Horror: ISIS' Surreally Repugnant Treatment of Women


Here we have an actual -- non-political -- war on women, via the Washington Post:

Amid all the Islamic State's atrocities — its massacres of civilians, its beheading of hostages, its pillaging of antiquities — the systematic violence the jihadists have carried out against countless enslaved women and girls never fails to shock. For months now, we've heard appalling testimony from women who escaped the Islamic State's clutches, many of whom endured rape and other hideous acts of violence. Zainab Bangura, the U.N.'s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory..."They are institutionalizing sexual violence," Bangura said of the Islamic State. "The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology."

This is what a true "rape culture" looks like (as does this). The Post reports that an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 women and girls are being held as sex slaves by the terrorist army, with Yazidis (a religious minority perversely considered to be "devil worshipers" by ISIS' demonic degenerates) being treated with particular barbarity. The piece quotes the the UN's Bangura, who documents unimaginable horrors.  Fair warning -- this is difficult to read:

After attacking a village, [the Islamic State] splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold. There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive. We heard about one girl who was traded 22 times, and another, who had escaped, told us that the sheikh who had captured her wrote his name on the back of her hand to show that she was his "property" … They commit rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and other acts of extreme brutality. We heard one case of a 20-year-old girl who was burned alive because she refused to perform an extreme sex act. We learned of many other sadistic sexual acts. We struggled to understand the mentality of people who commit such crimes.

In addition to its revolting abuse of women and girls, ISIS is busy conquering territory across two countriessolidifying its presence in a third, and seizing control of priceless antiquities, which they tend to destroy, out of a zealous, nihilistic anti-aestethicism.  They're also summarily executing innocent people by the hundreds, including children:

When ISIS captures a city, the bloodshed is hardly over, as the militants summarily execute captive fighters and residents by the dozens. In Syria, they have killed more than 250 of them in less than two weeks. At least 13 of the victims were children, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian expat watch group. As ISIS has taken control of the Syrian city of Palmyra in the last 10 days, it has executed 217 people there and in other towns caught in the military campaign, SOHR said...Beheading was the preferred method of their execution.

Sickeningly, the brutal murder of children isn't unusual for this Islamist horde.  As ISIS 'inches closer' to the Iraqi capital, CNN reports that the mood is darkening in Baghdad:


The "good" news is that locals doubt Baghdad will fall to ISIS -- not because of popular confidence in Iraq's security forces, but because Iran won't allow it. The White House said last week that President Obama's ISIS strategy is an overall success.

DEA Agents Busted For Running a Strip Club On The Side

In April, we found out a number of Drug Enforcement Administration agents participated in sex parties hosted and paid for by Columbian drug cartels, the very same criminal enterprise they were supposed to be dismantling. Now, a new report shows DEA agents in New Jersey ran a strip club as a side job while still being employed with the agency. To make matters worse, they attended the club while on the clock for the DEA, meaning while they were being paid by taxpayers. 

A now-retired DEA Assistant Special Agent-in-charge -- and an IT specialist -- are charged with falsifying national security forms -- and lying during background-checks.

They are accused of failing to disclose outside employment -- that could put them -- in proximity to crime -- and at risk for blackmail.

The FBI also claims that the agents tended to strip club affairs -- while on the clock for the DEA.

The FBI is investigating the case.

Over the past few years a number of federal law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service and the DEA, have been under heavy scrutiny by Congress for bad behavior.

End of Discussion: Head Explosions And Standing Up To Bullies With Keyboards

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun) by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson. Copyright © 2015 by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson. Published by Crown Publishers, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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You’re perched in front of your laptop, eyes boring holes into the screen. A familiar, uneasy feeling swells inside you. Moments ago, you logged in to Facebook, where a gray-lettered prompt in small font beckoned you with four innocuous words: What’s on your mind? Something is on your mind, as it happens; it pertains to a viral national controversy, and a lot of people in your feed have been buzzing about it. You’ve entered a few sentences reflecting your opinion into the status field, and now you’re anxiously eyeing the post icon. One click, and your take will officially be on the record, permanently. Sure, there’s an edit button, and a delete function, but the Internet is forever. You’ve posted hundreds of statuses before, accumulating countless “likes” and sparking a handful of debates, but this time feels different.

The hot story du jour is fraught with . . . let’s call them sensitivi- ties. A significant number of people in your “friend” orbit aren’t going to agree with your minicommentary. That’s fine with you, in theory, but you’re increasingly aware that disagreement of this type may not end well. You’ve seen it happen: angry comment “flame” wars erupt, friendships are strained or dissolved, heavy-duty names are called, and motives are impugned. HR departments have even gotten involved on occasion.

Here’s the thing: you don’t want to be lumped into the “bad person” camp—a fate that awaits those who fail to convey the proper feelings on a matter of public debate. You’re confident you don’t deserve it, and you know what is, and is not, in your heart. But other people might not, and some won’t care. They might seize on a word or a sentence fragment in your post, and things could spiral from there. Posting a selfie, or a music video, or that adorable photo of your dog is far less likely to get ugly (one doesn’t typically get called a bigot posting about one’s puppy), so you select the text you’ve entered and trash it. It’s just not worth it. You click away from the page and move on.

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A growing number of Americans are beginning to sense an insidious strain of self-censorship in themselves, either explicitly or subconsciously. You find yourself keeping your mouth shut about controversial issues like gay marriage or so-called women’s issues because you’d rather not suffer the social costs of being cast as the enemy by the increasingly aggressive thought police. They have enforcers everywhere—at the office, at dinner parties, and all over the media. This silencing impulse isn’t born out of normal or healthy self-reflection and restraint; it arises out of fear. Nor is it part of a free society’s natural process of discarding truly pernicious ideas after open discussion, making marginalization the rightful cost of losing to better arguments. Instead, outrage mongers turn this process on its head, disqualifying ideas without debate instead of after debate.

The fear to speak is cultivated by people who actively work to raise the social cost of engaging publicly on any number of issues. We call them the Outrage Circus. They are highly ideological, often deeply partisan, and relentless in their vigilance, ever on alert to name and shame violators of their approved order. Once you’ve violated one of their capricious and fluid “rules”—even unwittingly—malice is attributed, and restitution is demanded. Nothing short of full, professed repentance shall suffice.

But sometimes even that is not enough, as the relentless, pedantic hall monitors of our discourse often see fit to exact economic costs for perceived social transgressions. Think or express the wrong ideas, and they’ll come after your livelihood. Play the wrong Top 40 hit at a club? Pink slip for you, as one college DJ found out in North Carolina. Uncomfortable with hosting a same-sex marriage ceremony in your own home? That’ll be a $13,000 fine, as a couple with a small business in New York discovered. Display the wrong piece of modern art on an American campus, and you’ll bring scandalized activists and professors down on you, as Tony Matelli realized when his realistic tighty-whitey-clad statue Sleepwalker was shunned and vandalized on the Wellesley College campus after being deemed potentially traumatic for women on campus. Hell, even Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler has had her work banned because it’s not sufficiently inclusive of women.

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Thought policing is strictest on America’s college campuses, so much so that the idea of a campus as a place of freewheeling free inquiry and speech is almost a laughable relic of a bygone era—a theme we’ll expand on in chapter 5. The outrage industry’s most loyal adherents and enforcers are leftist activists, often trained on campus to believe that protecting certain people from offense in the public sphere is a higher calling than defending free expression. Thus, seemingly without irony or familiarity with Orwell, free speech becomes an exercise not in pushing boundaries but in creating new ones, openness is about closing off, and radicals become more puritanical by the day.

In leftist circles, participants vie viciously for the title of most socially aggrieved in pursuit of the ultimate social windfall—the sanitization of the public square of the arguments of one’s adversaries. We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. A bevy of liberals in good standing, Bill Maher and Dan Savage among them, have felt the sting of violating the grievance hierarchy. Jonathan Chait, in a 2015 essay for New York magazine, called the “new p.c.” a “style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.” This system, he wrote, “makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible.”

It might be fun to watch this snake devour itself from the tail in a paroxysm of censorship if it weren’t for the fact that the Outrage Circus is so intent on exporting these practices to the rest of society. And unhappily for us, their regulations are most unsparingly enforced against conservatives of all stripes.

Commenting outside of the ever-shifting lines of “correct” thinking and preapproved terminology has always been a problem sweated by politicians and their publicists. No more. While public figures still bear the brunt of the Circus’s acrobatics, “normal” people are no longer exempt. If moments of heterodoxy among liberal lights are punished, imagine what, say, a libertarian homeschooling mom might be in for. Thus, some are turning to self-censorship as the hassle-free, easy way out of being attacked. But it also results in being left out of the conversation. This move toward acquiescence isn’t just limiting. It’s dangerous for society.

North Korean and Islamist terrorists brought new attention to the problem in 2015 in dramatic and tragic fashion, throwing into stark relief the choices and dangers free society faces. In the case of Sony’s The Interview and French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, those who found artistic speech offensive launched criminal and unspeakably violent attacks with the object of preventing such speech in the future. A disturbing number of free society’s spokespeople and publications failed to defend that speech, some even arguing for self-censorship, in the face of these attacks. If we’re not willing to fight bullies with keyboards and petitions, we’re certainly not going to stand up to bullies with machine guns.

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While Rick Santorum Whines About Rules, Carly Fiorina Steps Up To GOP Debate Challenge

Last week Fox News announced rules for its August 6, 2015 GOP primary debate, the first debate of the 2016 cycle. CNN did the same for its September 16 debate. Currently, the Republican field sits at nearly two dozen potential candidates. Fox's rules allow for 10 to be on-stage. CNN allows for two groups to debate with 10 frontrunners on stage and a second group of less popular contenders invited to participate in a another forum. Getting into the top 10 on-stage will be determined by averages of public opinion polling. You can learn more about the rules and what they mean for the 2016 field here

The rules announcement and requirement of relevant poll numbers didn't sit well with potential 2016 candidate and 2012 presidential primary loser Rick Santorum

"I'm probably the best person to comment on this. In January of 2012 I was at 4 percent in the national polls, and I won the Iowa caucuses. I don't know if I was last in the polls, but I was pretty close to last," Santorum said. "And so the idea that a national poll has any relationship to the viability of a candidate—ask Rudy Giuliani that. Ask Phil Gramm that. You can go on down the list of folks who were doing real well in national polls and didn't win a single state and were not a viable candidate."

"If you're a United States senator, if you're a governor, if you're a woman who ran a Fortune 500 company, and you're running a legitimate campaign for president, then you should have a right to be on stage with everybody else," Santorum said. "So the idea that we're going to arbitrarily—and it's arbitrary, someone at 1.15 is in, someone at 1.14 is out—that to me is not a rational way."

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina took a different approach, without the whining, and is stepping up to the challenge to get on stage in the top 10. Fiorina announced to supporters last week that she accepts the rules and looks forward to complying with them. 

"Friend, Fox News just announced how they will select participants for the first debate. I’ll skip straight to the point: I look forward to participating in the Fox News debate. I’ll make it clear that I’m ready to take on Hillary Clinton," Fiorina sent in an email to supporters. "But I need your help to get on that debate stage. In order to secure an invitation, I need to grow my team of supporters. You already know I’m working hard -- in Iowa and New Hampshire, and all across the country. But this is going to take more than hard work. The career politicians have a big head start. I need the resources necessary to broadcast my message to more Republicans." 

Over the weekend Santorum, Fiorina and a number of other potential candidates participated in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who hasn't officaly declared his candidacy yet, seems to have come out on top. 

A Poem From Major Michael Davis O'Donnell

The Vietnam War is probably one of our most controversial conflicts in American history. It’s one that severely damaged the reputation of the military, and prompted more than a few left-leaning college students to label Vietnam veterans as baby killers, murderers, or worse. Regardless of one’s opinions for the war, over 500,000 men were sent to Vietnam. A little over 58,000 never made it back home. There are legitimate debates surrounding the Vietnam War, but Memorial Day is about remembrance. The vast majority of Americans served with honor in Vietnam, though there were periods when our troops did engage in war crimes.

Nevertheless, that’s not what we’re supposed to dwell on today. If you ever have a chance to see the movie Hamburger Hill, I highly recommend it. It deals the usual brotherhood-in-arms themes, but also touches upon how soldiers were treated upon returning to America. It ends with the following poem, which could be applied to any American military venture.

If you are able,

save them a place

inside of you

and save one backward glance

when you are leaving

for the places they can

no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say

you loved them,

though you may

or may not have always.

Take what they have left

and what they have taught you

with their dying

and keep it with your own.

And in that time

when men decide and feel safe

to call the war insane,

take one moment to embrace

those gentle heroes

you left behind.

Major Michael Davis O'Donnell

1 January 1970

Dak To, Vietnam

Major O'Donnell was listed as missing in action in 1970 while in Cambodia. His remains were returned to the United States in 2001.

To The 36,000+ Who Gave Everything In Korea – Thank You

The Korean War is often regarded as a “forgotten war.” It was waged between 1950-1953. It was a brief, but bloody conflict between communist and anti-communist forces that marked one of two times (the other being the Gulf War) in which the United Nations went to war. Over 36,000 Americans died in Korea. On this Memorial Day, while every American should honor the brave men and women who died keeping our nation safe, I especially remember those who died to keep my home country free of the pernicious influence of communism.

These 36,000+ who sacrificed their lives allowed untold millions to benefit from what would become one of the largest free market economies in the world. South Korea is part of the G20, with an annual GDP of $1 trillion. Very few nations are part of this club, and it’s an economic feat that would have seemed more of a pipe dream in 1953, as most of South Korea was destroyed.

It allowed over 150,000 South Koreans to find homes–and hopefully loving families–in America. I, for one, would not be here if it hadn’t been for American troops fighting to keep a people they really didn’t know free from communist aggression.

Now, it hasn’t always been an easy road to democracy. South Korea has been dotted with periods of authoritarian governments, and the National Security Act of 1948 curtails their free speech laws. Nevertheless, the quality of life compared to that of their northern neighbors couldn’t be starker, with South Koreans living more vibrant and healthier lives.

Thanks to American troops landing in Inchon in 1951 (South Korean forces were on the brink of defeat by this time), South Koreans can enjoy freedom. To the hundreds of thousands of Korean adoptees, we have the ability to call America our home, living with loving families, and enjoying the rights and liberties as American citizens; having the ability to study at the best learning institutions in the world; climbing the proverbial social ladder; and possibly achieving the American dream.

Right now, there is a movement to severely curb or end Korean adoption. I strongly disagree, but in a free society–or societies based on representative government–you can have the debate without the fear of being sent to a re-education camp, tortured, or murdered as they do in North Korea.

That's a debate for another time. Right now, it's important to remember that no war where the blood of tens of thousands of Americans has been spilled should ever be considered forgotten. To the 36,000+ Americans who died in Korea, thank you for all you have given us.   

Sports Taking a Hit in Tax-Heavy Baltimore?

The anti-capitalist environment in Baltimore has left city sports in an uncertain state. Thanks to Charm City's high property taxes, Pimlico race track owners, the site where the Preakness is held, are considering moving their horses elsewhere

Herein lies the problem:

In Maryland, regulators are like co-owners: Not only did you not build that, but you’re not free to run it, either. Of course, there are tracks elsewhere that would surely like to host a Triple Crown race and that are not subject to Maryland’s regulatory dictates.

In the past, when city governments have exercised extreme regulations over businesses, it has often had fatal results. Detroit's economy suffered under the highest property taxes on homes in the nation, in addition to the top commercial property tax, and the second-highest industrial property tax, before filing for bankruptcy in 2013.

The poor business environment in Baltimore is coupled with the attraction of other more business-friendly regions.

At the city’s current property-tax rate, for example, a $100 million investment at Pimlico — probably less than required to make the crumbling facility world-class again — would cost its owners almost $2.25 million in added annual property taxes.

The racial unrest in Baltmore has also been injurious to the city's sports teams. Following the controversial death of Freddie Gray, rioters threw rocks at police and burned down local businesses in the name of 'racial justice.' Because of the violence, the Baltimore Orioles games scheduled for the next day was closed to the public and played in an empty stadium. The unoccupied seats left the city with a $1 million deficit. 

The social unrest and anti-free market culture in Baltimore don't bode well for athletic locations like Camden Yards and Pimlico. If Charm City isn't friendlier to its sports business owners, those famous horses may be racing from more than just the starting gate.

Video: Free Beacon Speaks With Veterans About What Memorial Day Means To Them

Col. William DeGraf U.S. Army (Ret.) served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam said, “Memorial Days is a chance for the country to remember those who have passed before; who have been part of the family called Americans.”

Bob Miller is the person he thinks about every day. He knew him since his days at Fort. Bragg. Miller was killed while he and DeGraf were on a scouting mission; Miller was killed 10 feet in front of him. Yet, DeGraf also says he thinks about his other comrades who didn’t make it home.

Col. Edward Burr U.S. Army (Ret.) was wounded in Carentan during Operation Overload in July of 1944, but survived. He got married, raised a family, and enjoyed a blessed life after history’s most terrible war.

“We enjoyed all this country has to offer,” he said. “And that’s what these young people that were in those graves might have done if they had lived, so we need to honor them with tears and honor their valor in what they did in helping to keep this country safe and as wonderful as it is today,” he added.

Major-General George Rebh U.S. Army (Ret.) said it’s a solemn day, a day to reflect on the people who didn’t make it home and commemorate their sacrifice for keeping this country safe and to honor their contribution to that end. Many of his classmates were killed in World War II.

LTG Julius W. Becton, Jr. (U.S. Army) (Ret.) noted that he too reflects on his fellow comrades that had fallen, and what they might have been if they had made it home.

Yet, Col. Burr also said that we should also think about the families of the fallen, and how their loss affected them.

“There were 400,000 men and women killed in World War II. They left behind a trail of probably two or three million people directly affected y their loss,” he said.

Our freedom has been paid with the blood of 1.3 million Americans since our founding, and we should be eternally grateful to these extraordinary men and women who decided to give it all so we can have so much.

Carter: Ramadi Fell Because 'Iraqi Forces Showed No Will to Fight'

In its biggest military accomplishment this year, the Islamic State last week took Ramadi, a key Iraqi city the U.S. fought to secure roughly a decade ago. Now that the dust has settled, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter was frank in his assessment of what went wrong.

“What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," Carter said. "They were not outnumbered; in fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves."

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed. "The ISF was not driven out of Ramadi," he said last week. "They drove out of Ramadi."

[T] he fall of Ramadi is reviving questions about the effectiveness of the Obama administration's approach in Iraq, a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, prodding the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad to reconcile with the nation's Sunnis and bombing Islamic State group targets from the air without committing American ground combat troops.

Obama's strategy is predicated on Baghdad granting political concessions to the country's alienated Sunnis, who are a source of personnel and money for the Islamic State group. But there has been little visible progress on that front. Baghdad has continued to work closely with Shiite militias backed by Iran, which have been accused of atrocities against Sunnis, a religious minority in Iraq that ruled until Saddam Hussein fell from power.

The U.S. has sought to reach out on its own to Sunni tribes and is training some Sunni fighters, but those efforts have been limited by the small number of American troops on the ground.

While Carter defended the use of airstrikes, he cautioned that they are not intended to be a replacement for the Iraqi military standing up to defend their country.

"We can participate in the defeat of ISIL," he said. "But we can't make Iraq ... a decent place for people to live — we can't sustain the victory, only the Iraqis can do that and, in particular in this case, the Sunni tribes to the West."

Iran, meanwhile, blamed the fall of Ramadi on the U.S. having “no will” to fight ISIS. 

Democrats Miss the Point of Memorial Day on Twitter

Oh...not again.

I've written before about the bizarre gaffes committed by the official Twitter of the Democrat Party. On Friday, the account @TheDemocrats tweeted out a Memorial Day Weekend greeting featuring a picture of the president consuming an ice cream cone.

Memorial Day Weekend, is, of course, a day for honoring soldiers who died while serving their country. While it's generally regarded as the unofficial kick-off of summer, one would think/hope that a major political party in the United States would have a bit more tact.

CNN's Jake Tapper summed things up nicely:

Video: "Our Country is in Mourning, For a Soldier Died Today"

A beautiful lyric indeed, excerpted from A. Lawrence Vaincourt’s immensely popular 1987 poem Just a Common Soldier. The poem, however, also happens to be the subject of Concerned Veterans for America’s latest tribute video, which was released a few days ago just in time for Memorial Day and the holiday weekend.

It is excellent, and I highly recommend watching it below (via WZ):

Global Warming Continues To Pummel Polar Ice Caps By Not Causing Them To Melt

As I've written previously, we’ve experienced the calmest Hurricane season in 30 years, the quietest tornado season in 60 years; the creation of 19,000 Manhattan islands worth of sea ice, and (again) the Arctic Ice Cap has grown by 533,000 square miles. In 2007, the BBC warned the cap could vanish by 2013. Oh, and we’re at the most industrialized point in human history–and air quality couldn’t be better, according to the EPA.

Now, the polar ice caps aren’t melting. In fact, they haven’t retreated at all. James Taylor of the Heartland Institute wrote in Forbes that the 1979 baseline on polar ice recorded a figure with that was unusually high, so when some melted we didn’t really need to panic. Well, the green warriors of the world did, but the ice rebounded in 2012. Taylor wrote,“Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.” [emphasis mine]

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the “normal” baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.)

A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe. Al Gore even predicted the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.

Now, in May 2015, the updated NASA data show polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 average.

It’s been recently reported that there’s so much sea ice around Antarctica that vessels carrying scientists and supplies are having trouble reaching the research stations there. It appears global warming isn’t melting any polar ice in her ongoing campaign against earth and humanity. Additionally, she decided not to make 2014 the warmest year in history. Global warming, we are still waiting for you to kill us all.

Last week, President Obama said global warming is a threat to national security. So, why did the CIA shut down their climate research project?  As Leah wrote, this is pretty "awkward timing," and another example that this administration really doesn't know what's going on regarding threats to the country.  ISIS is pushing forward, China is upgrading their ballistic missiles, Yemen has fallen, the Iran nuclear deal is fraught with uncertainty.  Is anyone home?

Editor's note: James Taylor works for the Heartland Institute (still a great organization), not Forbes. The post has been updated to reflect the changes. 

The ATF Should Be Scrapped … Says Center For American Progress?

The Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has been the source of ire on the right, especially since their most recent proposal to ban green tip AR-15 ammo, which is commonly used. It was done under the guise of “law enforcement safety,” though if anyone bothered to read FBI crime statistics, rifles are rarely used in crimes, let alone green tip ammo being used to target police officers. After the failed ban attempt, ATF Director B. Todd Jones decided to resign and take a job with the NFL.

Now, a report from the left-leaning Center for American Progress says that federal law enforcement agency should be scrapped and merged into the FBI (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, charged with enforcing the nation's gun laws and regulating the firearms industry, has been so hobbled by high-profile operational failures, internal dysfunction and external limits on its authority that the agency should be eliminated and merged into the FBI, a new report concludes.

The report, by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, comes in the wake of a bill by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) that seeks to dissolve the agency and move its law enforcement and gun industry regulatory functions into the FBI and other agencies.

The bill and the report are the latest in a series of efforts, from both sides of the political spectrum and even by veterans of the ATF, to reform or eliminate the agency. In July, a Government Accountability Office report on the ATF described an agency trying to redefine itself while struggling with high personnel turnover and internal problems.

The report's authors interviewed more than 50 current and former ATF personnel, and retired Supervisory Special Agent Mark D. Jones advised the authors. The report's argument boils down to this: The vital job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is too important to leave to a weakened, embattled agency like the ATF.

"ATF, as it currently exists, suffers from substantial weakness that compromises its ability to effectively combat gun crime and regulate the firearms industry, and a new director or piecemeal changes cannot fully solve these problems," the report concludes. "It is time to consider a major reboot of how these issues are addressed at the federal level and for an overhaul of the federal law enforcement agencies responsible for doing so."

The report's proposal to fold the ATF into the FBI differs in at least one significant way from Sensenbrenner's bill.

Sensenbrenner's proposal would keep the prohibition against the ATF publicly sharing data about how many crime guns are sold by gun dealers. The new report says those limits hinder law enforcement's ability to enforce gun laws. Gun rights groups have pushed hard to get those limits and keep them in place.

An earlier Journal Sentinel investigation revealed how those and other special rules created by Congress protected corrupt crime gun dealers and allowed them to escape ATF punishment by shifting its ownership.

Gun control and gun rights groups both came out against Sensenbrenner's proposal last year. The National Rifle Association didn't have a comment on Sensenbrenner's bill last year, but the NRA made it clear recently that the group is against dissolving the ATF. Jennifer Baker, an NRA spokeswoman, said the problem with the ATF is not where it is located.

"The Obama administration has only contributed to ATF's dysfunction by politicizing the agency to advance its gun control agenda," she said. "No matter where the ATF is located, nothing will change until we get a president who respects the Second Amendment."

In 2011, the ATF became involved in a highly embarrassing scandal where they simply lost track of 1,400 weapons intended to track the dealers and buyers of these illegal arms sales with Mexican drug cartels. It failed miserably–and a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was murdered with one of the lost weapons. And, unlike Operation Wide Receiver, which was smaller in scope, Mexican law enforcement officials were virtually kept in the dark on Fast and Furious. Reportedly, the Mexican government was working closely with the ATF on Wide Receiver. It should also be noted that while both operations had their problems, Receiver never involved the death of the Border Patrol agent.

In a more recent fiasco, the ATF has reportedly been targeting the mentally challenged for gun violations, disproportionally arresting minorities, and leaving their government-issued firearms in sewer grates, on top of cars (and then driving away), public bathrooms, and other venues. The ATF refuses to release the protocols for agents regarding keeping their firearms in their vehicles since it will leave them open to robbery. Nevertheless, an ATF spokesperson could not say if the weapons that were lost, but later recovered, were used in any crimes in the interim period in which they were out of the government’s possession.

In another moment of sheer incompetence, the agency left behind highly sensitive information about undercover agents when they conducted a 10-month storefront sting operation last year. And, by highly sensitive, I mean  just some stuff like the names of the agents, their vehicles and the cell phone they used.  No big deal, right? 

Defense Secretary: Iraqi Army Has No ‘Will To Fight’

Last week, ISIS forces took over Ramadi. It was their most significant victory in months. It also showed that airstrikes weren’t working in stopping the fledgling terrorist organization from taking more territory in Iraq. Moreover, when Iraqi government forces retreated from Ramadi, they left various U.S.-supplied vehicles, including tanks, behind that are now considered to be in the hands of ISIS. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that the Iraqi army wasn’t outnumbered, but they a lacked the “will to fight.” Iraqi government officials said such allegations of no Iraqi fighting spirit were “baseless” (via AP):

The Islamic State group's takeover of the provincial capital Ramadi is stark evidence that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a TV interview that aired Sunday. The harsh assessment that raised new questions about the Obama administration's strategy to defeat the extremist group that has seized a strategically important swath of the Middle East.

Although Iraqi soldiers "vastly outnumbered" their opposition in the capital of Anbar province, they quickly withdrew last Sunday without putting up much resistance from the city in Iraq's Sunni heartland, Carter said on CNN's "State of the Union." The interview aired on Sunday.

The Iraqis left behind large numbers of U.S.-supplied vehicles, including several tanks, now presumed to be in Islamic State hands.

"What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," Carter said. "They were not outnumbered; in fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves."

The White House declined to comment on Sunday.

Iraqi lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili, the head of the parliamentary defense and security committee, called Carter's comments "unrealistic and baseless," in an interview with The Associated Press.

"The Iraqi army and police did have the will to fight IS group in Ramadi, but these forces lack good equipment, weapons and aerial support," he said.

American officials say they are sending anti-tank weapons to the Iraqi military. But they also noted that Iraqi forces were not routed from Ramadi— they left of their own accord, frightened in part by a powerful wave of Islamic State group suicide truck bombs, some the size of the one that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City two decades ago, said a senior State Department official who spoke to reporters last week under ground rules he not be named.

"The ISF was not driven out of Ramadi," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week. "They drove out of Ramadi."

The Pentagon this past week estimated that when Iraqi troops abandoned Ramadi, they left behind a half-dozen tanks, a similar number of artillery pieces, a larger number of armored personnel carriers and about 100 wheeled vehicles like Humvees.

Right now, less than 20 percent of Americans think we’re defeating ISIS. Retired Army General Jack Keane spoke before the Senate Armed Service Committee last Thursday and said we were losing. So far, the Obama administration’s strategy seems to be holding steady, and by steady, I mean allowing ISIS to continue their land grab campaign in the Middle East. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on May 21 that defeating ISIS will “take some time.”

“I don’t think that they will find a lot of support on the part of the American people for a large-scale deployment of military resources to essentially re-invade Iraq—or invade Syria,” he added. Actually, a CBS News poll conducted in February found that 57 percent of Americans supported sending ground troops to fight the Islamic State.

Last noteThis wasn't Bush's fault

Poll: Less Than 20 Percent Think We're Beating ISIS

Clearly, President Obama has convinced himself that the United States is holding its own against the terrorist army ISIS.

“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” he recently told The Atlantic in an exclusive interview.

Public opinion, however, is not on his side.

A new Rasmussen survey demonstrates that a plurality of respondents believe ISIS has the upper hand in the present conflict, while at the same time very few Americans think we’re actually close to defeating them.

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe ISIS is winning, up five points from 38% two months ago," the pollsters write. “Just 18% now think the United States and its allies are winning, compared to 25% who felt that way in mid-March. Twenty-nine percent (29%) still think neither side has the advantage.”

Not only has a major Iraqi city fallen in recent days, but the extremist group has also taken control of the Iraq-Syria border. This will give them increased and renewed influence in the region as they continue their death march across the Middle East. National security experts, meanwhile, strongly believe that the war will almost certainly be lost without a change in strategy—and soon.

Judging, however, by the president’s rosy reassurances—and the statements of his press secretary—that’s very unlikely to happen.

Awkward: CIA Shuts Down Climate Research Program After Obama Frames Climate Change as National Security Threat

Speaking to cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard this week, President Obama said that those who deny global warming are putting America at risk. Not only that, to ignore it would be a “dereliction of duty.”

"Denying it or refusing to deal with it undermines our national security,” he went on. “We need to act and we need to act now."

Talk about awkward timing:

The Central Intelligence Agency is shutting down a research program that offered classified data to scientists to examine the link between climate change and global security threats.

A CIA spokesman confirmed that the agency had ended its MEDEA program, a 1990s-era intelligence program restarted in 2010 under President Obama. The collaboration gave scientists access to intelligence assets like satellite data to study climate change and inform on how its impacts could inflame conflicts.

CIA spokesman Ryan Whaylen said "these projects have been completed and CIA will employ these research results and engage external experts as it continues to evaluate the national security implications of climate change." […]

The research effort, as with most environmental work, has drawn the ire of congressional Republicans. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming has particularly been critical of the intelligence agency's environmental work, saying in 2010 that "should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves, not polar bears on icebergs."

And generally, Republicans have been scornful of the defense community's work on climate change, saying that the administration is ignoring the threat of terrorism and global instability in favor of environmental goals.

Of course Republicans have been scornful.

The week Obama gave that speech Ramadi had just fallen to ISIS, North Korea announced it could make nuclear weapons small enough to place on missiles, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is reportedly using chemical weapons against his own people again. Sen. James Inhofe was right when he said Obama is “disconnected from reality.”

Russian Senator Calls for Ban on Young Hockey Stars Moving to North America

A former NHL star turned Russian senator has had enough with the country's young talent fleeing Russia's Kontinental Hockey League for the NHL. Slava Fetisov, who moved to the United States in 1989 to play for the New Jersey Devils following a relaxation of Soviet law that prohibited any athlete from moving to North America, has called for a law that would prohibit any player under the age of 28 from playing in North America.

Russia has been known for playing hardball with its young players to keep them from moving to the NHL. It was rumored that current Washington Capitals player Evgeny Kuznetsov was promised a spot on the Russian national team in the Olympics if he stayed in the KHL--and when that failed to materialize he promptly jumped ship and moved to Washington.

Out of the 11 Russian-born players to have been drafted in the first round of the NHL draft since 2010, only four played exclusively in Russian leagues prior to the NHL. (The rest played in Canadian Major Junior leagues, such as the Ontario Hockey League.)

This is the latest attempt by Russia to mix hockey and politics. The Russian team came under fire when the majority of the players left the ice prior to the playing of the Canadian National Anthem during the medal ceremony of the IIHF World Championship. Prior to playing the United States in the tournament semifinals, a player on Russia's team was quoted saying that his team wanted to "teach those college kids a lesson." The Russian federation also accused the referees of being biased for the Americans in an earlier loss in the tournament.

From a purely selfish angle (Go Habs and go Caps), I hope this law doesn't go through. One would think that Russia would consider it to be a source of pride that her home-grown players absolutely dominate the best players from the rest of the world, rather than force them to stay home to prop up a struggling league.

Hm: All 15 Charter School Applicants Rejected in NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) recently proposed the Parental Choice in Education Act as a way to provide more opportunity for parents in choosing which schools would be the best fit for their children. The legislation would use $70 million in taxpayer money to create an education tax credit for families making $60,000 or less. Parents who qualify could receive up to $500 in a tax credit or refund for each student attending a private school. Among other benefits, it would also encourage more private school scholarships.

"This is about fairness and this is about parents choosing the school that is right for their children," Cuomo said on Sunday, as he promoted the idea in four churches in New York City. "We must reward donations to support public schools, give tax credits to teachers who pay for classroom supplies out of pocket, and ease the financial burden on families who exercise choice in sending their children to a nonpublic school."

Cuomo said his administration’s goal is to raise the cap of charter schools from 460 to 560.

However, a new report all but proves this is a far fetched goal and that school choice is non-existent in New York. Fifteen charter school applicants who applied to operate in the state have just found out they’ve all been turned down.

The State Education Department tried to justify the rejections, simply stating that none of the schools met their standards.

“We always look for quality and these applications didn’t measure up,” Education Department spokesman Dennis Tompkins said Wednesday. “We invited several of the applicants to reapply in June and we gave them suggestions on how to improve their applications.”

Yet, others argue these denials do little more than defend the interests of teachers unions. Jeremiah Kittredge, CEO of the pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools, said as much.

“The timing and nature of these blanket rejections should raise serious concerns for New Yorkers.”

“The last thing parents would want to see is the politics of the moment standing in the way of opening more high-quality public charter schools for students,” Kittredge said. “Solving New York’s failing-schools crisis requires both that independent authorizers move swiftly to open strong charter schools and Albany to eliminate the charter cap.”

The prevalence of charter schools has been a constant point of contention between the governor and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. While Cuomo has actually tried to take power from teachers’ unions and put it into parents’ hands, De Blasio has made it clear he’s the unions’ champion. What's more, his administration has insisted there’s no need to raise the cap.

There is some good news for the rejected charter school applicants. All 15 will have a second chance to apply come June 23, when the current legislative session ends. 

This is one fight I hope Gov. Cuomo wins, for parents' sake.

Biden to Annapolis Grads: You Are the Real One Percent

On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden attended the commencement ceremony at the United States Naval Academy, serving as the college’s 2015 graduation speaker.

During his speech, which lasted some 30 minutes, he alternated between light-hearted jokes about the daily grind of being a cadet, and bringing attention to the seriousness and importance of the occasion.

“Class of 2015, you were among the most promising high school students on the planet,” he said. “No one would have blamed you for choosing an easier path. But you chose service. You chose honor. You chose to join the real one percent that protects the 99 percent of the rest of us here in America.”

“Today, you graduate from one of the most venerated military and academic institutions on the entire earth,” he continued. “You spent your summer abroad on real ships rather than at internships, and the specter of living in your parents basement after graduation day is not likely to be your biggest concern.”

More seriously, however, he heralded the sacrifices the soon-to-be-commissioned officers were making, both personally and professionally, by joining the United States Navy. But at the same time, he reminded them that such a career path—while honorable—does not come without grave responsibilities.

“We, your fellow Americans, expect a great deal from you,” he intoned. “Not just your physical courage, but your moral courage as well, which at times can be even harder to muster. [As] officers in the United States military, you must demand that every one of your fellow sailors and marines is afforded the dignity—and respect—that they deserve, no matter their race, gender, faith, or sexual orientation.”

“As leaders of the United States Navy, we count on you to refuse to tolerate sexual harassment or sexual assault in any form—under any circumstances,” he added. “It’s a matter of honor that you prevent that.”

But, he said, more will also be required of Annapolis graduates and officers.

After all, many will soon find themselves in harm’s way.

“I have been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq over 27 times,” he announced. “Thirty-five thousand of you marines—and 5,000 sailors—at this moment are deployed ashore in conflict areas.”

“You are everywhere,” he declared.

Finally, while he noted that the life all cadets choose for themselves is both dangerous and unglamorous, their service and training is needed now more than ever.

“You remain indispensable,” he said. “America’s command of the oceans is the measure and the symbol of our diplomatic and military primacy in the world. As George Washington remarked during the Revolutionary War, ‘It follows then as certain, as the night succeeds day, that without a decisive naval force, we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.’ That hasn’t changed one single bit.”

“We cannot promise you fame or money,” he concluded. “We cannot promise you a calm or quiet passage. But I can promise you that, beyond the exception of ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘husband,’ and ‘wife,’ there will be no title you will more proudly bear than being an officer in the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.”

Clinton Foundation: Oh, We Made Additional $12-26 Million From Speeches Given By the Former First Family

So, the Clintons have been making some big money since January of 2014. They’ve made $25 million worth of speaking fees since then, and Guy noted that after they left the White House; Bill began earning $24,000 a day in the first few months after leaving the presidency. But, remember they were “dead broke,” or something.  Now, the Clinton Foundation has disclosed an additional $12-26 million in revenue from donations, $12 million of which came from the former first family's speaking engagements. Nevertheless, this attempt at transparency is overshadowed by the rather disconcerting allegation that Clinton staffers at the State Department might have blocked some FOIA requests (via Politico):

Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton brought in more than $12 million in speaking fees since 2002 that was donated directly to their family foundation, covering a a total of 97 speeches across the U.S. and around the world, according to data made public for the first time Thursday night.

The new list of paid speeches gives a more complete financial picture of the Clintons’ high-dollar public appearances. A personal financial disclosure filed last week by Hillary Clinton shows that the couple made over $25 million in personal income on public speeches since the beginning of 2014.

The release of appearances where fees went directly to the family charity offered no explanation for how the Clintons decided which speeches should go to the foundation and which to the Clintons’ own pockets.

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey wrote that the Clinton Foundation listed these speaking fees as revenue–and didn’t disclose them per an agreement with the Obama administration:

There are a couple of notable entries on the new set of books released by the foundation. Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who owns a considerable interest in the New York Times, paid Hillary Clinton as much as $500K for one speech through his Telmex Foundation. Qatar First Bank paid Bill Clinton a similar amount. The government of Qatar also arranged for another Bill payday in the same range at the Brookings Institution for the US Islamic World Forum.

Needless to say, the two instances of government involvement in the Clinton Foundation are more than problematic during the tenure of Hillary at State, especially Qatar. Nominally a US ally, Qatar was until last summer the main diplomatic partner of Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by State. What is the Secretary of State doing by accepting cash from Qatar through a spouse while representing the US as its top diplomat in that highly sensitive and precarious relationship? What would Israel (among others in the region) think about the direction of US policy while someone who’s getting money indirectly from the then-partner of Hamas?

In a sane world, this kind of corruption would be disqualifying

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

Santorum: These New Debate Rules at Fox Are Kind Of BS

Let’s be serious: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is running for president in 2016.

But after reviewing the questionable new debate rules being implemented this year by Fox News, as Guy wrote up earlier this week, wherein candidates polling in eleventh place or higher are essentially denied participation rights, the former senator spoke to National Journal in an exclusive interview.

And, of course, he wasn't very happy.

"I'm probably the best person to comment on this,” he said. “In January of 2012 I was at 4 percent in the national polls, and I won the Iowa caucuses. I don't know if I was last in the polls, but I was pretty close to last. [And so] the idea that a national poll has any relationship to the viability of a candidate—ask Rudy Giuliani that. Ask Phil Gramm that. You can go on down the list of folks who were doing real well in national polls and didn't win a single state and were not a viable candidate."

His frustration is understandable, though I don’t believe he has any chance of winning the nomination. But he raises an interesting point: Shouldn’t he at least be allowed on stage, even if he isn’t polling high enough, given how he fared in 2012? That is to say, doesn’t he have more credibility than any other first-time candidate, even if that particular candidate edges him in the polls? While there is a case to be made that all candidates should be allowed to debate on stage at once, Santorum’s argument is particularly strong given he went further than any other GOP hopeful in 2012 before conceding the nomination. As it stands now, however, it seems likely that Santorum will be denied access to key nationally televised debates, while less serious and credible personalities will not be.

Naturally, this issue isn’t going away. But at the same time, the major networks have to contend with a field that has roughly 16 candidates. How do they give them all a fair shake, without appearing biased and partisan?

That, my friends, is the million dollar question.

Islamic State Takes Ramadi, Obama Preaches Climate

On this week's Townhall Review:

Bill Bennett and Mark Thiessen on Islamic State’s stunning capture of Anbar province–formally secured by the United States before President Obama pulled the troops. Dennis Prager on Islamic State’s continued triumphs. Hugh Hewitt with Kirsten Powers, author of “The Silencing.” Charles Krauthammer and Hugh Hewitt discuss Obama’s ongoing itch to vilify Fox News. Prager on Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev receiving the death penalty–and Boston’s pathetic anti-death penalty reaction to it. Bill Bennett with Jonathan Last, senior writer for the Weekly Standard, they discuss fatherhood. Michael Medved on California Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez (D) and her caught-on-camera Native American war yelp during campaigning.

The Friday Filibuster: All For Nothing?

The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.

Closing numbers:

60% of Americans who believe terrorists are likely living in their communities.

55,000—the number of Hillary Clinton’s emails the State Department plans to release 'portions' of in January 2016.

51% of Democrats pretty much want to destroy the First Amendment.

6—the number of Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray were charged.

32-15—the final vote in the Nebraska legislature in favor of abolishing the death penalty.

$26 million—the amount the Clinton Foundation failed to disclose in payments. 

$30 million--the amount party of the people Bill and Hillary have banked since last January. 

Foreign policy failures

The key Iraqi city of Ramadi has fallen to ISIS in their biggest victory to date this year, and it’s wasn’t Bush’s fault. According to Robert Gates, Iraq was in pretty good shape in 2010 and early 2011. Ramadi’s capture shows that, even though the White House believes otherwise, the U.S.’s current strategy to defeat ISIS has failed, which is an assessment coming from Gen. Jack Keane. The White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest did admit, however, that defeating the group will ‘take some time.’ That’s not surprising given that President Obama thinks global warming is a more pressing national security threat. Meanwhile, here at home, the NYPD Police Commissioner is so worried about ISIS in the Big Apple that he wants 400 officers dedicated to combating the threat, and the FBI is already reaching out to students in high schools across the Tri-State area warning them about ISIS’s online recruitment threat. And in other foreign policy news, Iran says that nobody is allowed to inspect its nuclear facilities. Worse yet, in the event of an Iranian missile launch, neighboring countries only have four minutes to react

Campaign & election news

Another presidential candidate jumped in the race this week (Sen. Lindsey Graham), while others dropped hints that they would likely be running as well (Govs. Bobby Jindal and John Kasich). Given the expansive field, Fox News and CNN are setting up some boundaries ahead of the first Republican debate that will “require contenders to place in the top 10 in an average of the five most recent national polls in the run-up to the event.” 

Planned Parenthood asked supporters to vote for which Republican presidential candidate (both announced and tbd) poses the worst threat for women in 2016. Among their options? Carly Fiorina, the only female GOP candidate. Unreal. 

HRC happenings

The Clinton Foundation has some more disclosure problems and Hillary’s email scandal continues. According to a NYT report, her emails contain sensitive information that trace the Benghazi story, and she also used an address her lawyers claimed didn’t exist. Oh, and while at state (where she had no achievements according to Iowa Dems), her staff sometimes blocked FOIA requests. Guy Benson has some questions for Her Majesty, even though she hates questions from journalists. There will be a lot after Friday's document dump, however. By the way, did she already reveal her running mate as Julian Castro?

Groan-inducing stories of the week:

  • Administrators at a South Carolina high school told a student he couldn’t fly the American flag out of his truck. Fortunately, however, this story has a feel-good ending: the order prompted dozens of parents, students, and veterans to protest, waving the flag out of their vehicles.
  • Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., compared the struggles of Afghan women to a college student who lied about rape.
  • The Boy Scouts banned water gun fights between scouts because they are “unkind.”
  • You know how much the government spent on the TSA full body scanners? Forty million. Now, can you guess how little they’re selling them for, some of which are brand new? Ten dollars. 
  • And in case you missed it, the USDA has actually published a guide to roasting marshmallows. Sigh.. 

In other news:

From coast to coast, Obamacare is still awful. The NAACP lost a court battle to silence a black pro-life activist critical of the organization’s policies. In D.C., a federal judge struck down a provision of its new carry law that required applicants to show “good reason,” ruling that it is unconstitutional. Cortney also caught up with Taya Kyle, who spoke about the controversies surrounding the film “American Sniper,” her lasting love for her husband, her new book, and more.


Graphics by Townhall Graphic Designer
Feven Amenu. 

Friday Document Dump: State Department Releases First Round of Clinton Emails (All 298 Of Them)

Just in time for the long, three-day, kick-off to summer Memorial Day weekend, the State Department has released the first round of emails belonging to former Secretary Hillary Clinton. There are just under 300 of them. I would post some of the documents here, but the page on State.gov hosting them is down (naturally).  UPDATE: Back up. You can read the emails here

Although the emails reportedly cover the time period when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked on 9/11/2012, State Department Deputy Press Secretary Marie Harf insists the emails contain no new information.

The State Department announced plans earlier this week the rest of Clinton's emails, which were hosted on a personal server before they were deleted, should be reviewed and released by January 2016.

More to come.

A Liberal Woman Admits She Has a Gun And It's Awesome

When I get asked about how to change the perspective of an anti-gunner, particularly on the left, I always tell people to extend an invitation to the shooting range. Why? If the invitation is accepted, the person you take will more than likely have a fantastic time and will want to go again. This can eventually lead to their first gun purchase and the rest become history. But most importantly, taking them to the range allows them to find out that the media has been lying to them about guns for years.

Earlier this week a woman named Jenna Glasser published a piece titled "I'm a Lefty With a Gun" over at xoJane as an "unpopular opinion." She writes about why she bought a gun as a liberal who is supposed to be against them. Her choice to be a firearm owner comes down to two main things: personal security and fun (bolding is mine). 

For years, I was what we lefties in Texas refer to as, "A bright blue dot in a big red state." I believe in recycling, social services, a woman's right to choose, and immigration. I spent a lot of time defending these things around my red friends, and bemoaning this defense around my fellow blue dots.

And then I bought a gun, and everything changed. I was shamed by the blue dots and consoled by the red. I turned purple.

When my fellow blue dots found out I owned a gun, they were shocked. Gape-mouthed and stunned to speechlessness, they usually recovered with, “What are you thinking?” or, “How could you?!”

How could I? Here’s how: I lived alone in a sweet 1905 cottage in a historic section of east Dallas, with original heart pine on the floors and exposed shipboard walls. The first vacation I took after I bought it, someone entered uninvited and stole my new drill, my cheap DVD player, and my expensive tequila. The next three unwanted advances cost me three different laptops and over 100 CDs. And those were just the physical costs.

The emotional costs were much greater. After each break in, I wouldn’t sleep for days. I would move into the guest room, and curl into a tight ball of nerves with a comforter pulled over my head. Despite taking Nyquil, I would wake each time a squirrel ran the perimeter of my backyard fence, convinced someone was coming for me. My dreams were all of victimization, or revenge.

As the little slips of paper with police report numbers on them piled up, I became familiar with the questions detectives would ask when they learned of my prior break-ins.

I took every precaution I could think of before buying a gun. I built a better fence. I added a wrought iron gate. I got a dog, though he is more likely to lick someone to death than bite him. I put in a better alarm system. I eventually added cameras, and I could see the feed from them on my phone. I checked it multiple times while at work; if I was out of town, the first thing I did in the morning, and last thing I did at night, was check on my house.

Here’s the truth about guns that no one, on either side of the debate, wants to tell you: shooting them is fun. I’m a bleeding-hearted, left-leaning liberal and I get a cheap, easy thrill out of shooting my little .38 caliber pistol. The “I am woman; hear me roar,” thrill I’ve gotten the few times I shot an Uzi, AK, or even a Glock is enough to leave a tremble running up my arms (though in reality, that’s likely just kickback).

But the emotional component here is huge. That thrill at the range translates to confidence outside of it. And confidence was a great comfort.

When you live alone, in a house that has been broken into five times, and people keep saying to you, ‘Just move,’ or, ‘It’s only a matter of time before they come while you’re home,’ then you can decide that getting a gun isn’t right for you. But for now, this is what’s right for me.”

That usually shuts them up.

The gun became my sleep-aid. Each night, I would take it from its locked case, load it with six beautiful brassy bullets, and rest it on my nightstand, where I could reach it without opening my eyes.

This is just a heavy excerpt, the entire piece is worth reading and can be found here.

"That thrill at the range translates to confidence outside of it. And confidence was a great comfort," she wrote. "This is what's right for me." Isn't that the truth. That's the great thing about gun ownership and why having the choice to own a gun is so crucial. Each individual person has their own reasons and circumstances for purchasing a firearm that can't, and shouldn't be, determined by anyone else (especially the government).

The reality is, Glasser's opinion is only unpopular among her liberal peers. Her "unpopular" is opinion is popular with the majority Americans. In fact according to Gallup, more people in the United States believe gun rights should be protected rather than infringed upon with gun control.

To back up Glasser's sentiments about gun ownership and shooting, data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and polling from Gallup repeatedly shows that the number one, overwhelming reason people buy their first firearm is for self-defense purposes. Further, the fastest growing demographic of shooters and gun owners are women.

I may disagree with Glasser on a number of other political issues, but on gun ownership, rock on sister.