The Verdict: Killing Cecil Was Legal

To those of you who were foaming at the mouth in rage over Walter Palmer killing some dumb lion, the debate is over. Walter Palmer, who killed poor, poor Cecil, isn’t a murderer. He was hunting; an activity that millions of Americans partake in every day. The only exception is that he was in Africa, which is awesome, hunting lions, which is even more awesome. And he did so with a bow-and-arrow, which is pretty hardcore. Oh, and this was all perfectly legal:

Zimbabwe will not charge American dentist Walter Palmer for killing its most prized lion in July because he had obtained legal authority to conduct the hunt, a Cabinet minister said on Monday, angering conservationists.

Palmer, a lifelong big-game hunter from Minnesota, touched off a global controversy when he killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion, with a bow and arrow outside Hwange National Park in Western Zimbabwe.

Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said on Monday that Palmer's hunting papers were in order, and therefore he could not be charged.

"We approached the police and then the prosecutor general, and it turned out that Palmer came to Zimbabwe because all the papers were in order," Muchinguri-Kashiri told reporters.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said Palmer would be free to visit Zimbabwe as a tourist in the future but not as a hunter. The implication was that Palmer would not be issued the permits a hunter needs.

The environment minister's comments immediately drew the ire of the animal conservation group Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, which maintained that Palmer had committed a crime and said it planned to pursue legal action against him in the United States.>

Palmer forked over about $50,000 to take down Cecil. In September, Palmer returned to his dental practice under police escort, as protestors shouted “murderer!” when he approached his office.

“I’m a health professional. I need to get back to treating my patients. My staff and my patients support me, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back,” he said.

What’s so ironic about this whole fiasco is that no one really cared about Cecil in Zimbabwe–and the natives were pretty much unaware of his existence until some animal lovers started to raise a social media army to go after Palmer for straight-up owning Cecil. With a country embroiled in socioeconomic troubles, a dead lion is met with merely a shrug, as Florida Rumidzai Mapeto wrote in IJ Review last summer. While she did say that the death of Cecil was sad, people who are enraged by this incident need to get a grip:

…whilst I find nature attractive and beautiful, and I love wild animals, I honestly have much bigger problems than the illegal shooting of a wild cat. I am not trying to be insensitive, it is just me, it just our culture. I was brought up in a society which respects the sanctity of human life and human dignities. I was taught, and I know it is very un-African to feed my dog when just outside my front gate a fellow country man starves. I can never elevate the life of an animal above that of a human being, and I can with all authority say the same for most if not all Zimbabweans.


As we speak, Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate nearing a staggering 93 percent. The bulk of the population survive on inner city informal vending of cheap imported second hand goods. Both of which have now been banned, rendering the livelihoods of over seven million redundant and illegal. Now how do you tell someone who just got retrenched from their job with no benefits that the world is outraged over a dead lion?

So you see, whilst I worry about what will happen to Cecil’s seven cubs and what they will eat, or if they will survive in the jungle, I worry more about the fate of the seven million black Zimbabweans and their offspring. Theirs is truly a desperate situation. Trapped, hungry, and with all avenues to survival blocked. They face a real possibility of unforgiving death.


The Tsonga people of these communities, despite living in Cecil’s backyard also knew nothing about him, and to make matters worse, these are probably the most under-developed towns in the entire country. To claim that these people, surviving on subsistence farming relied on Cecil for a living is to mock their struggle for development and self-actualisation. It is frankly offensive, presumptuous and misinformed.


Allow me to categorically state that, Cecil matters, he does, but we really didn’t know him and would not choose a lion over the Zimbabwean lives facing bleak events. In a nutshell, requiring us to be sympathetic over this issue is like asking a woman who has had no groceries in her kitchen for a year to worry and get mad over a missing plate or spoon. I rest my case.

Cecil is dead. Gone. Poof! Into the wind, and he’s not ever coming back. In other news, the Islamic State might have come into possession of American-made missiles, which is an actual news story. So, instead of all of us worrying about some dumb lion getting completely owned by a bow and arrow, let’s focus on other pressing issues.

Democrats Are Starting To Line Up Against Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) is facing some opposition from his own party in Kentucky and Missouri. The ambitious green energy plan aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s a regulatory nightmare that will hurt millions of Americans, especially those in rural areas and living on fixed-incomes. It will impact Americans’ electrical costs, and possibly gut millions of jobs within the black and Hispanic communities. Also, states that didn’t vote for Obama in 2012 are disproportionately impacted. In Missouri, the Clean Power Plan was projected to cost the state $6 billion by 2030, which is why Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster has planned to join other states suing to block these regulations

The state’s utilities, including Ameren Missouri, had urged Koster to join the states — most of them Republican-led — fighting the rules. Koster, the only Democrat running for governor in Missouri, has sued the EPA over other recent regulations, including the controversial “Waters of the U.S.” rule strongly opposed by large agricultural interests.

Koster made the announcement Friday in a speech at a meeting of rural electric cooperative members in Branson. He argued that the state’s businesses rely on lower-cost energy and costs would rise under the EPA’s rules, which would shift Missouri’s heavy reliance on coal power to renewables and natural gas.

“The EPA’s Clean Power rule effectively eliminates Missouri’s competitive advantage as a low energy-cost state,” Koster said according to a transcript of his speech released Friday.

In Kentucky, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Jack Conway remains pro-coal. In his 2010 senate bid ended in defeat to incumbent Republican Sen. Rand Paul, but both men ran in support of mountaintop coal mining. He even has his pro-coal record on his campaign website. This year, he signed a letter, with other state attorneys general, to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy noting that the new ozone regulations are set at an “unachievable” level for his state.

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving states until September of 2016 to draft strategies to curb their emissions based on CPP’s goals. Some states have sued to delay the deadline, though, in September, the D.C. Court of Appeals rejected the petition. Nevertheless, relating to blocking the EPA’s increased power, Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently blocked the latest regulation that would have bright more waterways under federal control.

Regardless, Conway and Koster’s opposition to EPA regulations point to two things 1) this isn’t a partisan fight; Republicans have allies across the aisle on this one 2) the Obama administration and the EPA are pushing bad policies that will hurt ordinary Americans.

So far, this issue hasn’t received much attention in the 2016 cycle, with the exception of Carly Fiorina mentioning it in passing at the first Republican debate. Nevertheless, a full reversal of these abysmal policies hinges on electing a Republican president next year.

ICYMI: Kelsey Grammer is Proudly Pro-life

Frasier, AKA Kelsey Grammer, shocked the social media world last week by posting a picture of himself in a shirt that most people in Hollywood would never dare to be seen wearing. Take a look for yourself:

Thank you for the tee! @abort73

A photo posted by Kayte and Kelsey Grammer (@kayte_kelsey) on

The message on Grammer's shirt clearly suggests that Americans are more concerned with gun control than protecting the unborn. He received the apparel from, a pro-life website that is dedicated to exposing the injustices of abortion.

Wearing the shirt so proudly may prevent him from getting invited to some Hollywood parties, but the "Cheers" actor doesn't seem to care.

This isn't the first time Grammer has proved to be a warrior for the unborn. This past July he made a surprise visit to the National Right to Life convention in New Orleans.

DNC Officer Disinvited After Calling for More Debates

Despite pressure from the Democratic Party and some very outspoken critics like Gov. Martin O’Malley, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz refused to budge on the limited number of presidential debates, presumably to help Hillary Clinton.

Now it seems those within the DNC’s inner circle who dared to disagree with Wasserman Schultz’s decision to keep the count firmly at six got the boot from the first debate.

“When I first came to Washington, one of the things that I was disappointed about was there’s a lot of immaturity and petty gamesmanship that goes on, and it kind of reminds me of how high school teenagers act,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, vice chairwoman of the DNC, told The New York Times.

“It’s very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them,” Gabbard said. “When I signed up to be vice chair of the D.N.C., no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door.”

Gabbard and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a fellow DNC vice-chair, have for weeks called on the DNC to hold more than the six scheduled debates. She reiterated that message last week.

An unidentified person close to the committee insisted to the Times that Gabbard was not disinvited but that an aide to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) wanted to focus on the candidates in the debate and not a "distraction."

"The focus of the debate in Nevada as well as the other debates and forums in the coming weeks should be on the candidates who will take the stage, and their vision to move America forward," a DNC spokesperson said in a statement sent to The Hill.

"All that was asked of Ms. Gabbard’s staff was to prioritize our candidates and this important opportunity they have to introduce themselves to the American people," the spokesperson added, saying the Democratic Party embraces a diversity of opinions from members.

The first Democratic debate will take place Tuesday night and include Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chaffee, and Jim Webb.

Gabbard told the Times she will end up watching the debate in her district. 

Austin Professor: Campus Carry Will Lead to ‘Better Grades’ Because No Teacher Wants to Get Shot

University of Texas at Austin professor Daniel Hamermesh has some interesting concerns about Texas’ new campus carry law, passed in June. The economics professor is leaving his post at the college next fall as the policy goes into effect because he thinks concealed carry will only put firearms in the hands of students wanting to seek revenge for poor grades.

“Occasionally a student comes into my office disgruntled about a grade or something,” he said. “The worst they’re going to do is throw a wastebasket around with a concealed gun in their pocket they could have a brake and pull out and shoot at me. I don’t want to take that risk.”

I had a hard time finding a realistic example of this scenario on Google, but Hamermesh was insistent.

“It would lead to much higher grades for students, because who wants to give a student a bad grade if you’re afraid they might shoot at you?”

The professor dismissed the argument that allowing students to arm themselves would help to stop a gunman before he or she goes on a mass shooting spree, saying he doesn’t want to turn his classroom into the Wild Wild West.

“I know I would be the victim,” he said.

Does this not sound a bit selfish? Instead of being so frightened of his students, perhaps Hamermesh should take into account that they are the ones who could be victims should they have no way to defend themselves against an intruder.

He concluded that the policy will scare faculty from joining the ranks, yet failed to take into account the other demographic concealed carry laws could keep at bay: criminals. Campus carry is, after all, more intimidating than those gun-free zone signs.

In other news, students unhappy with the law will be using provocative measures to be protest the policy come next August.

Humiliation: Iran Test Fires Long-Range Missile, Possibly Violating Nuclear Deal

The Iranian regime's sham conviction of an American journalist today -- reportedly a maneuver designed to help precipitate a prisoner exchange -- comes on the heels of yet another egregious provocation. The New York Times reports:

Iran tested a new guided long-range ballistic missile on Sunday, hours before Parliament, in a rowdy session, approved the generalities of the nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and world powers, the state news agency IRNA reported. The missile launch may have violated the terms of the agreement, reached in Vienna with six world powers. According to some readings of the deal, it placed restrictions on Iran’s ambitious missile program. Experts have been debating the interpretation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, adopted a few days after the accord was agreed upon, that bars Iran from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads.”

Who's to say, really?  After all, our Secretary of State already handed out a preemptive hall pass to Tehran, signaling that the regime could violate certain elements of the deal without nullifying the entire agreement. The pact supposedly maintained restrictions on Iran's rogue ballistic program for a number of years (phasing them out at all was a shocking concession), a timetable the regime appears to be aggressively ignoring.  These advanced missiles are said to have a range of 800 miles; this further endangers Israel, whose leader's strenuous opposition to Obama's deal has been cast as racist by Susan Rice. Another sad detail of the Times story:

Also on Sunday, members of Parliament voted in favor of a bill approving the generalities of the nuclear agreement, but they had been denied information on its details. State television broadcast the session using only audio and archived images of Parliament...The bill allows the government to stop carrying out the nuclear agreement if the six world powers fail to lift sanctions.

Even Iran's so-called "representatives" held an up-or-down vote on this agreement, even if the outcome was preordained and/or toothless.  Meanwhile, back in our actual constitutional republic, Senate Democrats obstructed any Congressional vote on this enormously consequential international accord -- about which many of them have purported to harbor serious reservations -- for the sole purpose of sparing President Obama the political humiliation of rejecting Congress' strong, bipartisan verdict on the matter.  It appears as though the Iranian regime made, ahem, "common cause" with the Obama administration by withholding details of the pact from legislators, which represents a violation of US law. The Iran nuclear deal crosses multiple American red lines, pumps roughly $150 billion in sanctions relief into Iran's beleagured economy, extracts no significant concessions from the regime, and virtually guarantees that Iran will be an internationally-blessed threshold nuclear state within 10 to 15 years.  And that's if they don't cheat.  Which it appears they're already doing, as they so often have, with impunity.  The administration has reportedly shirked its sanctions-enforcement duties against Iran for two years, and will undoubtedly ignore credibly claims that lifting certain sanctions under the agreement's terms would violate another federal law signed by this president in 2012.  For what it's worth, the 2016 attack ads have already started flying:

Obama: Hillary’s Email Server Is a ‘Legitimate’ Issue, But It’s Getting Politicized Or Something

President Obama sat down with CBS News’ Steve Kroft, where the issue of Hillary’s email was brought up. The president walked a somewhat waffled line in the interview, where he said it was a “legitimate” issue, but also said that it’s being politicized due to the campaign season. Obama also said he didn’t know about Clinton’s private email server, and when pressed if whether he felt it was a big deal; the president deflected, saying it’s better for Hillary to answer these questions. He also said the server didn’t pose a national security problem (via CBS News):

Steve Kroft: Did you know about Hillary Clinton's use of private email server--

President Barack Obama: No.

Steve Kroft: --while she was Secretary of State?

President Barack Obama: No.

Steve Kroft: Do you think it posed a national security problem?

President Barack Obama: I don't think it posed a national security problem. I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged and-- you know, as a general proposition, when we're in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data. And, you know, she made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that the way it's been ginned-up is in part because of-- in part-- because of politics. And I think she'd be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly. But--

Steve Kroft: What was your reaction when you found out about it?

President Barack Obama: This is one of those issues that I think is legitimate, but the fact that for the last three months this is all that's been spoken about is an indication that we're in presidential political season.

Steve Kroft: Do you agree with what President Clinton has said and Secretary Clinton has said, that this is not-- not that big a deal. Do you agree with that?

President Barack Obama: Well, I'm not going to comment on--

Steve Kroft: You think it's not that big a deal--

President Barack Obama: What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public. And they can make their own judgment. I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America's national security was endangered.

Steve Kroft: This administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers.

President Barack Obama: Well, I-- there's no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree. We don't get an impression that here there was purposely efforts-- on-- in-- to hide something or to squirrel away information. But again, I'm gonna leave it to--

Steve Kroft: If she had come to you.

President Barack Obama: I'm going to leave it to Hillary when she has an interview with you to address all these questions.


Okay; for starters, it did pose a national security problem, as China, South Korea, and Germany tried to hack into her private email system. Even Russian-linked hackers tried five times to gain access into her server. A system that she said didn’t have classified information on it, which we all know turned out to be a lie, though her campaign says they were retroactively declared classified (yeah, nice try). Second, as Allahpundit pointed out many moons ago, didn’t the White House admit that Obama knew about Hillary’s private email account, and that the two sent unsecure correspondences to one another?

Lastly, is the president tipping his hand already in the Democratic primaries? He gave a waffled answer on the email stuff, yes, but he also said it was a legitimate issue that Hillary will need to address. The president of the United States, and the leader for the Democratic Party, just said that the prohibitive nominee in next year’s election has a legitimate (and self-inflicted) wound from the use of this system. Yet, as Allah pointed out, it’s a bit odd that Obama said Clinton should answer these questions about her email server “to the satisfaction of the American public,” but not to him. Also, he did have this to say about Joe:

You know, I am going to let Joe make that decision. And I mean what I say. I think Joe will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and one of the more consequential. I think he has done great work. I don't think there's any politician at a national level that has not thought about being the president. And if you're sitting right next to the president in every meeting and, you know wrestling with these issues, I'm sure that for him he's saying to himself, "I could do a really good job."

Shorter Obama: Joe “could do a really good job” as president, and Hillary could too, I guess, but she has a “legitimate” issue to absolve with the American people about her email server–and we didn’t get the impression that she was trying to cover up anything when that classified information was found. But it’s all politics, you know.

That doesn’t sound like a shining endorsement of the former.

Full Interview here:

Aerosmith to Trump: Please Stop Playing 'Dream On' At Your Events

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and artists getting upset when politicians use their songs at events.

This time it's Boston rock band Aerosmith, who would prefer that GOP front-runner Donald Trump stop using their song "Dream On" at events.

On Saturday, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler's reps sent Donald Trump for President Inc. a demand to stop using the power ballad "Dream On" at campaign events. The cease and desist letter was actually the second time Trump has been warned about using the song. According to the letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Trump was first told to not use "Dream On" after an Aug. 21 event in Mobile, Ala. Since then, the song has been used, including at Trump's recent rally in Georgia.

"Trump for President does not have our client’s permission to use 'Dream On' or any of our client’s other music in connection with the Campaign because it gives the false impression that he is connected with or endorses Mr. Trump’s presidential bid," states a cease and desist letter.

Despite the cease and desist letter, Tyler's attorney insists that this is not about politics, but rather copyright. Tyler and Trump have been friends for a while, and Tyler is a Republican.

Tyler's attorney, Dina LaPolt, said in a statement: "This is not a political nor personal issue with Mr. Trump. Steven works tirelessly with both Republicans and Democrats regarding copyright reform and his position has always been consistent regarding copyright and intellectual property. Simply, one must get permission from the music creators. Steven wrote 100% of 'Dream On,' and this is about the un-authorized use of his property. Steven is a registered Republican."

Honestly, I can't really blame Aerosmith on this one. (Plus, I feel like "Dream On" is a really odd choice for a campaign song, but that's just me...) Aerosmith owns the song, and they don't want it politicized by anybody. That's reasonable and fair.

Gowdy Responds to Charges from Ex-Staffer After Benghazi Committee 'Refused to Pay Him'

In an attempt to dismiss the Benghazi Select Committee as a partisan witch hunt against Hillary Clinton, an ex-committee staffer has accused the panel of being obsessed with a political agenda.

Bradley F. Podliska, an investigator and Air Force Reserves officer, told The New York Times that the Benghazi committee was becoming “primarily focused” on Clinton. His comments come on the heels of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s controversial statement on "Hannity," when he said the Benghazi committee was directly responsible for sinking Clinton’s poll numbers. Chairman Trey Gowdy (S-SC), while accepting McCarthy's apology, insisted his words can't "fix the damage" done to the panel.

Gowdy, again having to defend his committee’s work, responded to Podliska’s claim, noting the latter only voiced his so-called concerns after they refused his demands to pay him. Here’s the chairman's full statement:

Gowdy has already proven he's a whiz at penning powerful letters. Last week, he torched his Democratic colleague Elijah Cummings for contributing nothing to the Benghazi committee's efforts except leaking lies to the media.

UPDATE: Guilty; Verdict Reached in Case of American Journalist Obama Left Behind in Iran

When President Obama made a deal with the Iranians in July over the terror sponsor's nuclear program, he left four Americans behind. One of those Americans is Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. 

By the administration's own admission and standards Rezaian, who has been held in an Iranian prison for more than a year, is being held on trumped up, bogus charges. This morning, it is being reported Rezaian has been issued a verdict on those same charges after a closed door "trial."

An Iranian judiciary spokesman said Sunday that a verdict has been reached in the espionage case of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, though he offered no details. It was uncertain what the verdict is and whether there is a sentence.

“The ruling on this case has been issued,” Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said in his weekly televised news conference with Iranian journalists. “There is still the possibility of this ruling being appealed, and it is not final.”

The Post has vehemently disputed the allegation that Rezaian was a spy. Executive Editor Martin Baron has said that Rezaian was acting solely as a journalist, and he has called the trial a “sham” and “a sick brew of farce and tragedy.”

We'll have to wait and see whether Rezaian has been convicted on charges. Based on the talks from Iranian sources about an appeal, things aren't looking good.

In the meantime, Iran is still unjustly holding U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, FBI agent Robert Levinson and of course, Rezaian. No word yet from the White House on how the administration plans to help.

UPDATE: Rezaian convicted as guilty.

The Washington Post on Monday angrily denounced the conviction of one of its reporters in a secret Iranian court, calling the proceeding an "outrageous injustice."

Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron criticized Iran’s conviction of Post reporter Jason Rezaian in a closed-door trial on charges that are unclear, saying the verdict was unconscionable.

Rezaian was found guilty of various allegations by an Iranian court, the country's state TV reported late Sunday.

"Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing. For now, no sentence has been announced," Baron said in a statement Monday.

It was not immediately clear of what exactly Rezaian had been convicted. He had faced multiple charges, including espionage, at his trial, which was widely criticized by the U.S. government and press freedom organizations.

Rezaian reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

As Putin Gains Power in Middle East, Obama Touts "Leadership" on Climate Change

Over the weekend President Obama sat down for an interview with 60 Minutes, where he addressed a variety of issues about his foreign and domestic policies. When asked about the increasing chaos in the Middle East, with Russian President Vladimer Putin invading Syria and bombing rebel forces the U.S. has been supporting, Obama downplayed the need for leadership in the region and instead pivoted to his "leadership" on climate change. Obama also argued Putin's decision to send troops into Syria wasn't based on strength or a power grab, but instead is a result of a broader failed strategy. 

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The U.S. ending its multi-million Syrian rebel training program last week after it failed miserably could be a reason Obama changed the subject. In the meantime, Putin continues to embarrass the United States and is gladly filling the remaining power vacuum.

SCOTUS Watch: 'Assault Weapons' Bans

Jazz Shaw, our friend over at our sister site Hot Air,  wrote about a looming decision about Second Amendment rights from the Supreme Court that could come as early as this Tuesday. It deals with Chicago’s ordinance that bans semi-automatic rifles that carry more than 10 rounds (via LA Times):

The justices on Friday were to consider the appeal in Friedman vs. City of Highland Park. If they refuse to hear the appeal, the announcement could come as early as Tuesday morning. Such a decision would signal that cities have the authority to restrict high-powered weapons.

But if the justices vote to take up the case, it would put in doubt the constitutionality of laws in other places, including California, that prohibit semiautomatic weapons.

"These are some of the most popular firearms commonly used by law-abiding citizens in America," said David H. Thompson, a lawyer for the Illinois gun owners who are challenging the assault weapons ban adopted in the North Shore Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

They lost before a federal judge and in a decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Now they are asking the high court to hear their appeal.


In upholding the Highland Park ordinance, the 7th Circuit cited the Supreme Court's statement that "dangerous and unusual weapons" may be restricted.

"Assault weapons with large-capacity magazines can fire more shots, faster, and thus can be more dangerous in aggregate," said Judge Frank Easterbrook in April for a 2-1 majority. "Why else are they the weapons of choice in mass shootings? A ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines might not prevent shootings...but it may reduce the carnage if a mass shooting occurs."

In dissent, Judge Daniel Manion said some homeowners want to keep a semi-automatic weapon at home for self-defense. "Ultimately, it is up to the lawful gun owner and not the government to decide these matters," he wrote.


Well, for starters, members of the media need to learn the difference between semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Simply put, a semiautomatic (or self-reloading) weapons system fires one round per trigger pull. Automatic fires multiple rounds per trigger pull. In fact, it’ll keep firing as long as that trigger is pulled back. They’re legal to own, though you’ll need to go through the ATF regarding the permit process.

There is no ban on semiautomatic weapons in the United States, as that which would mean a very extensive gun ban was passed in Congress without anyone knowing about it. California, and other blue states’ so-called assault weapons ban, prohibits the sale of semiautomatic AR-15-style rifles that hold more than 30 rounds. That’s not the same thing, as buying handguns, which are also semiautomatic, is still legal, though the process for that is highly cumbersome in these anti-gun states.


Second, and more to the point, it’s dubious whether the Supreme Court will hear arguments for this case. The Court has refused to hear a string of pro-Second Amendment cases, mostly relating to the concealed carry processes in “may issue” states. In 2013, Wollard v. Gallagher was asking the Court to address “whether state officials violated the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for self-defense first prove a “good and substantial reason” for doing so.” The Court refused. In 2014, the Court refused to hear a New Jersey-based Second Amendment case–Drake v. Jerejianwhich also asked “(1) Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense; and (2) whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for self-defense first prove a ‘justifiable need’ for doing so.”

The Drake case is especially tough to tolerate since it could have cleared a path to 50-state concealed carry rights given the first question. I’m sure it will be addressed in time. These cases spoke much more to the Second Amendment, and could have had a huge impact regarding expanding those rights, but the Court decided to take a pass…twice. The case we’re dealing with here is a city ordinance in one of the most anti-gun urban areas in the country. Don’t be shocked if they take a pass on this one too.

At the same time, Jazz noted something in his post that yet again places the anti-gun wing of America in a bind.

“Are you hoping for a ban on “high-powered weapons” or are you looking to get rid of automatic weapons?” Jazz asks. He aptly notes that hunting rifles are by far much more powerful than a AR-15 concerning the type of ammunition each weapon system carries, so a so-called “high-powered” weapons ban would undercut what gun control activists have been saying for years; that they support the rights of hunters but want to keep the more scary, yet less powerful, weapons out of civilian hands. They lost that battle too. Regarding automatic weapons, they’re already regulated by the ATF, with a process that takes anywhere from eight months to a year, possibly more. If approved, that weapons system goes into a federal database, and every additional feature or improvement to that weapons must first be cleared by the ATF. Sounds like banning isn’t necessary in this front either.

We should be taking a victory lap. Yes, public opinion can change, but it’s unlikely. We have won on every single front in this battle. We’ve won in Congress, the courts, the various legislatures, the ballot boxes, and the data and the polls show us–the pro-Second Amendment wing of America–stronger than ever. Then again, this seems to have been a double-edged sword, especially in the courts since a resemblance of a consensus has been formed on this issue. The courts aren’t really divided; even California’s Appeals Circuit struck down portions of the Golden State’s carry laws. The Supremes probably don’t see a need to move any faster on this issue. That doesn’t mean we stop fighting protecting our constitutional rights however.

WaPo Writer: When Was Hillary Being Disingenuous on Trade?

With the first Democratic debate happening this Tuesday, the former first lady has flip-flopped on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying that currency manipulation and Republican obstruction at home creates an environment unsafe for U.S. workers. On CBS’ Face The Nation, the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus said Clinton also is against the TPP’s provision that cuts down on the time brand-name pharmaceuticals can keep their biologics–medicine derived from living things–data private. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has threatened to withdraw his support of TPP unless this is readdressed, though Hatch won’t be on the debate stage this week.

Marcus added that when Clinton called TPP the “gold standard in trade agreements,” which was in 2012, currency manipulation and pharmaceutical provisions on biologics were at a worse point in those two areas than they are now with the finalized deal.

“In law, they teach you to say–when you’re cross-examining somebody–to say which time were you lying. For Hillary Clinton, at the debate, the question is which time were you being disingenuous,” said Marcus.

This comes as CBS News released a new poll showing that 53 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of her; 61 percent feel that she is not honest or trustworthy; 71 percent believe it was “not appropriate” for her to have used a private email system.

CBS News poll 2016 Democratic presidential campaign by CBSNewsPolitics

Open Thread: Did the House Dodge a Bullet With McCarthy?

Last week, the House Republicans were plunged into disarray when House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the presumptive favorite, withdrew from the speakership race. It seemed he was already facing a troubled road to succeed out-going Speaker John Boehner, given that the House Freedom Caucus–a 40-member block–was going to vote for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) for the top spot; McCarthy had reportedly refused to give in to their demands. That, coupled with the possibility of relying on Democrats for his victory, along with his comments about the House Select Committee on Benghazi–he said it was sinking Hillary’s poll numbers–crippled any notion that he could move the House forward in any direction. Democrats seized on his remarks proposing an amendment and a privileged resolution to dissolve the committee­. Both failed on party-line votes. Yet, the damage was done, and McCarthy exited the stage.The possibility that Republicans might have to solicit Democratic votes (just awful optics) for the next speaker remains open, as Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) alluded to in the midst of McCarthy's withdrawal.

Guy mentioned the rather depressing scenario House Republicans are in with McCarthy’s withdrawal. There’s a very short list of candidates who want the top spot given the headaches that comes with it. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) can’t move because he needs to restore the credibility that McCarthy torpedoed with his awful remarks. Rep. Paul Ryan is happy where he is, but is getting pressure from Boehner to run for speaker. Ryan spoke with his former running mate Mitt Romney as well, though the latter did not pressure him into running. The worst scenario that could possibly come out of this, as Guy noted, was an interim speaker, which would be disastrous for fundraising and would set a horrible narrative: Republicans cannot govern … at all.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post said that the conservative activist base's threat to the establishment is real, and the sooner the latter realizes this the better:

Given all of that, it never made any sense for McCarthy to move up to speaker -- or, for that matter, Steve Scalise of Louisiana to move up to majority leader. In a party whose base is sending a clear message that they are sick and tired of the status quo, the idea of simply moving each member of leadership up a slot was insane.

And the argument for McCarthy -- when weighed against the anger and passion against the establishment coursing through the base -- was feeble. The members like him! He texts them on their birthdays! He's been to their districts! Dick Cheney endorsed him! None of that was a match for the fundamental belief -- within the base and among Republican politicians trying to channel that base -- that McCarthy was part of the problem, not the solution. He was doomed to have an ending like this -- no matter the extenuating personal circumstances that might have also influenced the lack of support for him.


This threat to the establishment from the conservative activist base is real. The sooner the establishment realizes it -- and the resignation of Boehner/demise of McCarthy should help them get it -- the better chance they will have to combat it. But, I also think that the possibility exists that the establishment doesn't have the ability to put down this revolution. Which is an amazing thing to ponder as the country gets ready to elect a new president in 13 months time.

Adding to the argument side for McCarthy came from Cillizza’s colleague Dave Weigel, who wrote that the “chaos” in the House GOP is a good thing since the gentleman from California wasn’t a good Majority Whip–and that states of anarchy have led to good things for House Republicans in the past:

McCarthy, a "young gun" Republican organizer who helped the party recruit much of its winning 2010 class, was less a manager and more a Doctor Frankenstein. McCarthy presided over -- sorry, whipped -- a failed extension of the Patriot Act, a failed extension of the payroll tax cut, a failed attempt to raise the debt limit, a failure to pass the GOP's preferred "fiscal cliff" rescue, a failed attempt to pass the farm bill. The default drama of McCarthy's whip tenure was that Republicans would prep a vote, someone would realize that they were short, and crisis would ensue until someone wrote up a compromise that would allow Democrats to bail out a rump of the GOP.


What will be the long-term impact of McCarthy's faceplant? If previous leadership crises tell us anything, the GOP might be better off. The 1998 impeachment debacle that took down both Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and would-be-speaker Bob Livingston (La.) produced Dennis Hastert (Ill.), who colorlessly led the House GOP through three election wins and created a separation from the past that helped George W. Bush rebrand the party. His closest competitor: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose 2002 ascension to minority leader made some Democrats wonder if the party would seem hopelessly, un-electably left-wing.

The GOP is in a better position now than the Democrats or Republicans were in those scenarios. Its next speaker will inherit a majority that can sustain dozens of losses and is protected from those losses by gerrymandering in key states. And its voters, as pollsters will tell you, don't pay a ton of attention to who the speaker is. There is life after chaos -- though, seriously, it's better to figure out how to raise the debt limit first.

Of course, I’m not sold on the gerrymandering argument, and I don’t agree with the politics and governing styles of Reid and Pelosi. But will this little chaos bring us something better after McCarthy? Is there hope? From McCarthy’s past leadership record, it seems as if Republicans dodged a bullet, but I’ll let you debate that point. I’m just putting it out there.

Vladimir Putin Scores Seven Goals in Birthday Hockey Game

Vladimir Putin turned 63 on Wednesday, and he celebrated in a rather unorthodox manner: by partaking in an all-star hockey game with former NHL stars and Russian cabinet members.

The leader, famous for posing shirtless on horseback and in other unashamedly macho situations, played in a hockey game Wednesday night alongside former NHL stars.

As you'd expect, Putin's team won. And the man himself scored seven goals.

The President's teammates included former Vancouver Canucks player Pavel Bure, as well as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who earlier in the day had been briefing Putin on Russia's latest round of military strikes in Syria.

Despite his impressive scoring feats on the rink in the southern city of Sochi, Putin only "mastered" ice hockey in recent years, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

Putin scored seven goals in his team's 15-10 victory and was presented with a trophy afterwards, because, well, of course he was.

Putin is an extreme latecomer to hockey, as he began skating in 2010 in an effort to, in part, revive Russia's struggling hockey programs. (Russian lawmakers have also considered banning young stars from playing in the United States in an effort to prop up its domestic professional leagues.) Putin has proven to be a master of propaganda, and his latest foray into sport is no different.

Putin's athletic "accomplishments" are approaching a Kim Jong-il-level of absurd. While the man's dedication to patriotic photo ops is impressive, it's still somewhat head-scratching. Russia has a whole host of societal issues that need to be addressed before the leader of the country takes the ice with Pavel Bure.

Cruz: Trump's Supporters Will End Up Voting For Me

In an interview with WABC's Rita Cosby, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz expressed confidence that he can beat the GOP’s current frontrunner Donald Trump and pick up his supporters too.

"I think in time I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee and I think in time the lion's share of his supporters end up with us," the senator told Cosby.

"If you look to the records of all the Republican candidates there's a big difference between my record and that of everyone else,” he continued, “If you ask, who has stood up to Washington? Who's taken on not just Democrats, but taken on leaders in their own party? Republican leadership, whether was leading the fight to stop Obamacare? Whether it was leading the fight to stop executive amnesty?

"Or actually, just going back to last week. You know at the last Republican debate in California, every Republican candidate stood up there and said, 'we need to defund Planned Parenthood.' But last week, when we had an epic drag down fight in Washington, not one of them showed up."

Trump adviser Daniel Scavino begs to differ. 

Cruz is currently polling at 6.2 percent, according to Real Clear Politics’ average, while Trump, on the other hand, is at 23.2 percent. 

Almost Forgot! About That Resolution To Disband The Select Committee On Benghazi; It Failed

With all the chaos that erupted on Capitol Hill this past week, we failed to update you on Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-NY) privileged resolution to disband the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Spoiler alert: that failed a procedural vote on October 7.

Slaughter is the ranking member of the House Rules committee and initially put forward an amendment on October 6 to dissolve the committee, whose credibility has been undermined thanks to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) recent comments that its existence is hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. That also failed by a party-line vote.

Shortly thereafter, McCarthy withdrew from the Speaker’s race, as he undermined his potential legitimacy as Speaker, the committee’s credibility, and the fact that things were looking tight on those first ballot projections. The House Freedom Caucus– a 40-member block of Tea Party House Republicans - had pledged to vote as a block if 80 percent of them agreed on a candidate. Kevin McCarthy was not their guy; Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) took that honor. According to Politico, they wanted Republican National Committee cash, “a bigger say” regarding selecting committee chairmen, more involvement in the decision-making, and a commitment that their members would get sweet spots on top committees. That wasn’t going to happen. And now, conservatives have to deal with Boehner remaining as Speaker of the House, with a diminished capacity regarding leverage on negotiations since he no longer has anything to lose, according to AP.  

As Guy noted, quite depressingly, chaos erupted upon McCarthy’s withdrawal–and there really isn’t any incentive to take the top leadership spot in the House. Dealing with the hard right, while also catering to the needs and concerns of Republicans in moderate, swing districts is already difficult. And it makes things more unpleasant–optics-wise-to rely on the Democrats for votes on key bills. On the other hand, this isn’t supposed to be an easy job–and Tea Party Republicans in deep-red districts shouldn’t have to moderate their views, but at least have some understanding as to why some things can’t get done, especially for members, like Rep. John Katko of New York, who represents a district that went for Obama by double-digits. Does anyone here think he would toe the Tea Party line only to lose his seat?

I know some districts we won are flukes, and will probably go back to the Democrats in due time. But they’re having recruitment problems for the dozens of races in competitive districts that the GOP in the last two midterms. We didn't need to incentivize state-level Democrats (what’s left of them) to leave their current, and comfortable local posts, and gamble on a congressional race. At the time, a lot of them see no reason to join a minority caucus in Washington.  Until the speakership chaos, Republicans looked pretty solid for the 2016 elections. We'll have to revisit this. 

And no, I'm not saying that McCarthy would have been a good speaker. I'll have something on that a little later for all of you to debate on the comment thread soon. 

Federal Agents Riding With D.C. Police To Curb Spike In Crime

Washington D.C.’s police force will be having some company when responding to incidents of violent crime in the District–federal agents. FBI agents will be riding with D.C.’s homicide units in order to provide extra manpower, intelligence gathering capability, and access to databases in an effort to combat the city’s rising crime rate, according to the Washington Post. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Mayor Muriel Bowser are making it known that combating these incidents of violent crime are a priority, and it was never a highly discussed topic during the latter’s campaign for mayor. For Lanier, she has to deal with a city whose homicide rate is up 46 percent from last year. That’s nothing to shrug off, but we should be somewhat relieved (in the hopes of finding any silver lining) that the District’s murder rate hasn’t come close to the high homicide rates set in the 1980s and 1990s–when D.C. was the nation’s murder capital:

Federal authorities have stepped up efforts to team with D.C. police to combat a violent crime surge in the District that include embedding FBI agents and others with detectives responding to and investigating crime scenes.

It is one in a series of initiatives designed to help police gather intelligence by increasing manpower and providing quicker access to extensive databases with the aim of uncovering potential suspects or motives.

A task force to partner federal authorities with D.C. police was established last year, but Vincent H. Cohen Jr., the acting U.S. attorney for the District, said the wave of shootings this summer created a new sense of urgency. The effort is targeting high-crime areas, focusing on the 7th Police District — which includes Anacostia, Barry Farm, Naylor Gardens and Washington Highlands — where homicides have nearly doubled this year compared with the same period last year.

“We are targeting the repeat offenders,” Cohen said in an interview this week. “We are gathering intelligence on the worst of the worst.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilberto Guerrero, chief of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, said the initiative helps police gather “pieces to the puzzle.”

In August, federal resources were deployed in Baltimore in the aftermath of the riots that erupted after the controversial arrest and death of Freddie Gray, who died while under police custody. The damage to the community, along with a police force that was placed under the microscope for misconduct after the Gray arrest, led to a spike in crime rates. Overall, we’re still much safer than we were two decades ago.

O'Malley: Limited Debate Schedule Proves Dems 'Fear the Future'

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has barely cracked 1 percent in most 2016 election polls. That's why he is especially looking forward to the Democratic Party's first presidential debate this Tuesday night. O'Malley has often called for more visibility leading up to the Democratic primary, yet the DNC has not budged in its decision to only hold six debates. The governor believes this is an intentional plot to protect the "inevitable" nominee, Hillary Clinton. In September, he had no problem calling out DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself for 'rigging' the campaign.

He voiced the complaint again on Friday:

“It would appear to me that they’re trying to circle the wagons around this year’s inevitable front-runner,” he said of Clinton’s presidential campaign. "I think it shows a lot of fear about the future.”

The Democrats perhaps should be fearful about next year's election. Hillary is facing a serious investigation into whether she mishandled classified information on a private server and compromised national security. Because of the ongoing inquiry, the electorate doesn't trust her. Meanwhile, her attempts to appear likeable and down to earth have been poor at best, proving she can't stray from her precious talking points even on late night talk shows. 

She's their frontrunner? I'd be scared too.

Fmr Planned Parenthood Manager Says PP Views Women's Bodies as 'Profit Centers'

At the House Judiciary Committee’s second hearing into the suspicious practices of Planned Parenthood, one former employee made some very serious accusations about the organization that claims to serve women’s health.

Sue Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic manager, shared a testimony that proved the organization often considers money a higher priority than patients’ wellbeing:

“No business, certainly no healthcare clinic, should view a woman’s body as a profit center, yet that is exactly what Planned Parenthood does,” Thayer said.

She had personal anecdotes to prove it:

One of the first times that I saw the truth about Planned Parenthood was in 2002 when a recycling center in my small Iowa town discovered the remains of a newborn child. The Sheriff came to my clinic, seeking records of women who may have been the mother of this child who was born alive and killed. This was not an abortion. It was a murder investigation. So, maybe naively, I thought Planned Parenthood would want to cooperate. Instead, Planned Parenthood leadership saw this as a fundraising opportunity.

Thayer also related that Planned Parenthood had filed false claims with Medicaid, including coercing patient “donations.” Most disturbingly, Thayer said Planned Parenthood was billing Medicaid for abortion services:

I also know that Planned Parenthood would bill Medicaid for abortion-related services – ultrasounds, office visits, blood tests, medications, and other services that were part of an abortion.

This final revelation is a very serious one, considering Planned Parenthood has repeatedly claimed it does not use tax dollars for abortions.

When Thayer voiced her concerns over Planned Parenthood’s practices, she said she was “forced out.”

Thayer's testimony was very different from Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards' stale talking points on the hill last week, where she failed to convince the panel that her organization still deserves $500 million federal dollars a year.

For a real testimony, read Ms. Thayer's powerful statement here.

VIDEO: YAF Issues Friendly Reminder That Che Guevara Was A Mass Murderer

Forty-eight years ago today, communist revolutionary Che Guevara was killed in Bolivia by government troops. Young America’s Foundation has something to say about that: good riddance! For all the Hollywood liberals and progressives who proudly wear the Che shirt, you’re being ignorant of–and in some cases insulting the memories–of the thousands of people who were executed by his firing squads. YAF urges freedom-loving Americans to educate themselves about Che’s atrocities. You could even play a game–Who Said It: Che or Hitler? – on their website.

BONUS: Venezuelan student and former YAF intern Alejandro Sosa described what Che means to him, and how his legacy has destroyed his country.

COMMENTS UPDATE: Scammers, Spammers, and Trolls, I'm Afraid You'll Find Our Moderation Tool Quite Operational

Editor's note: Post has been updated with additional information.

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Also, we understand that some people might flag comments for the sake of doing so. Have no fear–we only ban/delete comments that are truly violate our policy.  We discard the innocuous ones. Those being ones that might veer towards the left in political orientation.  For example, if a commenter says, "I like what Obama is doing on gun control," chances are some people might flag it–and this has happened in the past with users who are more liberal. We simply ignore those.  We'll let you handle that person on the comment thread by having a cordial debate. 

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Wendy Davis is the 'Inspiration' for New NBC Drama

Although many people hoped Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' pro-abortion filibuster would be her last primetime appearance, NBC has just announced she is the 'inspiration' for a new TV show:

Written by Jennifer Cecil, the untitled project centers on a female Democratic senator who, after losing the Texas governor’s race, gets her world turned upside down. In the vein of The Good Wife, while she pieces her pride back together, she goes to work in the law firm of her best friend — a black male Republican — and discovers that with no political future to protect, she can unshackle her inner badass.

So let me get this straight. NBC is 'inspired' by someone who conducted a (failed) 11-hour filibuster against a common sense partial birth abortion ban and then lost convincingly in a statewide election? Oh, and that was after she used an empty wheelchair in an attack ad against her handicapped Republican opponent. 

Yeah, I can see how she makes for a heroic protagonist.

Based on Davis' losing track record, NBC better hope she doesn't want to do a cameo, or they can kiss their ratings goodbye.

Obama Warming Up His Pen To Go Around Congress on Gun Control We Already Have

He's done it before on a number of issues and he's clearly not afraid to do it again. 

According to a number of reports, President Obama is getting ready to issue some kind of executive order on gun control, going around Congress to do so and violating his own admission that he can't implement new gun control measures alone. 

"His is not something [gun control] I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress and I've got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this," Obama said last week.

The plan, according to the Washington Post, is to require background checks that are...already required. 

The Washington Post reported that the White House is considering executive action that would compel background checks for "individuals who buy from dealers who sell a significant number of guns each year." Dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license and perform background checks, the Post reported.

Individuals who buy firearms from dealers are required to go through a background check every time they purchase a firearm, whether it's a "significant number" or one. Some states have a waiting period for the purchase of more than four or five long guns in a certain period of time, but the waiting period occurs after a background check is passed.

Additionally, Obama is considering a requirement for dealers to obtain a separate license if they "exceed a certain number of sales," whatever that means. Again, under current law firearms sold through a dealer require a background check.

Under the proposed rule change, dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and perform background checks on potential buyers.

Meanwhile, the Oregon community Obama is choosing to exploit in the name of gun control is protesting his visit and gun free zones by the hundreds today.

We'll see what Obama comes up with next week.

Measles Found in Fairfax County

As we head into cold and flu season, families in Fairfax County have another thing to be worried about: measles. A child was diagnosed with the disease recently, and county officials are worried that other immuno-suppressed children may have been exposed to the illness in doctor's office waiting rooms.

The child was too young to be fully vaccinated against the measles and had only received one dose of the MMR vaccine.

The individual is a child who was treated at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, but the child is no longer contagious, health officials said. While the child was age-appropriately vaccinated with one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, it takes two doses of the vaccine to provide full protection against measles.

The child was at several locations in Fairfax County in the past week and could have exposed others to the measles virus. Health officials are attempting to notify anyone who may have been exposed while the patient was infectious to prevent further spread of measles.

Fairfax County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, with 82 percent of children receiving all vaccines. This is below the herd immunity rate of 90 to 95 percent.

Vaccinations are important to ensure that eradicated diseases stay eradicated. Measles cases are on the rise in this country due to parents refusing to vaccinate their children. While measles isn't life-threatening for many children, it has the potential to cause brain damage, blindness, and death in others.