Judge Orders KY Clerk Kim Davis to Jail Over Same-Sex Marriage License Refusal

Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, has been ordered to go to jail.

A federal judge has ordered a defiant Kentucky clerk to jail on Thursday after she defied the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling by refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, NBC News reported.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis that she would stay in jail until she complied with his order to issue the licenses. Davis replied "thank you" before she was led out of the courtroom.

Lawyers for four couples who sought marriage licenses from her but were turned down urged the judge "to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis' immediate compliance without further delay."

Davis, a Democrat, was elected to her position in 2014.

Maine Man Who Shot Intruder Robbing Him Told to Give Up His Gun

Harvey Lembo, a 67-year-old resident of Rockland, ME, was awoken late Monday night to find an intruder in his apartment rifling through his medications. Lembo told the intruder to "sit down while (he) called police," otherwise he would "blow his brains out." The intruder chose not to sit, and instead fled, and Lembo shot him in the shoulder. Now, Lembo is being told by his landlord that his gun has to go.

Lembo, who is disabled and uses a motorized wheelchair, had been robbed four times in the six years he had lived in his apartment, with thieves targeting cash and his prescription drugs. Fed up with being unable to defend himself, he purchased a revolver earlier on Monday. Hours later, his purchase most certainly came in handy. Despite the fact that his gun likely saved his life earlier this week, rules of his apartment complex state that he can't have one. While Lembo calls this policy "bull," he has agreed to comply. He's a sitting duck once again.

Park Place Apartments is managed by Stanford Management Co. of Portland. Russ Gagne, director of finance, said the firearm prohibition is part of the house rules for living in the apartments, and tenants sign a lease that requires they adhere to house rules.

“This is to ensure the safety of all tenants,” Gagne said.

He said owners and managers of private rental units can prohibit firearms. He said most multifamily housing developments have such prohibitions. Stanford manages about 1,500 units in Maine, he said.

I mean, I understand it's within the landlord's right to do this, but this seems a bit absurd. Clearly the safety of the tenants is already jeopardized if one man has been robbed numerous times. Lembo did a far better job at protecting himself and his property than any existing security system.

Additionally, it's kind of dangerous to publicize that Lembo, who is in possession of medicines that people routinely steal, is unarmed. A simple Google search will reveal precisely where in Rockland his apartment complex is located. This isn't good.

Making sure disabled elderly crime victims are unarmed will not make the town or apartment complex any safer. This policy could potentially cost people their lives.

McConnell: Defunding Planned Parenthood is 'Another Issue' That Will Have To Wait

Congress got pro-lifers’ hopes up when it announced that defunding Planned Parenthood would be a priority upon their return from recess next week. That is, until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave them a dose of reality:

“The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood,” McConnell said Monday on the Kentucky station WYMT’s “Issues and Answers.”

He expanded on his pro-life pessimism:

"We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome we like," he said during an interview with Kentucky TV station WYMT. "The president has the pen. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. We voted on that already in the Senate and we will vote on it again."

McConnell's glum attitude will not sit well with his pro-life critics, who are still frustrated that he dismissed the opportunity to include a Defund Planned Parenthood amendment on an emergency highway funding bill in July. The right to life movement rightly expects more from the Majority Leader.

The House of Representatives is also expected to vote on Rep. Diane Black’s (R-TN) bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Prompted by those horrid videos released from the Center for Medical Progress, Black has insisted it is their duty to bring such a bill to the floor:

“Over the past two weeks, we’ve all seen the gruesome videos showing the heartless depravity of this organization,” Black said in a speech Wednesday. “We issued statements, we made passionate floor speeches, and we pledged action. Now, our constituents would like to know when we’re going to follow through on that promise.”

In conjunction with these votes, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on the CMP's 3-year Planned Parenthood investigation. The hearing, titled “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider,” will focus on whether the abortion giant violated the partial-birth abortion prohibition.

It’s true Obama is not likely to let any bill past his desk that strips Planned Parenthood of taxpayer funding. Yet, that is no reason not to keep fighting for it. The unborn deserve some passion from our pro-life legislators.

RNC Moving To Secure No Third Party Run Pledges From Candidates, Especially Donald Trump UPDATE: He's Signing It

UPDATE: Sounds like he's going to sign it (via Politico):

A close associate tells POLITICO that Donald Trump plans to sign a loyalty pledge Thursday that would bind him to endorse the Republican nominee, and would preclude a third-party run.

**Original Post**

And. Here. We. Go.

Seeking to avert a 2016 disaster, the Republican National Committee on Wednesday challenged every GOP presidential candidate to sign a pledge not to undertake a third-party bid under any circumstances.

The challenge, confirmed by multiple campaigns, is aimed squarely at Donald Trump. And the timing of the pledge suggests an agreement has been reached.

While he is leading the packed Republican field in early polls, the billionaire businessman last month repeatedly threatened to launch a third-party bid — leaving open the possibility even at the GOP's first presidential debate last month — should he fail to claim the Republican presidential nomination. Such a decision would make it all but impossible for the Republican Party to win the White House in 2016.

RNC officials have been working privately with Trump's campaign for several weeks to avert such a scenario.

Over at Politico, they noted that the pledge goes something like this:

“I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is,” the pledge reads. “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”

They added that two campaigns reportedly spoke with RNC Chief of Staff Katie Walsh over the proposed pledge. The publication added that RNC spokesperson Allison Moore refused to comment, while the Trump campaign didn’t return their calls.

The Donald has switched positions on this issue. In July, he told The Blaze’s Dana Loesch that his “total focus is to run as a Republican and to win.” The next day, he said that he might run as a third party candidate if the RNC wasn’t “fair” to him. Yet, he seemed to have a change of heart again earlier this month when ABC News reported that the billionaire was reconsidering taking a no third party run pledge.

So far, the RNC has been somewhat fair to Mr. Trump. Despite his criticism of the first GOP debate, his support has grown; he’s way ahead in the polls; and he’s thus far the frontrunner for the nomination. He’s done everything that you’re not supposed to do when running for office, and he’s increased his numbers. It’s puzzled the media establishment. It’s left the consultant class speechless. And the Republican Party seems to be thinking that it's time to at least make moves towards a no third party run pledge since Trumpmentum doesn’t seem to be on the verge of ending anytime soon.

If Trump feels like he’s going to win, why not take the pledge? That’s what you do when you’re a member of a party, especially when your opponent is at the helm of one of the most vicious political machines in American politics. He can say that he’s a proud Republican, and he would garner the support (at least in spirit) from the rest of the field (who will also probably take the pledge) if he clinches the nomination.

Yet, we still have a long ways to go until Iowa. A lot can happen, with most in the establishment hoping that Trump is saddled with a pledge he hypothetically signed–and a crumbling campaign as voters in the early voting states begin casting their ballots. Then again, this is Donald Trump. He could break the pledge and still finance his own campaign with his own assets, though that would certainly guarantee Hillary Clinton moving into the White House by January of 2017.

Even with Trump signing the pledge, Politico quoted his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, saying that we can't "expect" anything from the Donald. So, as with anything in Trump world, it's all up in the air

Last Note: More on the risks and rewards for both sides with this pledge from Ed over at Hot Air:

This suggests that Trump’s taking this campaign seriously, perhaps more seriously than many thought and still think at the moment. Still, this cuts completely across his main draw. Voters flock to Trump because they’re angry at the Republican Party, which has won control of Congress and so far has seemingly done little with it. Locking himself into the GOP, and especially making agreements with its senior leadership, might well undermine that rogue quality which has thus far kept voters from caring too much about his history of left-of-center policy stands. It’s a risk for Trump, one that might just put him in the one category fatal to his populist aspirations: politician.

It’s a risk for Priebus, too, who will have to offer the RNC’s crown jewels to what might end up being a rogue prince. Given the mood among the base, Priebus can hardly risk shunning Trump, and will have to make do with a public pledge that has all the value and substance of “Trust me” in a business deal. Will a broken pledge matter to those flocking to Trump? Not now, certainly. It might when the primaries roll around and voters have to stop dating and finally marry a candidate, but that’s not a slam dunk either. Pinning a pledge on Trump will prove to be a very difficult act.

Reuters: 57 More Hillary Emails Contained Material That Was Classified at the Time

The latest round of court-ordered email releases revealed at least 125 messages containing classified information, including several sent by Hillary herself. The Clinton campaign responded with their favorite excuses: The emails weren't classified at the time, and they weren't marked classified at the time. Those distinctions are legally meaningless based on the laws and rules governing the handling of sensitive material, but perhaps they're partially reassuring to a concerned public and media. Enter Reuters, which first dumped ice water on this particular justification back in late August.  It's just not true that all of those newly-released emails with sensitive data were only deemed to be classified after the fact, the news agency reports:

"Here's my personal email," Hillary Clinton wrote to U.S. special envoy George Mitchell on a summer Sunday in 2010 as he telephoned one European official after another in an effort to keep peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians on track. "Pls use this for reply," Clinton wrote in her email, sent from the clintonemail.com account she set up on an unsecured, private server in her New York home for her work as secretary of state. Over the following hours, Mitchell wrote back to Clinton with summaries of his conversations, including one with Spain's foreign minister, who had briefed him on discussions with Palestinian leaders. The State Department has redacted the summary of the minister's thoughts, saying it is classified information...Clinton has maintained she did nothing wrong. She says she sent no information via email that was classified at the time, and received no material marked that way. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining Clinton's server to see whether information was mishandled...U.S. government regulations examined by Reuters say this sort of information, whether written or spoken, must be classified from the start, and handled through secure, government-controlled channels. The Clinton-Mitchell correspondence is one of 57 email threads found by Reuters in the latest batch of emails released on Monday that the State Department has marked as including the same type of information.

More details that explode Clinton's go-to explanation:

In all the 87 email threads examined by Reuters, the State Department has blanked out the confidential information in the public copies, adding the classification code "1.4(B)", denoting foreign government information. This is the only kind of information that presidential executive orders say is "presumed" to likely harm national security if wrongly disclosed. State Department regulations describe it as the "most important category of national security information" its officials encounter. If the State Department's markings are correct, it appears that Clinton and her senior staff routinely did not follow the regulations in the department's Foreign Affairs Manual, which tells employees they "must" safeguard foreign government information by treating it as classified. "It's hard to square the secretary's conduct with the strict letter of the FAM," Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American Scientists' government secrecy project, said in an email. The department and spokesmen for Clinton have declined requests to explain this apparent lapse.

Routine disregard for classification protocols.  Placing sensitive -- and in some cases, top secret -- intelligence on an unsecure private server that national security experts believe was undoubtedly penetrated by foreign governments. Mrs. Clinton's merry-go-round of excuses has produced a dizzying array of provable lies.  The public is not impressed:

I'll leave you with this:

Syrian Toddler's Lifeless Body Found on Turkish Beach Shocks World

The Syrian refugee crisis now has a horrifying image to its name: a young toddler whose body was found washed ashore a Mediterranean beach.

Aylan Kurdi, just 3 years old, was found lying on the sand on a tourist resort in Bodrum, Turkey after his family's boat capsized in an attempt to reach Greece, according to NBC News. His 5-year-old brother Ghalib and mother Rehan also died, along with other refugees on the same trip. From Reuters:

The two boats, carrying a total of 23 people, had set off separately from the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula, a senior Turkish naval official said. The confirmed dead included five children and one woman. Seven people were rescued and two reached the shore in life jackets. The official said hopes were fading of saving the two people still missing.

Kurdi's background may explain why his life had such a tragic ending. He was from the north Syrian town of Kobani, which had been the scene of heavy hostility between the ISIS and Kurdish regional forces in recent months, reports Reuters. Such violence has forced tens of thousands of Syrians to seek asylum in Europe.

The disturbing pictures of Kurdi lying face down in the sand will now and forever be a scarring image of the Syrian crisis, yet sadly his story is far from being an anomaly.

So far this year, more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, the UNHCR said.

The International Organization for Migration has determined that about 350,000 migrants have tried to make similar trips since January.

The fate of Kurdi and the other drowned victims has demanded international action.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of the charity Save the Children, said the "tragic image" was a reminder of "the dangers children and families are taking in search of a better life".

"This child's plight should concentrate minds and force the EU to come together and agree to a plan to tackle the refugee crisis," he added.

Arby's Apologizes To Law Enforcement After Employee Refused To Serve Police Officer

An Arby’s location in Florida was forced to apologize after an employee refused to serve a local police officer. USA Today reported that 19-year-old drive-thru clerk Kenneth Davenport at the Pembroke Pines Arby’s didn’t want to serve the officer, and was reportedly “short” when the order was being taken. South Florida’s Sun Sentinel identified the officer as Sgt. Jennifer Martin:

"At this time, the manager, Angel Mirabal, approached the window and stated, 'He doesn't want to serve you because you are a police officer.'"

Martin said that "Davenport had not processed my credit card and had to be ordered to do so by Mirabal.

"I explained to Mirabal that this made me extremely uncomfortable and now wasn't certain I wanted to dine at the restaurant," Martin wrote.

"Mirabal assured me everything was OK and handed me my food," Martin reported. "Mirabal even laughed and said he is allowed to refuse to serve me."

Martin said, "I was uncertain of the condition of my food and felt, for my safety, it would be best not to eat there."

The officer said she went inside the restaurant and received a refund from Mirabal, 22. The manager also gave her his contact information, Martin wrote, but "Davenport refused to have contact with me, ignored me and refused to provide his contact information to me."

No arrests were made. Martin said she filled out the offense report to document the incident.

The Sentinel added that Mirabal could not be reached for comment, but Davenport’s grandfather, Thomas McCutcheon, said the incident was a “misunderstanding.” The teenager was reportedly “overwhelmed” working the drive-thru, he asked his manager for help, he couldn’t see Officer Martin through the intercom, and didn’t know she was a police officer. Davenport told the Sentinel that the situation was "blown way out of proportion," but didn't offer further comments on the matter. The article added that Davenport’s grandfather insists that when Mirabel told Officer Martin that his grandson refused service, “Mirabal meant it as a compliment to the female officer, indicating it was instead his pleasure to serve her.” It was meant to be taken as a joke. I’m not sure I follow this logic (probably because there isn’t any), nor is this funny, especially when social media got a hold of this incident.

Grandfather McCutcheon says his grandson understands the dangers involved with law enforcement. We’ll see how this turns out. Arby’s company headquarters in Atlanta issued a formal apology over the incident, and the Pembroke Pine Police Department considers this case closed.

Regardless, this incident is similar to another nasty rendezvous between law enforcement and local business. Earlier this month, a police officer and his fiancé in Newton, Kansas received their Taco Bell order with the words “PIG” written on their wrappers. Taco Bell also issued a formal apology to the Newton Police Department and fired the employee who was at the center of the controversy.

Given the recent string of police officers being killed in the line of duty, one has to wonder where one’s head is when folks decide to engage in such deplorable behavior towards police. Yes, there is a legitimate debate about holding law enforcement more accountable, but that debate isn’t going to be moved forward in an Arby’s or Taco Bell. It will be grounded in the various conversations between law enforcement, activist groups, and elected officials and codified through policy. You can surely participate in the protests, or the larger debate, after hours. In the meantime, ring up the orders, serve the food, and quit messing around.

This post has been updated with additional information 

Amid Unrest, Twitter User Threatens to 'Kill All the White People' in Maryland County

As the pre-trial hearing for the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore got underway Wednesday, racial unrest followed. Under debate was the fate of six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American male who died in their custody. The judge decided the criminal charges against will remain and that they would each face separate trials

Police feared the worst, knowing full well what happened the night of April 27, when citizens burned buildings, looted stores and threw rocks at police. They essentially destroyed the city in retaliation of 'police brutality.' Wednesday's protests were not quite as disruptive, but they weren't exactly peaceful either. Before the judge even announced his decisions, protesters were already blocking downtown traffic, while others chanted slogans and waved "Justice 4 Freddie Gray" signs. One arrest was made as well. 

Then, panic ensued. 

Wednesday night, a Maryland county received a very disturbing threat. Here is the initial press release from the La Plata Police Department, via its Facebook page:


On September 2, 2015 at approximately 4:43 P.M., the La Plata Police Department was alerted to a threat of violence against La Plata residents that was made on social media. The agency is working with allied law enforcement agencies to establish the creditability of the threat and the identity of the individual. The tweet read, “IM NOT GONNA STAND FOR THIS NO. MORE. TONIGHT WE PURGE! KILL ALL THE WHITE PPL IN THE TOWN OF LA PLATA”

More information will be forthcoming as it is available. The Department has added extra officers to patrol in an effort to protect the public.

The individual was identified as Carlos Anthony Hollins and was taken into custody. The culprit continued, however, to post on social media and defend his tweet, insisting that he was just "joking."

Regardless of whether he was joking or not, the tweet was way out of line. Police do take such threats seriously, especially in the current environment, where cops are being murdered all across the country largely due to racial unrest. Katie has written about the "black lives matter" movement and how, instead of protecting lives, it is ushering in a 'cop-kiling culture.'  

Thank goodness this time it appeared to be a false alarm.

State Dept Worker Who Assembled Clinton’s Private Server Shies from Testimony

Bryan Pagliano was tasked with setting up the country's most controversial email server a few years ago. A State Department staffer under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pagliano set up her private server in her home in Chappaqua, NY in 2009. Because of Pagliano's close ties to the brewing email scandal, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked him to come testify so they could better determine if Hillary had placed national security at risk by dealing with classified information on an unsecure server. Pagliano declined.

A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server this week tried to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.

He may be using his constitutional rights, but Pagliano's attorney Mark MacDougall admits it doesn't look good.

“While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution,” his attorney, Mark MacDougall, wrote.

Hm. Perhaps he, like Hillary, seems to be hiding something.

Guy has followed the ever growing list of classified information found on Hillary's private email, despite her initial claims that she never sent nor received such sensitive material.  Now, it turns out those emails were not all so "personal" as she would have us believe.

It looks like shrinking from accountability runs in the Obama administration. One appearance Hillary does not seem to skipping, however, is a face-to-face meeting with the House Benghazi committee this October.

VA Inspector General Report: 307,000 Veterans May Have Died Waiting For Health Care

Editor's Note: Headline has been changed. The unreliable processing/data collection within the VA's Enrollment System regarding health claims means that it's possible that 307,000 may have died while awaiting health care. We don't know for sure since the system was never updated on a consistent basis, nor did they have "adequate procedures" to do so. 

Before Dan Doherty departed, he wrote about how the Veterans Affairs estimated that hundreds of thousands of veterans that were backlogged had died. At the time, Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center, divulged a report that was conducted within his department and that of the VA Office of Analytics titled “Analysis of Death Services. It was released in April of 2015. Now, the Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s report has given a better estimate: 307,000 may have died waiting for health care (via CNN):

Hundreds of thousands of veterans listed in the Department of Veterans Affairs enrollment system died before their applications for care were processed, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The VA's inspector general found that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency's system for managing health care enrollment, there were more than 307,000 records that belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past.

In a response to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs' request to investigate a whistleblower's allegations of mismanagement at the VA's Health Eligibility Center, the inspector general also found VA staffers incorrectly marked unprocessed applications and may have deleted 10,000 or more records in the last five years.

In one case, a veteran who applied for VA care in 1998 was placed in "pending" status for 14 years. Another veteran who passed away in 1988 was found to have an unprocessed record lingering in 2014, the investigation found.

VA Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday noted that whistleblowers have provided essential information “to pursue accountability and corrective actions in VA programs.” In all, nearly 900,000 veterans still have their claims pending review. Additionally, the report found that the Health Eligibility Center (HEC) deleted 10,000 records from the Workload Reporting and Productivity (WRAP) tool since co-workers improperly marked applications as complete. Yet, a full review is not possible due to improper cataloging and storage of data:

While the HEC often deleted transactions for legitimate purposes, such as the removal of duplicate transactions, information security deficiencies within WRAP limited our ability to review some issues fully and rule out manipulation of data.

WRAP was vulnerable because the HEC did not ensure that adequate business processes and security controls were in place, did not manage WRAP user permissions, and did not maintain audit trails to identify reviews and approvals of deleted transactions. In addition, the Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) did not provide proper oversight for the development, security, and data backup retention for WRAP. OI&T also did not collect and retain WRAP audit logs, evidence of administrative and user interactions within the database, in accordance with VA policy. In the absence of the audit logs, OI&T cannot analyze system activity for unauthorized or inadvertent undesired activity.

Overall, the Veterans Affairs scandal is a fiasco, and a national disgrace regarding the inadequate care and attention that's been given to those who have served our country. Waiting periods and “secret waiting lists” for sick veterans were unearthed in this tedious, frustrating, and wholly deplorable saga that still isn’t over. So far, only three Veterans Affairs personnel have been fired since the scandal broke in April of 2014.

Updates are sure to follow.

Baltimore: Six Officers In Freddie Gray Case To Have Separate Trials

As Cortney wrote earlier today, a judge refused to dismiss the criminal charges against the six officers who were involved in the death of Freddie Gray. There will now be six separate trials for the officers involved (via CNN):

A Baltimore judge ruled Wednesday there will be separate trials for each of the six police officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray.

The ruling represented a small victory for the defendants on a day that Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams earlier denied two key defense motions in the case -- one seeking its dismissal for alleged prosecutorial misconduct and another calling for prosecutor Marilyn Mosby to recuse herself.

Prosecutors had asked that three of the six officers be tried together; defense lawyers argued for separate trials for each

Williams said holding the trials together as the prosecution requested "is not in the interest of justice."

Gray was the subject of a controversial arrest on April 12. He suffered a severe spinal injury in police custody and died a week later. By April 27, the day of Gray’s funeral, the rioting and clashes with police had reached its most intense level. It reached a point where Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.

In May, Marilyn Mosby, the State Attorney for Baltimore City, indicted six officers in the death of Freddie Gray on charges that included vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, false imprisonment, and misconduct in office. Around the time of the indictments, crime began to spike in Baltimore.

At the same time, the situation placed the city’s police department under the microscope and found that it had a sordid history of false arrests and misconduct in office. With Mosby, she said that Gray’s knife, which was on him during his arrest, was legal. That didn’t turn out to be entirely truthful either.

Regardless, the police department is now more “hesitant” to do their jobs. The department is demoralized; federal agents have been brought in to work with homicide units to curb the violence; and the city is once again bracing for unrest.

Arrests were made earlier today during the pre-trial hearing.

Survey: 66 Percent Of The National Security Community Reject Iran Deal

To piggyback off Guy's post showing that Americans overwhelmingly oppose Obama’s Iran deal, a new survey conducted by Government Business Council and Defense One shows that 66 percent of the national security community also opposes the agreement. Additionally, the national security publication also found that almost an equal number–62 percent–feel that the country would be better off rejecting the deal:

The group’s outlook was even dimmer about the deal’s effect on U.S. allies. Most respondents said that it would have a somewhat or mostly negative impact on the security of Israel (71%), Saudi Arabia (67%), the Gulf Arab states (67%), Jordan (59%), Iraq (58%), and Europe (53%).


The survey was conducted by Defense One and Government Business Council, the research division of Government Executive Media Group, between August 20-27. The survey was emailed to a random sample of Defense One, Government Executive and Nextgov subscribers. There were 465 respondents from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and the military service branches. Of that total, 15 percent were active duty military and 7 percent were military reservists. Fifty-eight percent of respondents are at least GS/GM-13, or military equivalent. The margin of error is +/-3.29 percent.

Cortney wrote about Secretary of State John Kerry's press conference earlier today, where he defended the agreement–saying it's based on "truth, not trust."

Surprise: Three More Hillary Email Lies Exposed in Latest Document Dump

It's time to update the Hillary Lie Scoreboard, which is becoming a Herculean task. We've spelled out half-a-dozen verifiable lies already; the latest batch of emails released by the State Department -- which, I'll remind you, does not include any of the 30,000 "personal" emails Hillary's team unilaterally and permanently attempted to destroy -- contain yet more data points that disprove a series of additional untruths:

(1) Contrary to her prior insistence, Hillary personally sent classified material through her unsecure private server.  The Washington Post  reports:

While she was secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote and sent at least six e-mails using her private server that contained what government officials now say is classified information, according to thousands of e-mails released by the State Department. Although government officials deemed the e-mails classified after Clinton left office, they could complicate her efforts to move beyond the political fallout from the controversy. They suggest that her role in distributing sensitive material via her private e-mail system went beyond receiving notes written by others, and appears to contradict earlier public statements in which she denied sending or receiving e-mails containing classified information. The classified e-mails, contained in thousands of pages of electronic correspondence that the State Department has released, stood out because of the heavy markings blocking out sentences and, in some cases, entire messages. The State Department officials who redacted the material cited national security as the reason for blocking it from public view.

The "marked classified" and "retroactively classified" excuses don't hold water, for reasons elucidated by numerous national security and legal experts. The information in question was "born classified," so to speak, and officials with security clearances are heavily briefed on ensuring that sensitive material be identified and treated appropriately.  The nature of the contents of more than 125 additional emails now deemed to be classified were by definition classified from the very beginning. This revelation also blows up the contention that Mrs. Clinton was merely a "passive recipient" of classified materials. These six emails (so far) were initiated and sent by her to others.  Furthermore, multiple intelligence community sources tell the Washington Times that Hillary's "home brew" server contained highly sensitive information pertaining to North Korea's nuclear weapons, gathered by US spy satellites -- obviously and plainly sensitive information that was required by law to be disseminated only through proper channels.  Also, Team Clinton's contention that inter-agency disputes over classification standards make this whole business impossibly complex and confusing is also bunk.  An executive order from President Obama made clear that classification decisions are to be made by the agency from which the information originates.

(2) Hillary also solicited classified material
, and specifically asked that it be sent to her private, unsecure email server.  Via Mediaite and Rory Cooper:

In a separate exchange, Clinton demanded that a staffer email her information that was marked classified at the time, snapping at him after he expressed concerns about following the rules.  "Just email it," she wrote.

(3) Emails from off-the-books confidante Sid Blumenthal were not "unsolicited," as claimedJonah Goldberg noticed the relevant news buried in a New York Times story:

[Clinton] said the e-mails from Blumenthal were “unsolicited” missives from an “old friend.” This, of course, was a lie. The New York Times’s Peter Baker has a long piece on how Blumenthal was pretty obviously one of her closest foreign-policy advisers, as well as an “informer on domestic politics, keeping her up-to-date on the latest machinations in the White House and the campaign trail, even offering suggestions for midterm election strategy.” … Clinton “welcomed his input outside the normal chain of command,” told him “to keep ‘em coming” and “nudged” him to follow through on at least one promised memo. I’m no lawyer, but that sounds awfully “solicited” to me.

Another one bites the dust. Remember, the dodgy Mr. Blumenthal was on the Clinton Foundation's payroll at the time, having been explicitly banned from working at the State Department by the White House. It was the penetration of his private emails by hackers that provided evidence that Hillary Clinton had not, in fact, turned over every work-related message to the State Department -- a claim she continues to make to this day. Hillary Clinton's favorability rating has taken another blow, this time in the Democrat-friendly Washington Post/ABC News survey series. At 53 percent unfavorable, Hillary has sunk to her weakest position in seven years. I'll leave you with MSNBC's morning show panel ripping her dishonesty, shifting explanations and tortured parsing:

One more, for good measure. Simple question, no answer from the State Department. "I'm just not going to answer that question:"

Hillary, in March: "I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by."  The State Department this week: "No comment."  Experts: "Laughably," comprehensively  untrue.

Liberal Media Don’t Understand Christianity … At All

By now you’ve all likely heard about Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs. The Supreme Court on Monday tried to tell her she can’t do that, but she continued anyway, denying at least four gay couples a license on Tuesday morning.

"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience," Davis, a devout Christian who served as a deputy clerk for 26 years before being elected a clerk last November, said in a statement. "It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

You know what’s also relevant to this story, according to the Associated Press and other liberal news outlets like the New York Post? The fact that Davis has sinned in her life. Gasp!

Here’s how the Post introduced the story:

Moralist is apparently in quotes because they would like to point out she’s a hypocrite by committing other biblical sins in the past. But the beginning paragraphs in the actual story are all about how “she repented and pledged the rest of her life to the service of the Lord.”

Here's the AP's "reporting":

Kim Davis sat in a church pew on a Sunday morning about four years ago, listening as the man in the pulpit preached of forgiveness and God’s grace.

Davis was then an unlikely candidate to wage a moral war over the institution of marriage. At 44 years old, she had been divorced three times and had two children out of wedlock.

But that Sunday morning, as the preacher spoke from the Book of Galatians, she repented and pledged the rest of her life to the service of the Lord.

Now as the Rowan County clerk, Davis — despite her own checkered past — is refusing to surrender in a battle over who can and can’t be wed. She invoked “God’s authority” Tuesday as she defied a series of federal court orders and once again denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Attention, liberal media: we are all sinners. Jesus died for our sins, however, so if Davis repented and confessed as the story suggests, this is not a story at all. What, then, was the AP’s point in writing this? She is not a hypocrite, as her past sins have been wiped clean so to speak. Any Christian understands this, and up until now, I would have thought that even secularists would at least be familiar with one of the most fundamental aspects of the faith, to which one-third of the world’s population adheres. Guess I was wrong on that. But then again, I also thought “the man in the pulpit” is called a pastor. 

‘Take That, Bibi’: PBS Journalist Mocks Israeli Prime Minister After Iran Deal Victory

PBS journalist Gwen Ifill isn't even trying to hide her cheerleading for the Obama administration. After the president gained the 34th and final vote needed to secure his nuclear negotiation with Iran Wednesday, Ifill posted a simple message for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on her Twitter account.

The graph she retweeted was originally posted by the official White House account. It appeared to be a mockery of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations in 2012, when he presented an illustration of a nuclear bomb to demonstrate how Iran would progress in its dangerous pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

In the past, Ifill has been tasked with moderating vice presidential debates, covering seven presidential campaigns and interviewing politicians on significant policy issues. In other words, she is not in a role that is supposed to be open to editorializing.

Her online bio includes the reason she decided to pursue broadcast journalism:

"I always knew I wanted to be a journalist, and my first love was newspapers," Ifill said. "But public broadcasting provides the best of both worlds-combining the depth of newspapering with the immediate impact of broadcast television."

Now, she is feeling the immediate impact of posting a biased tweet, as outraged social media users are promptly responding:

One last note: Despite the media bias and Secretary of State John Kerry's reassurances that the administration's framework will 'get the job done,' Guy reported earlier today that Americans oppose the deal by (a not even close) 30 points.

10 Years After Hurricane Katrina – Are We Prepared?

In light of the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting American shores, our CBC exclusive author interview with Fox News Channel’s Senior Meteorologist and children’s author, Janice Dean, explores whether or not America is ready for another hurricane or not. In her new children’s book, Freddy the Frogcaster and the Huge Hurricane, Ms. Dean attempts to educate children and families about the dangers of Mother Nature.

Congratulations Ms. Dean on your new book, Freddy the Frogcaster and the Huge Hurricane! Can you give us an overview of your book?

Freddy the Frogcaster joins his friends Polly Woggins and Sally Croaker at the Frog News Network to help track a huge hurricane that is on its way towards their lily pad. Freddy has had plenty of practice having helped prepare his neighborhood from a big thunderstorm in the first book (Freddy the Frogcaster) and then the snowstorm in the second book (Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard), so when a hurricane is on its way, Freddy is weather-ready to warn his friends and family and make sure they are safe before the storm moves in.

What three key takeaways would you like readers to leave with after reading your book? And do you believe children’s books can educate children on complex subject matters, like Global Warming and the environment?

Freddy’s main message is to be prepared. If parents and kids are prepared for a weather event, it takes the panic or scare out of a potentially dangerous situation. This means having things like an emergency preparedness kit, knowing where to go if and when there is a severe weather event and keeping emergency numbers and a plan together beforehand.

The other takeaways are also hard work and that practice pays off. Freddy makes sure he is doing his very best to get his community aware and prepared for the hurricane – keeping alert of the latest weather watches and warnings, forecasting, and doing his part to broadcast the message to as many frogs as he can. His frog friends and family know that Freddy is dedicated to helping others, and he gets plenty of praise for his diligence and loyalty to his community.

The other part of it is about family and community. It’s important to have a connection to both especially during times of hardships, like a weather emergency when neighbors need to help one another.

As for the other part of the question, complex subject matters…I think if kids have a basis of knowledge on things and they want to find out more on a topic, this can be a springboard to learn more about weather or climate issues. I certainly hope these books will help inspire a next generation of meteorologists.

Your new book is also very timely as it is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this year. What, if anything, has improved or changed in the last decade in the way weather is reported, and how governments prepare their citizens for violent storms?

In terms of reporting storms, the technology and computer models have gotten a lot more precise as to narrowing the gap of where a storm could affect a certain region. But, it’s still not a perfect forecast. There is still uncertainty involved and if you are within a watch or area of concern you need to be paying close attention to your local forecasts and your local government officials.

One thing I am concerned about is we haven’t had a category three hurricane or higher hit the US in 10 years, and there are millions of new residents along the Gulf and Atlantic coast that have never experienced a hurricane before. The complacency is what I am concerned about.

As someone who works day in and day out in the weather reporting industry, do you believe that climate change is primarily caused by human action?

I am a meteorologist, so I report on weather events that are happening right now or in a short period of time. You’re best to ask a climatologist that question. However, I will say that predicting anything outside of a five day forecast is still incredibly difficult to find out what the weather or climate will be like in a few months, a few years, or even a few decades is next to impossible.

Tell us a little more about yourself personally!

Favorite Movie: The first movie that comes to mind is Groundhog Day. I also love When Harry Met Sally. Any 80s movie that brings me back to my childhood/teenage years – 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Favorite TV Show: I miss Mad Men. I’m looking forward to the new season of Homeland. It’s hard watching any television with two small kids though!

Favorite Food: Hard to pick one thing. I love everything from fancy Italian to sushi, or Chinese food. A good sandwich from Subway is pretty darn tasty too. And I have a big sweet tooth, so I always save room for dessert.

Favorite Drink: I love my coffee in the morning with creamand sugar. Otherwise I drink water and I’m always excited to have a glass of white wine on occasion.

Favorite Music Group: The Eagles.

Where do you get your news from primarily? Fox News Channel, of course.

If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be? I would like to see my dad again one more time. He died a few years back and I wish I had had just a little more time with him.

What do you do for fun? I enjoy going to dinner with my husband or my girlfriends once a week. Taking care of my boys and working fulltime keeps me busy so I appreciate the time when I can re-connect with my husband or good friends over dinner – time well spent. I also enjoy reading a good book and being excited to pick it up and lose myself in a good story.

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

I’ve always been an avid reader from a young age. I loved everything from Dr. Seuss to Alice in Wonderland to Nancy Drew. My husband and I both love to read, and have fabulous conversations about books we’ve read or recommendations we’ve gotten from other people. I just picked up the book All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and look forward to reading that. And one of the books I’ve always wanted to read but for some reason never got around to it – Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand is also sitting on my nightstand. I especially want to read that since we witnessed the first Triple Crown winner in 27 years, American Pharaoh, at the Belmont Stakes this year!

By the Way, Americans Now Oppose Obama's Iran Deal By 30-Point Margin

Just a friendly reminder on Obama's big day that the White House and its enablers couldn't care less about what the American people, or a majority of their representatives, think.  And hey, what's not to like? Quite a lot, actually, as we've chronicled week after week. This is a terrible deal, and the American people know it. They were very much open to the prospect a better deal, but they've rejected the reckless mess negotiated by Team Smart Power. Which brings us to the latest Q-poll results:

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 8.50.49 PM

This represents a slight erosion from Quinnipiac's previous survey on this question, and reflects data trends from a host of additional national polls. Despite the dramatic turn in public opinion, Democrats are lining up to protect Obama's legacy. As I wrote on Monday, opponents of the deal have been admitting what we now know for certain: They won't have the votes to overturn a presidential veto. At this point, they're hoping to defeat Harry Reid's planned filibuster -- which would deny Congress the ability to debate and vote on a hugely consequential accord struck with a sworn American enemy.  Scandal-plagued presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who is a chief architect of the Obama foreign policy, will formally endorse the deal in a speech next week; she's evidently unconcerned about these numbers:

Dozens of Democrats are refusing to go along with the partisan program, including (disgraced former judge) Alcee Hastings. The Florida Congressman lit into the deal in a speech this week, arguing that US interests would be better served by providing bunker-busting bombs to the Israelis:

If I was at table, what would I have led with. What I would have led with is, ‘ you need to give me good faith gesture now, and that is, release the three hostages,” adding that “when the Iran deal commenced, the world found out that Iran had the capability of building 1 to 10 nuclear weapons in a 2 to 3 month span. What in the hell is going to make us they aren’t going to cheat again?” … The president recently said that the people that supported the Iraq war are the same people that are in alliance with the Ayatollah and his functionaries, he did not say it that way, but you get my drift. I did not vote for the Iraq war Mr. President, and I am going to vote against your Iranian deal!

Hastings, like Sen. Bob Menendez, tears at the core of the White House's "warmonger" smear by noting that he voted against the Iraq war. As for the suggestion that the US help Israel destroy Iran's nuclear infrastructure, that course of action appears to be explicitly barred under Obama's agreement:

The United States and other world powers will help to teach Iran how to thwart and detect threats to its nuclear program, according to the parameters of a deal reached Tuesday to rein in Iran’s contested nuclear program. Under the terms of a deal that provides Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief, Iran and global powers will cooperate to help teach Iran how to manage its nuclear infrastructure, which will largely remain in tact under the deal…This will include “training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems,” according to the text.

I'll leave you with the Executive Director of 'Vets Against the Deal' making the case against the agreement, which has attracted opposition from dozens of former US military officers:

The Iranian regime is directly responsible for the murders of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq. "Death to America" isn't just an empty slogan to Obama's new "peace partners" in Tehran.

Judge: Moral AND Religious Exemptions Can Be Made For Contraception Mandate

A decision in the March for Life v. Burwell  lawsuit has paved way for more litigation and debate over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, with a federal judge ruling that moral objections are legitimate reasons to exempt an organization from the birth control mandate.

The New York Times  reported that March for Life, an organization that began in 1973 after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the country, filed a lawsuit against the Department for Health and Human Services over their contraception mandate for equal protection violations. The Times added that the group feels they’re being treated differently than other “similarly situated employers” by the government:

Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the government’s position. “This not only oversimplifies the issue — it misses the point entirely,” Judge Leon wrote.

“The characteristic that warrants protection — an employment relationship based in part on a shared objection to abortifacients — is altogether separate from theism. Stated differently, what H.H.S. claims to be protecting is religious beliefs, when it actually is protecting a moral philosophy about the sanctity of life.”

“H.H.S. may be correct that this objection is common among religiously affiliated employers,” he added. “Where H.H.S. has erred, however, is in assuming that this trait is unique to such organizations. It is not.”

Giving religious groups special treatment, Judge Leon wrote, amounts to “regulatory favoritism.” Moral philosophy, he said, should be accorded the same treatment as religious belief.

Of course, an appeal is going to be filed by the government. Last summer, Hobby Lobby won a limited victory in their lawsuit against the HHS mandate. The Supreme Court ruled that their objection was valid, but since Hobby Lobby is a closely-held, for-profit business, it only applies to similar entities. March for Life is a secular, non-profit organization. At the same time, the business already covered 16 of the 20 types of contraception outlined in the HHS mandate. The only four they objected to are the ones the business owners considered abortifacients.

For the other side, Ian Millhiser of the left-leaning Think Progress wrote that this is the “wackiest anti-birth control court decision to date.”

Friendly Reminder: At the time of the Hobby Lobby decision, Guy aptly noted that contraception isn’t illegal, it’s widely accessible, and vast majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are fine with it.

French Train Attack Hero Joins Cast of Dancing With the Stars

We already know Alek Skarlatos is quick on his feet--he did tackle an armed terrorist, after all--but now we're going to find out how good he is on the dance floor. It was announced today that Skarlatos, a specialist in the Army National Guard, will be joining the 21st season of Dancing With the Stars. He will be partnered with professional dancer Lindsay Arnold.

Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos has joined the Dancing with the Stars Season 21 cast! Alek became a worldwide hero in August when he helped avert a massacre aboard a Belgian train. While on vacation after a deployment in Afghanistan, the 22 year-old sprang into action when an armed attacker began shooting on the train. Alek and two of his friends, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and student Anthony Sadler, disarmed and subdued the attacker, who was armed with guns and a box cutter. The California native is an avid painter and military history buff. In between National Guard deployments, Alek studies at a local community college and plans to enter the police force. See Alek hit the dance floor on the Season 21 Premiere of Dancing with the Stars, MONDAY SEPT 14 8|7c on ABC.

Break a leg, Alek!

Alaska Lawmakers To Sue Governor Over Medicaid Expansion

The fight over Medicaid expansion in Alaska has reached a point of no return. The lawfare begins, as the Alaskan Supreme Court refused to block Gov. Bill Walker’s executive action to expand the program and bypass the state legislature who refused to do so. In July, Walker, an independent, said he could not wait any longer to convince state lawmakers that this is the right move which would give 20,000* additional Alaskans access to health care.

Now, the state legislature is set to sue the governor. On August 18, the state legislature secured the $450,000 to hire two law firms to bring a lawsuit against the governor based on constitutional grounds (via Alaska Dispatch News):

The Alaska Legislature on Tuesday said it will sue Gov. Bill Walker to block his move last month to expand the public Medicaid health care program without lawmakers’ approval.

Following a private discussion Tuesday morning, a Republican-controlled House-Senate committee voted 10-1 to spend up to $450,000 on two law firms to represent the Legislature in a suit against the governor.

One, Bancroft PLLC, is based in Washington, D.C., and represented more than two dozen states in their U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The second, Holmes, Weddle & Barcott, is based in Anchorage.

In a news conference after the committee vote, Republican leaders framed their decision to challenge the governor as a constitutional one. They’re seeking an injunction to stop Medicaid expansion from going into effect Sept. 1.

“This is not a policy issue — we’re not discussing whether we should or shouldn’t expand Medicaid,” said Senate President Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage. “This is a question of authority and process and our constitution.”

On August 11, State Sen. Mike Dunleavy sent a memo to Gov. Walker outlining the costs of expanding this government-run health care program and the legal consequences if he goes forward with unilaterally expanding the program. He also requested the governor not go forward with his unilateral action until the legislature “fully vets” the program. Obviously, it was ignored.

On Tuesday, the White House praised Gov. Walker’s decision. As of today, the Healthy Alaska Plan is in full effect. Kristina Ribali of the Foundation for Government Accountability has noted how Medicaid expansion is a budget buster for states. The people who are included in the expansion maybe low-income, but they’re mostly childless, able-bodied adults. One-third of those eligible have criminal records, and nearly half don’t work at all. On average, Medicaid expansion would force states to find two-to-three dollars in cuts from other parts of their respective budgets just to save one dollar in Medicaid spending.

Let’s also not forget the fact that in states like Virginia, almost one in four doctors aren't accepting new Medicaid recipients, making the proposed expansion in the Old Dominion problematic, along with the $1.3 billion price tag to help an additional 400,000 able-bodied adults (mostly young people), who have other options for health care.

Also, those without insurance actually fare better than Medicaid recipients, who have not experienced better care under this government program. No wonder Forbes’ Avik Roy called it a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

*Walker's administration says the figure could be as high as 42,000 people.

Analysis: Fiorina Gets Results as CNN Caves on Debate Rules

As Christine reported last evening, CNN has reevaluated the much-maligned participation threshold rules for its upcoming Republican presidential debate. As a result, Carly Fiorina will likely qualify for the 'main stage' forum; absent the change, the surging candidate would likely have been on the outside looking in. The previous standard's flaws were readily apparent, as National Review editor Rich Lowry explains:

CNN tried its best back in May to come up with fair, transparent standards for who will occupy the ten slots in its prime-time debate. It’s just that in the real world they make no sense. Consider the perversity of the CNN criteria. They will almost certainly exclude Fiorina, even though she is seventh in the current RealClearPolitics national polling average, ahead of John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and Chris Christie, among others; even though she tied for seventh in CNN’s own national poll in mid-August; and even though she has been surging in the early states, popping up to third place in the latest Iowa and New Hampshire polls, ahead of both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker...What happened? CNN decided to use polls going all the way back to July 16, weeks before the first Fox debate on Aug. 6 scrambled the field. This reaches back to a period when Fiorina was routinely polling at one or zero. On top of this, CNN is only considering polls from select organizations. Some of these polling outfits or news organizations aren’t doing national tracking polls of the Republican race; one of them — McClatchy-Marist — hasn’t done a poll since it said it doesn’t want its surveys used to determine debate eligibility; and others seem likely to wait until after the CNN debate to do their next survey. All of this means, perversely, that there will probably be more polls from before the first debate included in the CNN formula than after the debate. So, in effect, Fiorina’s performance in the first debate is wiped out.

Was wiped out, that is. This unjust formula has rightly been jettisoned for a more sensible one: Namely, the ten (and possibly more) strongest Republicans according to current, post-Cleveland polls will take the stage in Simi Valley on September 16.  Kudos to CNN for doing the right thing and rectifying a glaring, correctable wrong.  An even bigger tip of the cap is due to the Fiorina campaign, which effectively turned up the heat and forced the change.  When her polling position didn't earn her a spot at Fox News' debate in Ohio, Carly's team didn't whine about the decision. She hadn't earned it, they said, and she'd do her best to distinguish herself at the so-called 'undercard' debate.  Fiorina proceeded to do precisely that, winning universal praise as the exchange's decisive winner.  Having subsequently shot up in national and early state surveys, Fiorina's campaign recognized that CNN's pre-determined regulations relied on front-loaded polling that didn't reflect the shifting landscape.  Adopting new tactics, they went on offense, alleging that CNN and the Republican National Committee were conspiring to protect flawed, outmoded rules.  Their relentless, targeted, savvy strategy pushed all the right anti-establishment buttons, culminating in yesterday's petition signed by 250 prominent supporters demanding a change.  Within hours, CNN announced its revamped system.  Fiorina's deputy campaign manager declared victory on Twitter:

The campaign emailed a statement from Fiorina herself to those Townhall readers who helped push for this change: "We are so grateful for the support of Townhall readers for helping us challenge the political establishment and send out the message of grassroots activists from around the country," the former CEO said.  And thus concludes a political masterstroke: Fiorina avoided petty griping prior to the first debate, performed brilliantly on the smaller stage, gained in stature, framed a resulting struggle as a battle against the entrenched establishment, cultivated and mobilized allies -- and won.  The rest of the GOP field could learn a lot from Carly's example.  Now that she's achieved this goal (which may come at the expense of Rand Paul or Chris Christie), the pressure is now on for her to perform under the bright lights.  Fiorina -- whose unremittingfocused criticism of Hillary Clinton has won plaudits among conservatives -- also unleashed one of the more cutting lines about GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in Cleveland.  He responded in characteristically ad hominem fashion:

Now the two will have an opportunity to tangle face-to-face, and Carly will have a platform from which to introduce herself to a much wider audience.  This month's CNN forum is co-sponsored by Townhall's parent company, Salem Media Group.  Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt will join CNN's team to pose questions to the assembled candidates.

Obama Gets Final Vote Needed to Protect Iran Deal

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has given President Obama the final vote necessary to secure victory for his controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. From the AP:

Senate Democrats have rallied the 34 votes they need to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive in Congress, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the crucial 34th vote Wednesday morning, declaring the agreement is the best way to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The Obama administration may have had a touch of nervousness in the past few weeks, as a couple of notable Senate Democrats brutally rejected the deal and others were still on the fence. They have also faced continual pressure from Republicans, who plan to vote on a disapproval resolution. Now, however, with 34 votes safely in his pocket, Obama has everything he needs to veto it. 

Update: Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration’s Iran Deal in Philadelphia Wednesday morning, stating the White House enlisted the ‘broadest expertise available’ in drafting Iran Deal.

“The framework we have will get the job done.”

The restrictions to Iran’s nuclear program, Kerry insisted, will last for a lifetime. With this agreement, Iran centrifuges will be reduced and their nuclear stockpile will ‘shrink and shrink some, more,’ he further ensured.

Should Iran disobey the agreement, he said, the IAEA will be given access to uncover the truth and Iranian sanctions will ‘snap back into place.’

Failing to pass the nuclear agreement would be ‘self-destructive,’ Kerry said, weakening America and a producing a more dangerous Middle East.

“The multilateral sanctions regime will start to unravel and our negotiation leverage will diminish if not disappear.”

Acknowledging Israel’s alarm over the US negotiating with Iran, Kerry said that America’s support for her will remain ‘rock solid.’

The agreement, Kerry repeated, is based on ‘truth, not trust.’

Again: Arrests Being Made, Protesters Blocking Traffic at Freddie Gray Pre-trial Hearing in Baltimore

April 27, 2015 is a night Baltimore police want to forget. Protests erupted throughout the city after a young African-American male, Freddie Gray, died in the hands of police custody. Reports that he was treated harshly angered citizens, who let law enforcement know how they feel by throwing rocks at them, torching cop cars and local businesses - all in the name of "justice." Wednesday, a pre-trial hearing is taking place in downtown Baltimore and police are already bracing for the worst - again.

Outside of the Baltimore court house, activists are chanting slogans and holding "Justice 4 Freddie Gray" signs. Fox5DC spoke to one demonstrator and asked why he was spending his Wednesday morning at the hearing:

"We're not going to sleep on injustice," he said. "We want justice for all the victims of police brutality."

Other activists were not so calm. Social media users at the scene are taking snapshots of protesters who are blocking traffic.

Because of these activists' disruption, arrests are already being made, reports Fox 45.

Earlier this year, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Mr. Gray's death was a homicide and that her administration would be filing criminal charges against the six police officers in question. Today's trial will focus on two particular motions: Whether Mosby is guilty of prosecutorial misconduct and the charges against the officers should be dropped, and if she and her office should be recused from the case.

Updates to come.

Update: It looks like the criminal charges against the six police officers are staying put.

Exposing The Black Lives Matter Movement For What It Is: Promotion of Cop Killing

It's time to expose the Black Lives Matter [BLM] movement for what it is: a racist, violent hate group that promotes the execution of police officers. The evidence is in their rhetoric and written on their shirts.

If you take a look at the Black Lives Matter Twitter feed, you'll find photos of activists wearing shirts that say, "Assata Taught Me." 

They're referring to infamous cop killer Assata Shakur, otherwise known as Joanne Chesimard, who shot and killed a New Jersey State Trooper back in 1973. In 1977, Shakur was convicted and sentenced to prison but quickly escaped and has been a fugitive in Cuba ever since. She's also on the FBI's most wanted terrorism list. BLM glorifies Shakur as a hero and uses her writings and materials during training sessions. Lee Stranahan has more

BlackLivesMatter—the activist group that demands a “racial justice agenda” that includes constant criticism and activism against police—invokes the words of convicted cop killer Assata Shakur at “all its events.”
At a recent event for female bloggers, BlackLivesMatter leaders had a crowd of thousands repeating lines from a letter written by Shakur that include an explicit reference to the Communist Manifesto.
The BlackLivesMatter group, which has met with President Obama and largely been given a free pass by the media, has skyrocketed to national prominence after its involvement with unrest and rioting in Ferguson, Baltimore, and a recent takeover of events the Netroots Nation conference for progressive Democrats in Phoenix, Arizona.
Assata Shakur, who has been living in exile in Cuba for over thirty years, is a hero to communist revolutionaries for her involvement in the 1960s and 1970s with a violent, criminal Black Panther Party offshoot called the Black Liberation Army. Shakur and the group robbed several banks as a revolutionary act and eventually killed a New Jersey State Trooper with his own gun after a highway stop in 1973.

Former Black Panther Party member Kathleen Cleaver, who is a supporter of Shakur, is "thrilled" about the BLM movement. 

TR: So what do you think of Black Lives Matter?
KC: I’m thrilled to see such concern for the community. I think Black Lives Matter is exhilarating, exciting, and I’m really glad that it’s here. 

Now, onto those who condone this behavior and the rhetoric being used. 

Not only have the leaders of the Democrat Party refused to condemn the movement, they've desperately tried to embrace it. In the age of Obama, where Democrats thrive on division and embrace a racial justice narrative, this isn't surprising. 

Last week at the DNC summer meeting in Minneapolis, a resolution was passed in solidarity with the movement. BLM later rejected it.

"The DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black lives matter’ and the ‘say her name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children," the solidarity resolution states.

The day after the resolution was passed, BLM activists in Minneapolis chanted, "pigs in a blanket, fry em' like bacon," as they marched down the street. This rhetoric also came just one day after the execution of Texas Sheriff Deputy Daron Goforth while he was filling up his patrol car at a local gas station. If you aren't familiar, "pigs in a blanket" refers to the bodies of dead police officers in body bags. 

Last night I made an appearance on The Kelly File to discuss BLM (the segment wasn't cut short, we just ran out of time). 

Despite Richard Fowler's claims that he's "watching a different Black Lives Matter movement," we aren't and the calls for police executions are not isolated incidents (he also lied about the Tea Party connection to the Tucson shooting of former Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, there wasn't a connection as he claims but that's a topic for a other post). In December the man who killed two NYPD officers while they were eating lunch in their patrol car posted on his Instagram page, "Going to put pigs in a blanket" before carrying out his killings. In Ferguson when news of the NYPD slayings hit, BLM protestors chanted and celebrated, "Pigs in a blanket!" We saw the same over the weekend in Minneapolis. This isn't happening in one place, it's happening around the country. BLM activists are using their own words and inspiration from convicted cop killers to promote the assassination of police officers. 

Finally, it's important to point out two-thirds of the African American community flat out reject BLM or strongly disagree with the movement's tactics. From the Washington Post

The baby boomers who drove the success of the civil rights movement want to get behind Black Lives Matter, but the group’s confrontational and divisive tactics make it difficult. In the 1960s, activists confronted white mobs and police with dignity and decorum, sometimes dressing in church clothes and kneeling in prayer during protests to make a clear distinction between who was evil and who was good.

But at protests today, it is difficult to distinguish legitimate activists from the mob actors who burn and loot. The demonstrations are peppered with hate speech, profanity, and guys with sagging pants that show their underwear. Even if the BLM activists aren’t the ones participating in the boorish language and dress, neither are they condemning it.

"It's a racist movement, racist to the core...denounce the Black Lives Movement and replace it with All Lives Matter."

Los Angeles Awarded US Bid for 2024 Olympics

Following the death of Boston's 2024 bid, the United States Olympic Committee has awarded the bid to Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon.

Los Angeles had been the runner-up during the previous bidding process eight months ago.

Los Angeles' city council voted unanimously to support the bid. Other bids for the 2024 games include Rome and Paris.

The city last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1984. The IOC will announce their decision of the 2024 host in 2017.