing of Pollard's release on parole has sparked some questions as to whether President Obama is trying to placate Israel, having just dealt it a serious loss in the Iran nuclear deal.

The Justice Department has denied any political motives for allowing Pollard to be released:

Mr. Pollard's status will be determined by the United States Parole Commission according to standard procedures," Alister Baskey, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said last week. "There is absolutely zero linkage between Mr. Pollard's status and foreign policy considerations."

No linkage. Of course, we wouldn't hear about it if there was. President Obama has proven extremely adept at running his Justice Department exactly how he wants, so presidential direction here wouldn't be surprising. But of course, we can't know.

Israeli citizens have protested Pollard's imprisonment for decades, and Israel leaders have regularly lobbied U.S. presidents for his release. U.S. presidents have never budged on the matter, despite their otherwise warm relationships with Israel. But Obama's presidency has been a presidency of firsts, and that's proving to be the case once again.

Pollard, who was an officer in the Naval Intelligence Command prior to his conviction, was arrested in 1985 for committing espionage against the United States. He was caught sharing intelligence files with the Israeli government.

Israel granted Pollard Israeli citizenship in 1995.

Senate Democrats Asking Gun Dealers For Help In Expanding Background Checks

Senate Democrats eager to expand background checks are reaching out directly to those vendors since their bills that chip away at Second Amendment rights was rightfully blocked in 2013. Gun dealers with a federal firearms license must conduct background checks for all gun purchases; the law requires it. Yet, Everytown and their allies in the Senate, are pushing vendors, like Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops, to voluntarily withhold transferring firearms if a background check is incomplete, which is a rare occurrence (via the Hill):

Senate Democrats are appealing directly to gun retailers in a renewed push to expand background checks in lieu of congressional action on the divisive issue.

Gun safety advocates in Congress have long called for lawmakers to close background check loopholes that allow criminals to buy guns online and at gun shows, but to little avail.

Now, they’re turning their attention to gun retailers such as Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops in hopes of convincing them to tighten their policies. They’re asking these stores to voluntarily refrain from selling guns to people who have not passed background checks.

“That’s a voluntary decision by the gun dealers,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told reporters Tuesday. “It’s a voluntary decision to enable a killer; it’s a voluntary choice to empower a murder.”


At issue are existing regulations that allow people to purchase guns at retail stores without completing a background check.

These stores must submit information about prospective gun buyers to the FBI so it can run background checks on them before the sale is made. In many cases, the background checks are instant and the sale is made on the spot. But sometimes it takes longer to complete.


This marks a change in strategy for gun safety advocates. They have long pressed for lawmakers to strengthen background checks, but amid a gridlocked Congress they are now turning their pleas to industry.

According to the FBI, this is called a delayed response, where a would-be purchaser’s information matches that of someone with a similar name and description that has a criminal record which prohibits ownership of a firearm. This is a rare occurrence. Even Everytown’s petition to Cabelas mentions it. The FBI has three days to procure additional information to either deny or approve the transaction. Yet, after three days, if no additional information is found, the transfer could legally go through with incomplete information, though the dealer isn’t required to do so. In cases where the background check is completed ending with the buyer being denied, the personnel at the National Instant Background Check System [NICS] inform the dealer. If the firearm was transferred, the ATF takes over, handling the matter as a “firearm retrieval referral.”

So, this isn’t exactly a loophole–and government still can’t tell businesses who deal in firearms to follow a law that they … already follow. If gun dealers want to do this, that's fine. But it should be their decision, not because pro-gun control groups are finding their base of support–in government and society at large– dwindling (for now).

Moreover, in general, there's no statistical evidence that waiting periods reduce gun violence. 

Democrats, Please Stop Using Emoticons on the Senate Floor

One would hope, and I dare say expect, that members of Congress conduct themselves in a manner of utmost professionalism, especially when on the Senate floor. After all, they were elected by a great number of their constituents to represent them in the capital of the world’s most powerful nation. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

In denouncing Republicans for their lack of a plan regarding climate change, Democrats took to the Senate floor with a sign that had Internet emoticons on them.

This reporting is from The Hill, not The Onion (emphasis mine):

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) spoke from the Senate floor with a sign that read "#WhatsTheGOPsClimatePlan ¯\_(?)_/¯”

Sen. Ed Markey also spoke from the Senate floor with a sign that included a sad-faced shruggie. The Massachusetts Democrat suggested that Republicans didn't have a plan to combat climate change, adding that "shruggie says 'I'm not happy. I'm sad.' "

It's not the first time Democrats have used the internet emoticon to help them sum up their critiques of Republican policies. Earlier this year, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) used the symbol during a speech suggesting that Republicans didn't have a plan if the Supreme Court struck down subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats can disagree, debate, and slam Republicans all they want—on anything. But can we please move past the childish antics and debate serious issues like grownups? Or is that asking too much?

Planned Parenthood Begs Media: Stop Covering Our Scandal

Planned Parenthood is in real trouble. Three shocking videos released over recent days -- with more on the way, apparently -- have shown officials at the abortion giant haggling over the price of aborted baby organs. It's ghastly, gruesome stuff, replete with one representative describing how she alters her late term abortion procedures to "crush" the baby in specific areas as to preserve sought-after and lucrative body parts.  Another laughs that higher prices could help her buy "a Lamborghini." The abortion lobby argues that fetuses are not human beings worthy of legal protection, while selling the intact human organs of the "non-people" they kill. Besieged by negative headlines and a horrified public, Planned Parenthood has hired a crisis PR firm, which is attempting to mitigate the damage via the application of heavy pressure on media outlets (many of which are dominated by abortion supporters) to to ignore or soft-pedal the story:

How bad is the baby organ trafficking story for Planned Parenthood? So bad that the nation’s largest abortion provider has hired a pricey PR firm to bully media outlets into not covering the scandal. According to Politico, Planned Parenthood hired Democratic megafirm SKDKnickerbocker to handle its public relations effort surrounding the widening organ trafficking scandal. In a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, multiple top Planned Parenthood executives are captured haggling over the prices of aborted baby body parts and discussing ways to maximize money earned through the harvesting and sale of human organs. Unsurprisingly, preventing coverage of the videos is apparently key to Planned Parenthood’s survival strategy: "The group circulated a memo to reporters and producers late Monday that discouraged them from airing the undercover videos, arguing that they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy."

Whose privacy are they protecting, exactly? Not the women who underwent abortions, who aren't identified at all in the videos. Surely they're not referring to the late-term fetuses they dismember and sell as "patients," are they?  Senate Republicans have fast-tracked a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars.  Such a development is long overdue, though President Obama is sure to veto any measure that would harm his radical allies and donors.  Nevertheless, this legislation is necessary, and having a female Senator -- Joni Ernst -- as the lead sponsor of the bill is a savvy move.  So is this provision:

GOP senators unveiled a bill Tuesday evening prohibiting federal aid to Planned Parenthood and directing that the money instead be directed to "other eligible entities to provide women's health care services." Aides said an initial vote on the measure, sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was likely early next week. The bill cites state and local health departments, federally backed community health centers and other providers of health services to women who might get the money. Republicans were hoping that might encourage Democrats to pull funds away from Planned Parenthood, which even some abortion-rights Democrats have avoided defending since the videos were released. Citing the "horrendous videos," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a co-sponsor, said, "This legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars for women's health are actually spent on women's health — not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant."

So the legislation would not cut one cent from women's health funding. It would redirect taxpayer dollars away from what McConnell aptly terms "a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant."  Senate Democrats are predictably lining up to oppose the bill, led by the contemptible Harry Reid, who has cast himself as "pro-life" in the past:

"Good luck," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the uphill Republican drive to garner the 60 of 100 Senate votes they will need to cut off Planned Parenthood's money. "We're dealing with the health of American women, and they're dealing with some right-wing crazy."

Stripping federal funding from a late-term abortion racket that sells body parts for cash is "right-wing crazy," according to the Democratic leader.  Another "pro-life" Democrat, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, has said he'd oppose Republicans' defunding effort, repeating the abortion lobby's talking points conflating abortion with women's health services.  Nevertheless, a number of Democrats are distancing themselves from Planned Parenthood.  West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin signed a letter along with 49 Republican Senators expressing concerns over the "deeply disturbing" practices depicted in the undercover videos.  Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine called the videos' contents "extremely troubling," and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly has come out in support of an investigation into Planned Parenthood, calling the videos "disgraceful and disturbing."  Even Hillary Clinton, casting about for ways to defend the embattled abortion titan, suggested that all abortion clinics' practices regarding the selling of fetal body parts ought to be investigated.  For its part, Planned Parenthood is refusing to participate in an investigatory hearing held in the Texas legislature, instead deploying its spinning-like-a-top president all over the press to insist that they've done nothing illegal.  Will she repeat her assertions under oath? What ugliness or contradictory evidence may lurk in the yet-unreleased videos?

Latest: Infamous Lion-Killer Gave Mitt Romney Money

Slow news week?

A cursory glance at the responses to that tweet shows just how annoyed people are that an established, beltway newspaper is making mountains out of molehills. Honestly, who the hell cares? Not only is the story silly on its face for obvious reasons, but the fact is Mitt Romney is retired. There is zero chance he’s running for president in 2016. And even if he was, the story would still be equally as irrelevant.

It’s an interesting fact, I guess, that a lion killer also happens to be a Romney supporter. But what is the actual point of the story? Is it to provide information about the most hated man in the media right now -- or to take an indirect swipe at recently-retired and out-of-the-limelight Republican pol? I just don't get it.

By the way...yikes.

Hillary Admits the Planned Parenthood Videos are 'Disturbing'

It's taken three damning and graphic videos for the leading Democratic presidential contender to admit that Planned Parenthood may not be as innocent as they want Americans to believe.

Hillary Clinton is a pro-abortion politician who just last year was honored with Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Award for her "commitment to women's health care." Because of her cozy relationship with the organization, she defended it in the initial wake of the Center for Medical Progress' undercover investigation that revealed top doctors were negotiating the sale of fetal body parts. The footage was so unnerving that Congress has even introduced bills to defund Planned Parenthood. Despite the first shocking videos, however, Clinton said the pro-life group behind the investigation was waging a "concerted attack" on Planned Parenthood and defended their other "important services."

Here's a quick recap of the CMP's investigation and Clinton's reactions: The first released video showed an abortionist bragging about the possible sale of fetal body parts during lunch - silence from Clinton. The second showed a Planned Parenthood doctor joking about using money from the sale of fetal body parts to buy a Lamborghini - Clinton tries to defend the organization. The third was much more graphic in nature, including actual footage of abortionists sifting through aborted babies' limbs after an abortion. 

That proved too much even for Hillary to defend. In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader Tuesday, she admitted the videos contained some stomach-turning footage.

“I have seen pictures from them and obviously find them disturbing."

Was it sincere? Hard to tell. Perhaps she has realized that, as more of these videos surface, fewer and fewer Americans, especially women, are willing to stand with the pro-abortion organization. Across the country Tuesday, pro-life rallies were largely comprised of young women and mothers tired of being tricked into believing Planned Parenthood stands for women's health.

The RNC, for one, is not impressed with Clinton's delayed concern:

"It should not have taken a third video showcasing Planned Parenthood’s barbaric side business of selling fetal body parts for Hillary Clinton to change her tune. Instead of condemning these horrific revelations, Hillary Clinton has stood by Planned Parenthood despite weeks of unsettling headlines. Rather than lead, Hillary Clinton has once again shown herself to be someone who will do or say anything to get elected. Perhaps that’s also why she has yet to spell out what limits, if any, she supports on abortion."

As for female Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, she couldn't be clearer as to what she thinks about Planned Parenthood.

Do Conservatives Need a “Heart”? (Author Interview: Arthur Brooks, AEI President)

CBC sat down with Dr. Arthur Brooks, author of The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America. He is currently President of the esteemed, conservative American Enterprise Institute, former professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs – the US News & World Report’s top-ranked public affairs school in the country, and a former professional french horn player!

Congratulations Dr. Brooks on your new book,The Conservative Heart! Can you give us an overview of your book, and what was your inspiration in writing it?

The guiding inspiration for The Conservative Heart was my own personal story of how I became a conservative. I was raised in a liberal family in Seattle, and only became a conservative later in life for one reason: I care deeply about poverty and want to help people escape it.

In my late twenties, when I was finally finishing up my B.A., I fell in love with economics. And in particular, I was captivated by the fact that traditionally “conservative” values like free enterprise, globalization, free trade, and American leadership overseas had helped billions of people around the world pull themselves out of poverty. That’s why I’m a conservative today.

But here at home, there’s a bit of a political paradox at work. Even though we conservatives are in possession of the best solutions for poverty and the best ideas for expanding access to meaningful work, we are the least trusted by citizens to fight for poor and vulnerable people. We’ve failed at communicating what is really written on our hearts. That has to change. That’s why I wrote this book.

What three takeaways would you like readers to leave with after reading your book?

First, conservatives need to stop “fighting against things” and start fighting for people. Our cause has come to be defined by the bad policies we oppose. We fight against Obamacare, we fight against tax increases, we fight against runaway spending. But merely opposing bad ideas will never be enough to transform our protest movement into a social movement and reclaim the moral high ground. We need to get beyond the specifics of particular policy fights and remember—and remind the American people—that conservatives are fighting to help them pursue their own happiness.

Second, our society and our policies must treat every single person as an asset to develop, not a liability to manage. Often, our political rhetoric tragically reduces struggling people to mere liabilities to be managed at minimal cost. On the left, this manifests itself in a view that the poor should be left to the dependence of the welfare state; on the right, it sometimes appears in claims that the poor are simply “lazy” or refuse to work. The conservative heart at its core believes that people have equal, God-given worth and dignity—and should be cultivated like the invaluable assets they are.

Third, true leaders stand up for the people who need them, not just the people who support them. You’ll sometimes hear some conservatives ask: “Why should we work hard to support the poor? They’ll never vote for us anyways!” I respond with two points. First, history’s real patriots fight for everyone who needs them, not just those who agree with them. But secondarily, doing the right thing has a political payoff. Americans want leaders who embody compassion and empathy in addition to strong, moral leadership.

I assume your idea for the title of your book was loosely taken from Russell Kirk’s seminal The Conservative Mindan early leader of conservative Traditionalism. Do you believe there is an untenable divide between the economic and social conservatives, or do you believe there is an opportunity to reinvigorate conservative fusion in the upcoming 2016 election?

Fusionism is successful when all three pillars of the mainstream conservative agenda—free enterprise, traditional moral values, and American strength around the world—are all motivated by one core ethical principle: fighting for people with less power than us.

Fiscal conservatism will fall short if it is perceived as an outgrowth of greed. Social conservatism can’t succeed if traditional values are perceived as a tool used for excluding others. And a conservative foreign policy won’t succeed if it is rooted in fear. But when all three pillars are based in aspiration, in real hope for what human beings can accomplish when they are safe from tyranny, held to high moral standards, and free to earn their own success in a prosperous economy—that’s how conservative fusionism wins.

In your previous life, you were a public administration professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs before becoming President of the American Enterprise Institute. From your experience, what is your assessment of university education, in regards to its utility and the current politically correct nature on campuses?

The United States has the best universities in the world. But the single greatest weakness of American higher-ed is its lack of genuine intellectual diversity. So many campuses are effectively ideological monocultures, and “political diversity” means that some professors support President Obama and others think he isn’t liberal enough.

The answer is not for conservatives to withdraw and rail against academia from outside it, but to re-engage. We need more smart conservatives to become college professors, and we need conservative students to dive into campus life, both in political groups and through acts of charity, pairing real brotherly love with the courage of their convictions.

Tell us a little more about yourself!

Favorite Movie:

Impossible to pick just one. One recent favorite is the George Clooney film Up in the Air.

Favorite TV Show:

NFL football. Specifically the Seattle Seahawks.

Favorite Food:

My favorite real food is probably Spanish lentils. But I have a huge sweet tooth, so I’ll eat almost any sweets that are put in front of me. (My dentist loves me.)

Favorite Drink:

Black coffee.

Favorite Band:

I’m a huge classical music junkie, being a former professional French horn player. Two of my favorite composers are J.S. Bach and Anton Bruckner. Both made beautiful music based on a deep sense of moral purpose.

Where do you get your news from primarily?

I keep it simple: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and “AEI Today,” our daily newsletter on policy and politics.

If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

St. Thomas Aquinas.

What do you do for fun?

Family activities are the best. I love hunting, fishing, riding horses, and going to concerts with my kids, and watching their gymnastics meets and bike races.

What books, authors, or conservative-themed books, influenced your political philosophy and outlook on life?

Thinking about political philosophy, I’d say The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith, The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek, and The Moral Sense by my mentor James Q. Wilson.

In a broader sense, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis are among the books that’ve had a tremendous influence on my life.

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Israel: U.S. Officials Are Withholding Major Parts And Details Of Iran Deal From Us

As the Obama administration desperately tries to sell the Iran deal to a skeptical Senate, including Democrats, U.S. officials are being accused of withholding details of the deal from Israel. More from Israeli newspaper Haaretz (bolding is mine): 

Israel is missing entire parts of the nuclear agreement, which makes assessing its consequences impossible, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen tells Knesset panel.

The United States and other world powers haven't provided Israel with the details of the Iran nuclear deal, and especially the secret addendums concerning the agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, a top Israeli security official told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"Israel has yet to receive the addendums to Iran's agreement with the powers, despite promises," National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen told MKs at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Cohen stated that Israel is missing entire parts of the nuclear agreement, which makes assessing its consequences impossible. "We don't have the whole picture," Cohen said, according to two sources that were in attendance.

Cohen noted that Israel was still actively trying to thwart the agreement or at least trying to have some critical changes made to it.

The information Israel is being denied has to do with Iran's agreement with the IAEA concerning possible military aspects of Teheran's nuclear program. This agreement has to do with IAEA inspections in the suspicious military base in Parchin, where Iran is said to have been trying components of a nuclear bomb.

Based on the information above, it seems information is being withheld from the Israelies in order to prevent them from bombing Iranian nuclear sites. Considering Iranian officials have openly stated they want to annihilate all of the Jews, which they claim will be easy to do (with a nuclear weapon) because the majority are located in Israel, the Israeli's are more than entitled to know about every detail of the (a deal considered by most as a very bad one). 

Israel, of course, has been against negotiations with the Iranian regime since talks with the White House began last year. When a deal was announced by President Obama earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "stunning, historic mistake." When Netanyahu visited the U.S. in March, he said Israel will stand, even if it is alone, during an address to a joint session of Congress.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry and other Obama administration officials have been on Capitol Hill this week trying to sell the deal to Congress. Vice President Joe Biden was there doing the same two weeks go.

Hillary On Keystone Pipeline: I’ll Let You Know My Position When I Become President

It’s that time again! Where does Mrs. Clinton stand on the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline? That’s what one voter wanted to know at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, where the former first lady said she did lay the groundwork for “that process,” and added that she doesn’t want to “second guess” President Obama since this is his decision. She ended her non-answer by telling the voter, “if it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”

I guess I can understand why Hillary is prevaricating on this issue. She doesn't want to rock the boat, especially since her numbers with the Obama coalition aren't that good.  First, her base isn’t too thrilled by the pipeline, and the environmental left want a definite answer sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, Politico reported in April, that major environmental groups were prepared to go soft on her on Keystone since they’re looking at the totality of her environmental record. That’s not really flying with the tree huggers in the grassroots, which is something Team Hillary should keep in mind since there’s some history here. 

The article also mentioned how Al Gore refused to comment on an airport project in the Everglades back in 2000 until the Clinton administration finished its review. They eventually rejected the idea, but the refusal to give a “yes” or “no” answer infuriated foot soldiers of mother Earth, who flocked to Ralph Nader. Nader got 90,000 of their votes, and Bush won Florida*.

Yet, for now, Clinton continues to play to dodge, dip, duck, dive, and … dodge with Keystone.

*If Gore didn't go so heavy on gun control in 2000, he could have won Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia and the presidency. Even with bush winning Florida, Gore would have won. Oh, and Hillary is (shocker) also on the wrong side of gun control, but you already knew that.

Iran: How About We Supply Our Own Soil Samples From That Alleged Nuclear Site?

Given the long list of mind-boggling Obama administration capitulations to Iran, why not see the farce all the way through? Seems legit:

Iran wants its own officials to take soil samples at a site where it is alleged to have experimented with ways to detonate a nuclear weapon, and the U.N. agency probing the suspicions may agree provided it is allowed to monitor the process, two officials told The Associated Press Tuesday. The investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency is part of the overarching nuclear deal reached earlier this month between Iran and six world powers. Iran denies any such work but has agreed to give the IAEA access to the Parchin military complex. Several U.S. senators cited Obama administration officials last week as saying Iran could conduct its own soil sampling at Parchin. The officials who spoke to the AP said a final agreement has not yet been reached between Iran and the IAEA. The officials said stringent oversight of the soil-sampling could include video monitoring. They did not say what reasons Iran gave for wanting to take its own samples. The samples would be analyzed by the agency for traces left by any nuclear experiments. David Albright, whose Institute for Science and International Security is often consulted by the U.S. government on proliferation issues, said the IAEA "could instruct Iran in where and how to take the sample, as they would an inspector. They could try to keep a close watch on how Iran follows the instructions." At the same time, "the IAEA could not exclude Iran tampering with the sample in some way," he said. Iran has refused to give IAEA experts access to people, documents and sites allegedly linked to the suspected weapons work for nearly a decade.

It's come to this, already:  Iran is inspecting itself.  These so-called inspections may entail "video monitoring" and cannot rule out Tehran tampering with its self-supplied samples.  Team Smart Power pronounces themselves baffled as to why Iran might prefer to gather and submit their own samples.  Perhaps the regime's motives here are similar to its reasoning behind insisting on 24-day adjudication processes prior to "snap" inspections, refusing to allow inspections of military sites, and habitually cheating on international obligations pertaining to their rogue nuclear and other weapons programs.  They cannot be trusted.  Nevertheless, President Obama claims that '99 percent of the world' supports the deal, which is ludicrous.  For starters, two recent polls show that most Americans oppose the agreement, as do the vast majority of Israelis.  Then there are the Arab states, who loathe the accord, worry about Iran's American-aided ascendance, and are now considering pursuing nuclear weapons of their own.  The latest salvo on this front:

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday accused Iran of making threats against Riyadh's ally, Bahrain, which he said showed that the Islamic republic was harboring hostile designs against its Middle Eastern neighbors. Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Jubeir said Saudi Arabia had raised the issue with her. He said the comments showed that Tehran was intervening in its neighbors' internal affairs. "It does not represent the desire of a state for good neighborly relations but that of a state which has aspirations in the region and which carried out hostile act like this," he added. Jubeir did not clarify who made the comments or when, but he said they could be linked to the terms of the agreement with world powers on its nuclear program or to setbacks suffered by Iran's Houthi allies in Yemen and President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria. "I don't know, but we reject their comments and reject the hostility they show towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the countries of the region," he said. Bahrain on Saturday said it had foiled an arms smuggling plot by two Bahrainis with ties to Iran and recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations after what it said were repeated hostile Iranian statements.

Iran is a deeply destabilizing force in the region, and will soon be flush with sanctions relief cash to fund the regime's meddling and terrorism. Remember, this agreement is silent on Iran's international treachery, unsurpassed material support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. They are not required to clean up their act one iota on any of these matters. In fact, they've been guaranteed many billions in new resources to escalate their bad behavior, as well as granted fresh leeway to pursue banned arms and develop new weapons systems. Moreover, key regime figures have stated unequivocally that Iran use its newfound windfall however it sees fit, including in furtherance of its malignant global agenda. Iran has declared victory because Iran has won.  Congress is expected to vote against the deal in the coming weeks, with broad-based and bipartisan opposition.  But it appears as though the administration has enough ideological allies and disciplined partisans within the Democratic caucus as to stave off a veto override vote, thus paving the way for the agreement to be implemented over the will of Congress.  But what if an override vote succeeded?  Would the Obama administration abide by that super-majority's decision?  John Kerry won't answer that "hypothetical" question, posed by a Congressional Democrat:

“Will you follow the law even though you think it violates this agreement clearly and even if you think it’s absolutely terrible policy?” Sherman asked.

“I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the president and determining what the circumstances are,” Kerry responded.

“So you’re not committed to following the law?” the Democrat said.

“No, I said I’m not going to deal with a hypothetical, that’s all,” Kerry shot back.

Also, what are the terms of the secret side deal Iran has reportedly struck with the IAEA? Kerry has no idea. Smart power. Just trust them.

One Dead After Another Attack on UK Border

The Channel Tunnel is in chaos again today after another major attack by illegal immigrants desperate to get into the UK. Last night's incursion into the terminal in Northern France involved 1500 illegal immigrants, one of whom was killed in the ensuing struggle.

African migrants are being allowed to cross Europe unchecked and are only stopped by the UK Border Agency. They can make a journey because of the European Union's Schengen Agreement, that has abolished border controls in most countries across Europe.

The man who died is believed to be Sudanese aged between 25 and 40, he is thought to have been crushed by a lorry. He is not the first person to be killed trying to enter the UK, but the exact figures of fatalities are unclear as the French do not properly record the deaths.

Over the past few days the border position has come under increasing pressure, and has had to be closed completely on a number of occasions. The situation is so desperate the UK's M20 motorway has been closed in sections so it can be used as a temporary park for all the lorries left stranded by the closures.

On the French side the British authorities have agreed to build a secure zone for lorries to park, so drivers and their loads are not attacked while they wait to get onto either the Channel Tunnel train or the ferries.

Send In The Army…

UKIP Leader, Nigel Farage, told LBC radio Britain needed to pile in whatever resources it has to quell the migrant flood. When he was asked if this included the potential to send in the army to secure the border he said the should “absolutely” be considered.

Speaking to John Stapleton on the John Stapleton show, Farage said: "There needs to be a bigger, stronger message coming from Britain that anyone that comes through this route will not be allowed stay.” He continued: "This situation is serious… There are no easy answers...what we have to send is a message to say this can't happen."

There are believed to be around 5000 Africans in Calais waiting to get to the UK. Many live in a shanty town called 'The Jungle' which has become rife with lice and scabies, due to non-existent sanitation.

The French are pressuring the UK to take the migrants or move the border onto the UK mainland. The British government is highly unlikely to do either. It is unhappy French Police simply release anyone caught trying to enter the UK, meaning the migrants try every night until they get through.

Good News: All Major Candidates Are Eligible For August 6 Debates

There will be two GOP candidate forums (sponsored by Fox News) on August 6 in Cleveland, OH. The main event will feature candidates polling in first-through-tenth place over a series of five newly-released national surveys. Earlier in the day, however, the network will also host a debate for candidates…not doing as well. Previously, Fox said only candidates polling one percent or higher would merit an invitation.

Now, however, Politico reports the network has lowered the bar:

Fox News is opening its 5 p.m. debate to all the announced Republican candidates who fail to make the cut for the Aug. 6 prime-time event, removing a requirement that participants reach at least 1 percent in polling.

The change amounts to an insurance policy for candidates who were in danger of being disqualified from the vital first debate based on low polls – Carly Fiorina, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The announcement by Michael Clemente, Fox News Executive Vice President, News, means that all 16 announced candidates will qualify for Cleveland — either the 5 p.m. undercard, or the 9 p.m. main event.

Probably for the best, honestly. Changing the rules (a) appeases the partisans of these low-polling candidates and (b) gives everyone a chance to either sink or swim in the national spotlight. It’s more fair and competitive. What’s not to like?

Then again, if there are no requirements anymore for who qualifies, does that mean anyone can participate? Ah, not quite:

“Due to the overwhelming interest in the FOX News Facebook Debate Event Night on August 6th and in a concerted effort to include and accommodate the now 16 Republican candidate field — the largest in modern political history — FOX News is expanding participation in the 5 PM/ET debate to all declared candidates whose names are consistently being offered to respondents in major national polls, as recognized by Fox News,” said Clemente in a statement.

In other words, if you’re not famous enough to appear in a national poll, you’re not getting in. Thank goodness.

Senate To Vote on Defunding Planned Parenthood

Newly minted Republican Senator Joni Ernst introduced legislation late yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood after a series of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress revealed the abortion giant selling baby parts and haggling over prices. (In case you missed the videos, Cortney has you covered here). The legislation is co-sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul and five other Republicans. 

"A bill to prohibit Federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America," the legislation states. "IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be made available to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, or to any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics."

The legislation is set for a vote early next week ahead of the August recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the legislation Tuesday night using Rule 14 of Senate procedure, setting up a procedural cloture vote to move the bill to the floor as early as Monday. That all but assures the bill will get a final vote before Senators depart for August recess.  

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood and other abortion supporters are scrambling to defend themselves after the undercover sting. The pro-abortion political outfit EMILY's List sent a frantic fundraising email early this morning warning about the legislation.

Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million per year in taxpayer funding. The organization receives enough money from donations every year to survive without it.

Terror Concerns: Obama Administration Extends Protected Status Deadline For New Somali Refugees

The Obama administration, through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has extended the period in which new Somalian refugees can apply for protected status. So far in 2015, the USCIS has admitted an additional 6200 refugees from Somalia into the United States, the most of any other African country. These refugees, like the ones before them, are eligible for government welfare benefits under current policy. Since 2010, more than 25,000 Somali refugees have been relocated in the U.S. 

"Friday, July 31, 2015, is the deadline for current Somalia Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries to re-register for the 18-month extension of TPS that runs from Sept. 18, 2015, through March 17, 2017," an email from USCIS states. "Eligible Somalia TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the registration period and request employment authorization will receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with an expiration date of March 17, 2017."

In recent years the U.S. has had serious concerns and problems with terrorism recruitment inside the Somali-American community. Particularly, these problems are occurring in Minnesota, where many Somali refugees have settled. Earlier this year, six Somali-Americans were arrested for providing support to ISIS. Four of them were convicted. 

A 10-month investigation has led to arrests in what some have called the largest confirmed case of Islamic State recruiting in the United States. Federal prosecutors say six young Somali Americans arrested Sunday in Minneapolis and San Diego were attempting to travel to Syria to fight with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

But while the recruitment efforts of extremists may have been thwarted this time, government officials say that more work is needed to ensure that Muslim youth are not radicalized. So far, a few dozen Americans have traveled, or attempted to travel, to Syria to join the Islamic State. The single-largest cohort has been Somali-Americans from Minnesota, according to The New York Times.

“To be clear, we have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota. I urge anyone who is concerned about their young son or brother to reach out,” Andy Luger, US attorney in Minnesota, said during a press conference on Monday.

Finally, because the United States doesn't have  treaty with Somalia (a failed State), refugees cannot be sent back to the country even after crimes or acts of terror are committed.

Baltimore Emails Show 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.