India Signs $500 Million Port Deal With Iran

India and Iran signed a series of agreements Monday that will increase trade between the two countries and pour billions of dollars into Iran’s economy. This comes less than five months after the U.S. and European Union lifted its economic sanctions on the state sponsor of terrorism.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Tehran, signing a deal that will enable the development of Iran’s Chabahar port. India has a vested interest in building the port, as it gives India access to Russian and Central Asian markets.

Quartz interviewed a former diplomat who served as the Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, G Parthasarathy, who said India’s access to nearby Chabahar is essential because exports currently must travel on an out-of-the-way path around Pakistan.

“It (Pakistan) deliberately delays transit of our goods through Karachi, which is not a reliable or efficient port of transit,” Parthasarathy said. “This is more so when it comes to sensitive items like defense supplies. We, therefore, have to transit through the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, which is some distance away, making exports more expensive and slow.”

Modi pledged that India will spend $500 million building the port and invest another $16 billion in the Chabahar free trade zone. Experts say this deluge of cash will affect the economies of both India and Iran.

For India, this access to new markets allows the country to expand trade to countries such as Afghanistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Partnerships and new resources await India when they reach these countries, according to Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University.

“Iran is the only way for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Russia,” Fair said. “Thus, this port is critical to Indian power projection in to Central Asia and elsewhere. Also, India has significant hydrocarbon needs and Iran will remain an important source.”

India Today reported Monday that Indian firms want to use the crude oil resources in Iran to build an aluminum smelter plant.

Iran has been eager to involve itself in the world’s economy since the U.S. and EU lifted their sanctions in January. Soon after, its government signed a deal with China to increase trade there to $600 billion in the next ten years. Now India has solidified its ties to the state as well.

India, a rising power in Asia, has relationships with states in the Middle East—Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. Some experts are concerned that it will be difficult to maintain partnerships with states that have such opposing interests, but Sanjaya Baru of the International Institute for Strategic Studies is not worried.

“India now maintains a balanced West Asian policy of maintaining good relations with Saudi Sunnis, Iranian Shias and Israel’s Jews,” Baru said. “It is a policy all three have come to understand, perhaps even appreciate.”

The nuclear deal between the U.S., five other world powers, and Iran was widely criticized when it was signed in 2015. Many worried the country would not comply with the weak nuclear disarmament provisions in the deal. Despite this, the U.S. went forward with it; in January sanctions were lifted. It remains to be seen if Iran, who has made progress in constructing a nuclear weapon and funds terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, will make good on its promises and implement India’s desired free-trade policies.

Donald Trump Wins Washington; Inches Closer to Officially Clinching Nomination

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has won the Washington Republican primary. He garnered over three-fourths of the total vote.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich were virtually tied for second place, with about ten percent each.

Washington has 44 delegates at stake. Trump currently has 1,193. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to officially clinch the nomination ahead of the convention.

Anti-Trump Protesters Break Down Barrier, Light Fires, Throw Rocks at Police

The scene outside of a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico descended into chaos as anti-Trump protesters first broke through a barrier, lit things on fire, and threw rocks at police officers.

Some form of smoke bomb or pepper spray was used by the police to break up the protesters. The protesters were primarily opposed to Trump's proposals on immigration.

There were also protests inside the rally, and Trump's speech was interrupted several times.

Mea Culpa: Hamburgers Are Not $170 In Venezuela, But Socialism Has Still Destroyed The Country

So, my apologies folks—the story about hyperinflation being so out of control that burgers cost $170 turned out to be a misfire. The Agence France-Presse killed the story due to errors in the exchange rate:

This story has been killed due to an error in the exchange rate used in the original. A new version will follow.

Still, the nation is so broke that it can’t print its own currency. They still have rolling blackouts due to energy shortages. There’s still hunger to the point where people are killing dogs, cats, and pigeons for food. There’s still rampant looting since supermarkets are not regularly stocked. Toilet paper is now a luxury item. And hospitals are still in need of soap and basic medical supplies. Also, babies are still dying in hospitals due to energy shortages and inadequate care. Yes, Coca-Cola and Bridgestone are halite production of its products either due to the declining economic conditions, the lack of supplies, the heavy regulations, or a combination of the three. Oh, and let's not forget the complete breakdown of law and order.

Venezuela is a total disaster—socialism is to blame. But hey, burgers might be somewhat affordable. 

House GOP Women Up For Reelection Lukewarm On Trump

As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s incendiary comments about women have dominated headlines, his poll numbers among the demographic have stayed low; only 33% of women have a favorable view of Trump, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

For the five GOP women in the House of Representatives up for reelection in November, support of Trump is, as Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., put it, “awkward.”

If the representatives back their party’s nominee, they must defend the rhetoric that many view as anti-woman. On the other hand, if they denounce him, Trump supporters may not vote for the women in the upcoming election.

The Associated Press interviewed the five representatives, who shared mixed reactions to the nominee. Some, like Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., expressed concern about Trump’s tone.

McMorris Rodgers, House's top-ranking GOP woman, said she will vote for Trump though "not exactly" with enthusiasm and "vehemently" opposes his remarks about women, those with disabilities and others, according to AP.

McSally’s campaign released a statement she will spend time "determining what kind of man he is." She said she respects "the will of voters" but had "concerns" about Trump's statements on women.

Others dodged the question or gave tepid endorsements. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, said she would support the Republican Party’s nominee but did not comment any further.

Rep. Mia Love represents Utah, a state in which Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won 69% of the vote in its March primary. Trump won only 14%. Love said she has not endorsed Trump and, according to AP, “wouldn’t want him campaigning with her.”

Trump’s history with women has come under fire in recent months. Critics cite a long list of women who have been the subject of Trump’s disparaging comments, Megyn Kelly, Heidi Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Michelle Fields among them.

These female representatives’ struggles with the presumptive Republican nominee reflect the view of many in GOP who find themselves stuck between embracing party unity in hopes of winning the general election and defending the conservative values they say Trump does not have.

One representative, Renee Ellmers, R-NC, explicitly endorsed Trump and said women “don’t care what’s happened in the past. They see him as a leader, as a problem solver.”

Follow Up: Filmmaker Discusses Video Showing Students Donating Money For Hamas to Blow Up Israeli Civilians

In case you missed it, filmmaker Ami Horowitz recently visited Portland State University to raise money for the fake organization "American Friends of Hamas." Horowitz openly told students he was raising money for Hamas, a terrorist organization, in order to suicide bomb soft targets like schools, hospitals and cafes in Israel. He raised nearly $300 within an hour of being on campus. 

During an interview with Fox and Friends Tuesday, Horowitz detailed his experience and noted not a single person  told him what he was doing was wrong.

Here's the original video:

Sadly, anti-Israel and anti-semitic movements on college campuses are thriving.

"It's Unfair to the Public": GOP Representative Urges Senate to Give Merrick Garland a Hearing

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-NY) stated that Senate Republicans were wrong to block Pres. Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, without giving him a hearing. The Senate’s inaction in this matter has, according to Donovan, impeded the function of the Supreme Court and given the public reason to lose faith in the government’s competence.

“I think this is an issue that people could point at and say, ‘See, government’s stalled, government doesn’t move forward,’” said Donovan. “There’s a very important seat open in the Supreme Court, the people that interpret the rules of the country will live by. And it’s unfair to the public.”

In arguing that the Senate should give Garland a hearing, Donovan breaks with his party’s strategy, which has been to obstruct Obama’s nomination in case a Republican president is elected in the fall. A Republican president would presumably nominate a conservative justice to the Supreme Court, while Obama’s choice of Garland is more liberal. The stakes are particularly high because Garland’s confirmation would tip the court into a liberal majority—a situation that many Republicans wish to avoid.

The Senate GOP has mostly stood firm against pressure from the White House and congressional Democrats, who have used the hashtag #doyourjob to argue that it is the senators’ congressional duty to give Garland a hearing. Only two GOP senators have departed from the party line—Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). Sen. Jerry Moran originally joined them in their dissent but later rescinded it, likely due to pressure from party leaders.

“I’ve never thought that was a good idea,” said Donovan of the strategy. “I’ve always thought that the Republicans were wrong, that they should see who the nominee was…and judge him on his abilities, his jurisprudence. I think it’s one of the things that gets the public upset about politics, that they see things not moving.”

“You don’t have to confirm the nomination,” Donovan said further. “But they should hold the hearings.”

WATCH: John Oliver Explains the "Erratic" and Nonsensical Democratic Primary

Today is Election Day in Washington State--kind of.

The Republican primary is all but done, with Donald Trump being the last remaining candidate in the race, and the due to a particular odd quirk in Washington, the Democrats' election today doesn't actually count. All of the delegates were awarded at a convention months ago, and the state Democratic party just ignores the results of the primary.

As it turns out, this is hardly the only bizarre happening in the primary season. On HBO's "Last Week Tonight," John Oliver broke down the strange goings-on across the country--in particular, Nevada's caucus and convention, Washington's entire process, and the Superdelegate system, among others.

Watch here: (language warning)

He's right. The whole process is absolutely absurd and there needs to be some streamlining of rules across the country. I'm inclined to agree with Oliver's suggestion to flood party leaders with letters on Groundhog Day--but it's highly unlikely that anything major will be changed by the time the 2020 election rolls around. After all, look at Maine: after the GOP's nightmare caucus in 2012, Democrats pooh-poohed any effort to revert to a primary. It took an embarrassing, highly-publicized breakdown of the caucus system on the Democratic side in 2016 to finally spur lawmakers into change for 2020.

Still, for the time being, enjoy Oliver's amusing rant and laugh at how crazy all of this is.

Video: CBS News Calls Hillary Out Over 'Anytime, Anywhere' Debate Flip-Flop

As Justin noted earlier, Hillary Clinton's refusal to debate Bernie Sanders ahead of the California primary is the latest entry into her bursting-at-the-seams "political expediency" file -- which The Onion  enjoyably lampoons today. Back when it served her interests in 2008, Hillary was a big believer in the critical importance of being willing to debate all comers, "anytime, anywhere" while seeking "the toughest job in the world." Now that she more or less has the Democratic nomination sewn up, in spite of her ongoing struggles and continued primary losses, she's changed her tune.  Imagine that.  In case you missed it earlier, here's the '08 clip. The first words out of her mouth are "honestly, I just believe..."

CBS News picked up on Clinton's self-interested, slippery standard this morning -- via the Free Beacon:

I'm sure Bernie backers who may be furious over Clinton's hypocritical reversal on this question will at least appreciate her patronizing 'attaboy' for Sanders' adorable willingness to challenge her. Who doesn't love a little condescension?

Yes, if there's anyone who understands the importance of ridding the political system of "unaccountable money" and defeating the scourge of "income inequality," it's this woman.

VA Secretary Claims He Was Misunderstood, Says He's Glad to Correct Things 'If'...

After A firestorm of criticism over the past 24 hours, Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald is finally attempting to walk back comments he made Monday comparing veteran wait times for healthcare to waiting for joy rides at Disneyland. 

During an interview Tuesday with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, McDonald argued he was misunderstood when he made the comments and said he's happy to "correct things" if people found what he said offensive. 

McDonald's lack of accountability for his own statements proves exactly why the VA system is still a disaster, with double the wait times for veterans since the scandal surrounding the issue broke two years ago. Over to you, Pete Hegseth: 

Death Of Taliban Leader In US Drone Strike May Unify Group

The Taliban leader’s death in a US drone strike last week may unify the movement, according to a senior Taliban member.

Former Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Ghous told the Associated Press Tuesday that Taliban faction leaders may rejoin the main group now that the divisive leader Mohammad Akhtar Mansour is dead. Mansour caused the Taliban to split last summer after he revealed that he had been running the movement for two years while pretending his predecessor, Taliban founder Mohammad Omar, was still alive.

According to Ghous, after the reveal of Omar’s death and Mansour’s cover-up, Mansour’s official induction as Taliban leader caused Taliban forces to divide into factions. Some of Omar’s family members openly rebelled. Mansour made peace by appointing Omar’s brother and son to senior leadership positions and naming Al-Qaida-friendly Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the Haqqani network, as his deputy.

Mansour orchestrated several attacks on Afghanistan, threatening to take power and reestablish the Taliban’s control of the city. His death was confirmed by both the US and Afghanistan.

On Monday, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban in a series of tweets to restore peace.

Pentagon spokesman and Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the attack was executed as an act of defense targeting Taliban who posed a threat to US and coalition soldiers. Davis noted the incident was the first time, to his knowledge, that the US acted under the Pentagon’s rules of engagement regarding defensive strikes. Previous US operations in Pakistan, like the one that killed Osama bin Laden in were conducted as counterterrorism actions.

Pakistan has expressed concerns regarding the drone strike. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi said in a meeting with US Ambassador David Hale that it “was a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and a breach of the United Nation's Charter that guarantees the inviolability of the territorial integrity of its member states.”

Carter says US forces will continue to prevent threats to the US and its overseas troops, along with continuing support of Afghanistan’s “effort to build a brighter and safer future.”

Ret. Navy Commander: Gitmo Has Not Led to Terror Recruiting Anymore Than a Movie Caused Benghazi Attack

Commander Kirk Lippold, retired from the U.S. Navy, testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday, insisting that Guantanamo Bay remain open for business.

“Keeping Guantanamo open is more important now than ever,” Lippold warned.

The terror detention facility, which has held almost 800 terrorist detainees since 2002 and today holds only 80, has been targeted for closure by President Obama, who argues the prison is “contrary to our values.” Other social activists have demanded the government close Gitmo because it could be used as a terror recruiting tool, it costs too much and it is antithetical to human rights. Lippold condemned these socially popular reasons for closing the prison as flawed and “specious.”

Gitmo, he argued, has not led to recruiting “anymore than movies caused the Benghazi attacks.”

The facility “was designed to be an intelligence center for excellence,” he said. It allows our military to “gain an understanding of how Al Qaeda conducts their operations” – only then can we target them for defeat.

Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also served as a witness and offered a chilling narrative about the failure to mange Gitmo. Many detainees who are placed on “too dangerous to transfer” lists wind up getting approved, he explained.

“There are dangerous detainees who should be tried,” Joscelyn said.

Several prisoners released from Gitmo have been suspected of returning to the battlefield, confirming Oversight Chairman Rep. Ron Desantis’ assessment that closing the prison does not guarantee people will abandon their jihad against the U.S.

We have to utilize Guantanamo’s unique capabilities and allow it to become a “crown jewel for U.S.,” Lippold insisted. It is the “best place for long-term detention.”

We have a “moral responsibility” to ensure not one more American or global citizen dies at the hands of a terrorist released from Guantanamo Bay, the commander concluded.

NRA-ILA's Chris Cox to Hillary: 'You Want To Take Our Guns?... Pack A Lunch And Give It A Try.'


This upcoming presidential election could be the most consequential regarding Second Amendment rights. At the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action’s Leadership Forum in Louisville, Kentucky, executive director Chris Cox was adamant that if freedom-loving, pro-Second Amendment supporters fail to vote this November, we could “witness the end of individual freedom.”

Cox urged members that it’s time to unite, and that the cards have been dealt in the 2016 race. He was blunt in speaking to those in the crowd who were less than enthusiastic about how things had turned out.

“It's time to unite," he said. "If your preferred candidate dropped out of the race, it’s time to get over it.” 

A pervasive theme of the weekend convention was that the Second Amendment was on the ballot, that the Supreme Court is up for grabs, and we need to fight as hard as we can to make sure Hillary Clinton is not elected president.

“After Justice Scalia's death, we don’t have five votes [on the Supreme Court] anymore. Our majority is gone,” warned Cox. “Justice Ginsburg says she looks forward to a future "wiser" court coming back and overturning our victory. It's that simple and that clear — the next president chooses the fifth justice, so the Second Amendment is on the ballot in November.”

He also made no qualms about what will definitely happen if Hillary enters the Oval Office—she’ll nominate a radical, anti-gun jurist (maybe more than one) and strip Americans of their individual right to self-defense. The socioeconomic impact would be equally devastating:

Here’s what will happen if she’s elected. She’ll put a radical, anti-gun activist in Scalia’s seat as soon as she can. The gun-control groups will take a Second Amendment case to the Supreme Court, where five justices will overturn what millions of Americans have fought and died to defend — the basic human right of self-defense.

And as soon as the ruling clears, states like California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will ban the manufacture and ownership of entire classes of firearms overnight.

Every gun store in those states will be out of business. Every gun range, shuttered. Hundreds of thousands of people in the firearms business will lose their jobs. And as bad as that sounds, it’s just the beginning.

It ends with no right to own a gun in your own home, anywhere in America, period.

Cox is right. The spike in gun sales (over 100 million since the outset of Obama’s presidency) has led to an explosion in job creation in this sector. In 2015, there were over 20,000 jobs created alone, with a nationwide total of 287,986.

As the NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, would say during the three-day convention, Clinton and her anti-gun colleagues would reserve the Second Amendment right to own a firearm to be only for those in the government, not for the individual. That’s inherently dangerous—rights only for the elite and the elite alone. It’s explicitly un-American.

To highlight the disconnect Clinton has with the rest of the electorate, Cox reminded the attendees that Clinton has never had to take a walk, or use the bathroom, without a good guy with a gun standing just a few feet away. She has no standing in lecturing us on how we choose to defend ourselves. Period.

For many years, the public was in favor of gun control. The NRA chose to fight that narrative and won. This election will be a do-or-die moment. The political left has placed American civil rights in the crosshairs, and it’s time for battle. Cox closed by saying that if Clinton wants to make this about gun rights, bring it on, pack a lunch, and get ready. The NRA has been around for 145 years, and they’re not going anywhere.

This is a fight for our freedom! We're not subjects. We're the

National Rifle Association of America. We were born to stand and fight.

You want to take our guns? Get ready, Hillary! Pack a lunch and give it a try. We've been here for 145 years — you know where to find us — and we're not going anywhere.

The organization then endorsed Donald Trump for president. An estimated 80,452 NRA members attended the annual meeting held on May 20-22.

As Bipartisan Outrage Grows Over Disney Comments, Senator Blunt Calls on VA Secretary to Resign

Bipartisan outrage over comments made by Veteran's Affairs Secretary Bob McDonnell yesterday, when he compared veteran wait times at VA hospitals to rides at Disneyland, is growing by the hour.

McDonald, who was appointed by President Obama in June 2014 after former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned, is attempting to clarify his remarks and VA officials are making excuses.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt has had enough.

"I call on him to resign because it's clear he cannot prioritize getting our veterans the health care they deserve and have earned in a timely manner. Dismissing wait times when veterans can often wait months for an appointment is negligent and a clear sign that new leadership is needed at the VA," Blunt told CNN Tuesday.

Illinois Democrat Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who is also a veteran who lost both of her legs to an IED explosion, called McDonald's comments "tone deaf." California Democrat Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez expressed similar sentiments and House Speaker Paul Ryan blasted McDonald, reminding him veteran healthcare is not a ride at a theme park, but rather a matter of life and death. 

Meanwhile, the White House has yet to issue comment on the situation.

FBI Captures 22-Year-Old ISIS Wannabe in New York

The FBI has arrested a 22-year-old New York City man on Monday for allegedly supporting the Islamic State according to ABC News.   Apparently, an elaborate FBI and NYPD operation with the help of at least four undercover law enforcement agents, led to the man's capture.  

Sajmir Alimehmeti was arrested before dawn this morning without struggle. He apparently tried to help one of the under cover agents receive transportation to Syria.  

Alimehmeti attempted to join ISIS in 2014 but was stopped twice in the United Kingdom. On one occasion, “authorities found camouflage pants and shirts, as well as nunchucks, in Alimehmeti’s luggage” and the second time because U.K. authorities found “images of ISIS flags” and “improvised explosive device attacks” on his cellphone. He was then sent back to the U.S.

When talking to the undercover agent, Alimeheti expressed his anger with living in the United States and was jealous that he could not go to Syria.  “I’m ready to f---ing go with you, man ... You know I would ... I’m done with this place. There are kuffar (unbelievers) everywhere,” he said later, upon learning of another “ISIS recruit’s” plans to travel to Syria.

Alimehmeti was also charged with passport fraud for allegedly lying about losing his passport in an attempt to get a new one. 

San Francisco Trying To Reform Sanctuary City Law, But Sheriff Is Resisting

The death of Kate Steinle shocked the nation. It should have been so profound as to lead a chorus of legislators to enact legislation to strengthen our immigration laws, or at least do something to address the numerous sanctuary cities we have in this country. Francisco Sanchez, an illegal alien who had been deported five times before, shot Steinle on a pier in San Francisco in July of 2015. Sanchez picked the California city because he knew authorities would not pursue him. It’s based on a 1989 law that made Frisco a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants, which is trying to be reformed by the city board of supervisors, but no real progress has been made (via Associated Press):

San Francisco officials plan to take another run at clarifying the progressive city's protections for people in the country illegally, a policy that led to national criticism last year when a Mexican man was accused of shooting and killing a woman walking along a waterfront pier.

The Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal Tuesday that says law enforcement can only turn over criminal suspects to federal immigration authorities if they are charged with a violent crime and have been convicted of a violent crime within the last seven years. That would be the only time city workers, including police officers, could disclose immigration status.

But San Francisco's sheriff has resisted the limitation, saying she wants greater discretion over what is a relatively small pool of detainees. The sheriff, as a constitutionally elected official, does not have to follow the board's orders.

The measure's chief sponsor postponed a vote on the ordinance earlier this month, saying that he wanted everyone on the same page. Supervisor John Avalos said the sides have been trying to reach a compromise, but he was prepared to vote Tuesday regardless.


Sheriff Vicki Hennessey has said that the office receives about five requests a week to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement of a detainee's status. She has not notified ICE in any of those cases, she said.

Hennessey also said that, like her predecessor, she may have ignored ICE's request for notification about Lopez-Sanchez, but at least she would have reviewed his case.

Hennessey’s predecessor, Ross Mirkarimi, said that the city’s sanctuary status made is “safer.” Hennessey beat him in a landslide last November. Still, Democrats’ unwillingness to establish common sense immigration enforcement measures is nothing short of stunning, even in the deep-blue bastion of San Francisco. Even more appalling was the White House response to this horrific event. At the time, they wouldn’t comment. Now, we have a new sheriff that says she would pretty much be like her predecessor on immigration law—action that has left people’s lives shattered. So, yeah, the city might be trying to reform its 1989 law, but it seems to be a clown show.

Steinle’s last words to her father, who was with her on the pier, were “help me, Dad.” Sadly, no one in the city seems to care enough to prevent this from happening to another family.

Is This Where The Obamas Are Moving After The White House?

Back in March, President Obama said that he was looking to stay in D.C. after his presidency ended. This was, in part, for practical reasons--his daughter, Sasha, is a freshman in high school. Now, it seems as though we may know where the Obamas will be ending up once they leave 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: somewhere in the Kalorama neighborhood, possibly in the home of a former ambassador.

From dcist:

In January, Paul Brandus, a member of the White House press corps, said that the First Family was deciding between Kalorama and Embassy Row. While an exact house in unknown, NJ points out the one-time home of a Syrian ambassador and another gated property are on the market.

Last October, Jim Bell of Beasley Real Estate told the Washington Business Journal that the Obamas could spend approximately $5 million to $7 million to accommodate all of their housing requirements.

The Obamas are staying in the District so that the family's youngest daughter, Sasha, can finish school at Sidwell Friends. “Transferring someone in the middle of high school — tough," the president told the group in Milwaukee.

No president since Woodrow Wilson has remained in Washington after their presidency. However, Obama is the first president since Jimmy Carter to have a school-age child in the White House at the conclusion of his term.

Sanders Places One-Child Policy Activist and Israel Critics on DNC Platform Committee

Will the Democratic National Committee come to regret its decision to offer Bernie Sanders seats on a key committee at the July convention? After granting the Vermont senator five positions on the Platform Drafting Committee, he chose a few of the most controversial figures available.

Among his choices are Bill McKibben, an environmentalist who has penned support for a one-child policy in the United States. In his book called “Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families,” McKibben argues that single-child households will help space out our dangerously overcrowded population.

Sanders also offered seats to figures who have spewed hate against Israel, such as Dr. Cornel West. West, for instance, once accused Israel of launching a “crime against humanity” and said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blood on his hands.

That may be nothing, though, compared to Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby’s history of attacking our Middle Eastern ally. Zogby, another Sanders supporter who will sit on the DNC platform committee, has made it clear Israel comes second to the needs of Palestinians.

Zogby is likely the most controversial of Sanders' picks thanks to his activist work on behalf of pro-Palestinian causes. He's repeatedly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who himself hasn't always been the favorite of pro-Israel Democrats, and he's compared the "plight of the Palestinians" to the Holocaust in a 2010 column for The Huffington Post. 

Clearly, Sanders is trying to make a statement at this summer’s DNC convention. These three figures represent a radical wing in the Democratic Party and would push the party platform far left. How will that fare in the November election? How will Clinton, the presumed Democratic nominee as far as the math is concerned, be able to explain to independents her party’s radical progressive agenda?

Report: Hillary Flushes Failing 'First Woman President' Narrative

Ed Morrissey is right; this is a nice catch by The DC's Chuck Ross, who reads past the bits of this Associated Press story about Team Hillary reveling in Trump's personal attacks (which we'll revisit shortly) and flags an interesting tidbit. Based on private public opinion research conducted by the pro-abortion group EMILY's List, the Clinton campaign has dropped  its thematic focus on the candidate's status as the potential first female president. Why? Read for yourself:

Hillary Clinton stopped referring to herself as the potential “youngest woman president” during campaign stump speeches after polling showed that it was not helping with voters and donors. Hillary Clinton stopped referring to herself as the potential “youngest woman president” during campaign stump speeches after polling showed that it was not helping with voters and donors...According to the Associated Press, "Clinton dropped the reference after Emily’s List, a group that supports pro-abortion Democratic women and is backing Hillary, provided the campaign with a report showing that it did not help the former secretary of state. 'Clinton has stopped explicitly mentioning her role in history and joking about being the “youngest woman president.' That’s by design: Those kinds of direct appeals weren’t working with voters. 'De-emphasize the ‘first’ talk,' advised a research report done by Emily’s List. 'They already know she’d be the first woman president,' the report said of donors, 'but we don’t get anything by reminding them.'"

In other words, people are already aware of this dynamic and they don't especially care. Trump has ridiculed Mrs. Clinton, opining that the only asset she has going for her in the campaign is "the women's card."  Though he may claim victory over this new revelation, it's highly unlikely that the Clinton camp will de-emphasize gender altogether. Gender-based appeals and attacks are a staple of the Democratic playbook, and Clinton's in particular. She also needs to win women decisively to beat her Republican opponent, who happens to have very serious vulnerabilities among the female electorate. Morrissey examines the "gender gap" issue in his post, which deals with some of the data we looked at yesterday that demonstrates Hillary's substantial lead with women has been effectively canceled out by her deep unpopularity among men thus far:

In 2012, Mitt Romney won male voters by a 52/45 margin, not far off from the NBC/WSJ result, while Obama won women 55/44. Both results are within the margin of error from the NBC/WSJ splits. In 2004, the numbers looked different but the overall gender gap was similar; George W. Bush won men 55/44 while John Kerry won women 51/48, for a gender gap of +8 to the winner. In 2012, the gender gap was +4 to the winner, and now it’s +4 to Hillary, who leads in that poll. So the issue may be less of “backfire” than of sheer ineffectiveness. The results from the Democratic primaries have already demonstrated that much, with Bernie Sanders competing well among women, and of late winning women on his way to a string of primary victories. Those trends began forming long before Trump started focusing his attacks on Hillary Clinton. The gender card does not appear to carry much weight even among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, so why would anyone think that it would have more impact among general-election voters? That shouldn’t have taken a study from Emily’s List (!) to figure out, but … that’s Team Hillary in a nutshell.

By the way, the overall thrust of the AP piece is how Team Hillary believes Trump's signature personal attacks will benefit her campaign over the arch of the general election campaign -- which reflects the concern I expressed yesterday. Here's their theory of how this will all shake out:

Hillary Clinton has a message for Donald Trump: keep on talking. She's just weeks away from wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination, and friends, aides and supporters describe a candidate who isn't particularly rattled by what she expects will be Trump's increasingly direct attacks on her marriage and husband's personal indiscretions. In fact, Clinton believes that she can turn Trump's deeply personal assaults to her benefit, they say, particularly among suburban women who could be crucial to her hopes in the fall. Her plan is never to engage in any back-and-forth over the scandals. Instead, she'll merely cast him as a bully and talk about policy. "I don't care what he says about me, but I do resent what he says about other people, other successful women, who have worked hard, who have done their part," she told an audience in Louisville, Kentucky, this month. Trump has made clear that nothing is off-limits.

That sentence in bold confirms my contention that there's no way Hillary is burning the gender card altogether; it's her default setting, and it's irresistibly potent against Trump. It seems as though she'll strive to shrug off personal criticisms against her (allowing surrogates to savage him in response), but constantly remind voters of Trump's history of offensive women-related statements and conduct -- including nasty shots at Megyn KellyHeidi Cruz and Carly Fiorina, over the course of the GOP primary alone. As for Trump's attitude that 'nothing is off limits,' the billionaire has already taken direct aim at allegations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton, and will no doubt lean into the Clintons' connection to the revolting creep of "pedophile island" in the weeks and months to come. I'll leave you with the presumptive GOP nominee's latest tactic, raising the issue of decades-old conspiracies about Vince Foster's death while cynically asserting that he, er, wouldn't raise the issue:

He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.” “He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said, speaking of Foster’s relationship with the Clintons at the time. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.” He added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”

In fairness, this answer was in response to a question, but it's really quite something to watch this guy pretend to dismiss a topic as out of bounds, while branding it "very serious" and "very fishy."  I won't discuss it in depth because it's unfair, but these other people certainly will, because they're convinced Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons. He's practically begging people to Google it. As right-leaning Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson notes today, the man sure does love wild, reckless conspiracy theories.

With Shootings Up 50 Percent, Chicago Should Expect A Bloody Summer

Chicago was wracked with another string of shootings this weekend that left five people dead and 40 wounded between last Friday afternoon and Monday morning (via ABC 7 Chicago):

A city employee caught in gang crossfire was among five people killed and 40 more wounded in shootings across Chicago between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

Chicago Police issued a statement Sunday in the middle of one of the first consistently warm weekends of the spring, as intensified city gun violence typically accompanies rising temperatures.

"As we look toward the summer months, Superintendent Johnson has made it very clear that the violence will not be tolerated - period," the statement said. "The cause of the violence traces back decades, and everyone has a role to play in fixing it - police working with parents, judges, residents, clergy, community leaders, and others. Put simply, we need more values, fewer guns and stronger sentences against violence offenders."

On Monday alone, 11 people were wounded in shootings across the city. On May 21, shootings killed one person and wounded seven in a 90-minute period. The Chicago Tribune reported that 1,382 people have been shot so far this year, 244 have been killed, and that the city is witnessing levels of violence associated with the summer months. With the number of shootings up 50 percent from last year, the Windy City could be in for a very bloody summer. We have the Memorial Day weekend coming up, which, like most holiday weekends in Chicago, is maligned by bloodshed.

This past Mother’s Day was the most violent weekend the city has seen since last September. Last year’s Memorial Day weekend ended with 12 people killed and 44 wounded in various shootings. We should expect the same this year–sadly.

NBC and ABC News Shine Spotlight On Democratic Divide, 15 Percent Of Obama Voters Supporting Trump

It’s a year of complete unpredictability this election cycle. At their own peril, many Republicans wrote off Donald Trump - he’s now the presumptive nominee. Many correctly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic Party’s nomination (she's 85 delegates away), though the level of divisions between the Clinton and Sanders camps wasn’t projected to get this intense or fractured. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, like Trump, has amassed a loyal army that doesn’t seem eager to wave the white flag, and a significant chunk aren’t committed to backing Clinton in the general when Sanders is eventually beaten for the nomination come July.

The Sunday morning talk shows put a spotlight on the Democratic civil war that reached a new level of intensity during the chaotic Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas last week. Yes, the vast majority of Sanders supporters will vote for Hillary in November, but 17 percent plan to vote for Donald Trump, according to NBC News’ Chuck Todd. ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos noted that 15 percent of Obama voters plan on voting for Donald Trump.

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball also said on CBS’ Face The Nation that she’s surprised the level of division has become this deep on the Democratic side. Moreover, she added that it’s not just a question about Clinton bringing the party together, but whether she can win over Independents and young voters — core factions in the Sanders army — who have voted for the Vermont senator in those open primary contests — many of whom have been “immune” to Clinton’s hopelessly inauthentic stump speeches. Again, we’re circling back to Hillary Clinton, the campaigner, in which she’s not Bill, and certainly not Barack Obama.

Democrats say the longer Sanders stays in the race, the more his attacks on Clinton will resonate. She’s already facing criticism for being a corrupt, a liar, not transparent, or an amalgam of the three; Sanders is hitting her for refusing to disclose her Wall Street transcripts, while Trump is calling her “crooked Hillary,” an attack that does have cross party appeal.

The Democrats’ conflict is now percolating to down ballot races, with Sanders supporting Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) primary opponent, Tim Canova, who has raised $250,000 since he received the endorsement from the self-described Democratic socialist.

In the meantime, the Republican Party seems to be unifying around Trump at an accelerated rate. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was staunchly anti-Trump in the primaries, but he’s now trying (covertly) to get the rest of the conservative wing to back the billionaire real estate magnate. The key, though moderate, Philly suburbs have taken a liking to Trump in Pennsylvania. The National Rifle Association endorsed Trump at their Annual Meeting last weekend as well. Republicans already have their guy, and the wounds from the primary seem to be healing—while the blood sports continue on the left.

Bernie Sanders Is Running Low on Cash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) isn't doing too hot in the fundraising department. He's got less than $6 million in the bank this month, and that isn't good for his future endeavors. Hillary Clinton has five times as much cash as he does.

Sanders has also been spending money at a much higher rate than Clinton, and his fundraising has all but evaporated.

Sanders’ rival had five times as much money, according to new Federal Election Commission filings, beginning the month with $30 million in the bank.

The two were on roughly equal fundraising footing last month, with Clinton and Sanders each raising more than $25 million. But the Vermont senator spent almost $39 million to Clinton’s $24 million, the reports showed.

This year, Sanders has averaged more than $40 million in spending per month, underlining how quickly he could blow through the cash he had on hand at the beginning of May.

Sanders has pledged to stay in the race until the DNC, which will be held the last week of July in Philadelphia. This being said, it's going to be hard to argue a viable candidacy if there's no money to be had.

While Sanders' campaign was once on fire, it's looking as though things will be Berning out pretty quickly.

Brace Yourselves, Ivy League–The Asians Are Coming

Despite the rise of qualified Asian-American applicants to Ivy League schools, the number of acceptances has dropped. The allegation that Ivy schools have discriminated against Asians has been hurled for years, but a new group is putting Dartmouth College, Brown University, and Yale University in the crosshairs by asking the Department of Education to launch an inquiry (via WSJ):

While the population of college age Asian-Americans has doubled in 20 years and the number of highly qualified Asian-American students “has increased dramatically,” the percentage accepted at most Ivy League colleges has flatlined, according to the complaint. It alleges this is because of “racial quotas and caps, maintained by racially differentiated standards for admissions that severely burden Asian-American applicants.”

The schools named in the complaint all said they used a holistic approach and evaluated each applicant individually in an effort to build a diverse class.

The complaint, said a spokesman from Brown, is without merit.


The complaint filed Monday by the Asian-American Coalition for Education, which consists of more than 100 organizations, makes many of the same points as the previous complaint against Harvard. It charges that the number of Asian-Americans at the three schools is capped and a special “just-for-Asians admissions standard” is in place. Admissions officers “often treat Asian-American applicants as a monolithic block rather than as individuals, and denigrate these applicants as lacking in creativity/critical thinking and leadership skills/risk taking.”

In an accompanying petition, the group said it filed this complaint because even if it hits a legal wall it will generate social and political pressure. After the Department of Education started investigating Harvard in 1988, its admission rate of Asian-Americans jumped to 16.1% in 1991 from 10.8%. After students filed a complaint against Princeton in 2006, its admission rate increased to 25.4% in 2014 from 14.7% in 2007.


The complaint against Harvard last year cited third-party academic research on the SAT exam showing that Asian-Americans have to score on average about 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African-American students to equal their chances of gaining admission to Harvard. The exam is scored on a 2400-point scale.

Last year, there were some stories that highlighted the Ivy League’s supposed “Asian Problem,” specifically at Harvard, which has a history of racism within its admissions process. In the early 20th Century, the school did have caps on Jewish students to maintain its reputation as a white protestant institution of learning. I don’t think racism is at play here with this complaint filed by the Asian-American Coalition for Education, but it does highlight that affirmative action is quite unfair—in education and the workplace.

Marvel Fans Want Captain America to Have a Boyfriend

On Tuesday, one of the top trending topics on Twitter was #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend as users expressed their desire for the Marvel superhero to be in a same-sex relationship in the next film.

Many have suggested that Captain America's best friend, Bucky/Winter Soldier, would be a suitable boyfriend.

A similar trend, asking Disney to give Queen Elsa a girlfriend, hit Twitter a few weeks ago.

While I personally don't care who Captain America wants to sleep with, I do find it upsetting that the concept of platonic love has been completely tossed aside in the minds of those shipping a Cap/Bucky romance. Love doesn't have to be sexual. A relationship can be completely fulfilling without progressing to the next level.

Hillary Caught In a Mix-Up: "You Should Be Willing to Debate Anytime, Anywhere"

Hillary Clinton just can't seem to shake off Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary.  After being challenged by the Vermont senator to a California debate, she has announced she will not participate in the potential debate.  

However, eight years ago while she was running against Barack Obama, she adamantly expressed that presidential candidates should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere.  

“Honestly, I just believe this is the most important job in the world. It’s the toughest job in the world. You should be willing to campaign for every vote. You should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere,” Clinton said on May 23, 2008.