Bill O'Reilly Rips San Francisco Politicians, Obama Administration, Congress Over Criminal Alien Murder in San Francisco

Last week Kate Steinle was shot and killed on a San Francisco pier by an illegal alien with a record of seven felonies and five deportations. Her killer admitted in a jailhouse interview that he went back to San Francisco because he knew he wouldn't be turned over to federal authorities thanks to sanctuary city policies. 

Monday night on the O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly didn't mince words when addressing the issue and holds San Francisco city officials and the Obama administration complicit in Steinle's death. O'Reilly also called on Congress to pass a law mandating five years in federal prison if caught back in the United States after being deported.

"Here is the dangerous part. According government statistics, 71% percent of non-American citizens in federal prisons are from Mexico. Colombian nationals are second, just 4%. Mexican criminals represent a whopping 16% of all convicts serving time in federal penitentiaries. That is a huge burden on the American taxpayer, and a dangerous situation for ordinary Americans like 32-year-old Kate Steinle," O'Reilly said. "Last Wednesday Kate was walking with her father in San Francisco when she was shot dead on the street for absolutely no reason at all. Police say 45-year-old Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal alien from Mexico, murdered Kate. Apparently Sanchez has seven felony convictions and had been deported five times. Yet he was still walking around the streets of San Francisco. That's because Mayor Ed Lee and the eleven members of the San Francisco City Supervisors refuse to cooperate with the federal government on criminal aliens. The feds asked the city of San Francisco to keep Sanchez in custody; the city refused. Ms. Steinle paid for that irresponsible and unconstitutional decision with her life. San Francisco is a sanctuary city, and violent crimes committed by criminal aliens have happened before. City authorities refuse to say how many because they know this is a huge scandal -- a black mark on the history of San Francisco, the most tolerant of cities. n 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act, which stipulated that local and state authorities were to cooperate with the feds in apprehending illegal aliens, especially criminals."

"In 2007 then Mayor Gavin Newsom issues an Executive Order stating that as a Sanctuary City, San Francisco would not cooperate with federal authorities on illegal immigration matters and would protect even criminal aliens. The feds did nothing. In 2010 the Obama administration openly said it would not punish cities that refuse to obey the 1996 law. So here's the deal. The mayor and city supervisors of San Francisco are directly responsible for the death of Kate Steinle and the Obama administration is complicit. Attorney General Loretta Lynch could order FBI agents to arrest Mayor Lee and the supervisors for violating federal law. She is within her authority to do that. I know that will never happen because racial politics drives the law these days, which is why Trump caught so much hell. The Constitution demands that the federal government protect Americans from foreign intruders. Obviously, that responsibility is not being met. And if you point that out as Trump did, you are a racist, a piñata for the open-border crowd to bash," he continued.

Violent crime committed by illegal aliens in this country is a major problem, for public safety reasons and for taxpayers. As O'Reilly mentioned, the government has an obligation to protect Americans from foreign invasion and the criminal illegal alien problem is fueled by political DC incompetence. Every GOP presidential candidate, as well as Democrat Hillary Clinton, has an obligation to address it.

Unhindered: Boko Haram Continues Its Onslaught

A series of blasts killed at least 44 people in Nigeria over the weekend in what looks to be the latest string of Boko Haram murders. One of the bombs exploded outside of a mosque during a Ramadan sermon, and another blew up in a restaurant. A third blast went off inside a church, and another targeted a major thoroughfare being used by a number of Muslim families.

The weekend violence primarily occurred in the cities of Jos, in central Nigeria, and Potiskum, in the northeast of Nigeria. Jos had been attacked last year by Boko Haram in a notorious attack that claimed over 100 lives. The blast in Potiskum — which occurred at Redeemer Christian Church of God — took the lives of a priest and four worshippers, including a woman and her two children.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but experts say they bear all the signs of Boko Haram. The jihadist group — which pledged its loyalty to ISIS this past March — has attacked Potiskum four other times previous to this attack. Those attacks killed upwards of 20 people.

This weekend's attacks come at the end of one of Nigeria's bloodiest weeks yet at the hands of Boko Haram. The terror group, based in northern Nigeria, had just carried out attacks on northeastern Nigerian villages that claimed the lives of over 150 people — mostly Muslims. The attacks are part of Boko Haram's aim of creating an Islamic caliphate in the image of ISIS. Like Boko Haram, ISIS has killed scores of Muslims deemed too lax in the practice of their faith or too wavering in their loyalty. Both organizations practice a rigorous level of Sharia law and have taken underage girls as slaves.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned last week's attacks as "inhuman and barbaric." He vowed that every "Boko Haram bandit ... would be hunted down without mercy and compromise." The recently elected president has pledged to defeat Boko Haram, but military efforts to stop the bloodshed have failed thus far.

The United States condemned the recent Boko Haram attacks in an official statement:

"As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror. The United States continues to provide counterterrorism assistance to help Nigerian authorities develop a comprehensive approach to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram."

Boko Haram made major headlines in the Western world last year when it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in the city of Chibok. The kidnapping spawned the twitter slogan, #BringBackOurGirls. Since the 2014 kidnappings, Boko Haram has received less than its share of media attention in the West — even as its recent atrocities rival those committed by the Islamic State.

Idaho In No Rush To Remove Traditional Marriage Amendment From Constitution

While known for its potatoes and Napoleon Dynamite, the Gem State is also as red as they come concerning politics. The composition of the state legislature is overwhelming Republican, and the state constitution has marriage  defined as a union between one man and one woman. The problem is that section of state law has been struck down with the recent Obergefell decision from the Supreme Court, which said there's a constitutional right to gay marriage.

Nevertheless, some traditional marriage advocates say the provision should remain since it’s a “symbolic and historic piece of language.” Yet, it’s now completely irrelevant, so why keep something on the books if it won’t be enforced? Yet, the process to remove the language, which was adopted in a 2006 referendum won’t be easy (via AP):

…removing the language will likely be an uphill battle. Amending the Idaho Constitution first requires approval from the Republican-dominated Legislature. The proposal must then win a simple majority in a voter referendum -a tough task for even lesser politically-charged initiatives.

Idaho is one of 30 states that amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage that have not yet take steps to repeal their amendments, even though they have been rendered unenforceable by the Supreme Court's gay-marriage decision.

Idaho's gay marriage ban has been enshrined in the state constitution since 2006 after winning 63 percent of the vote.

Gay rights supporters argue removal is the natural next step to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling. But Republican lawmakers and gay marriage opponents counter that there is no legal need to change the constitution.

"Idaho should not remove that language," said Julie Lynde, executive director of Cornerstone Family Council. "There is no reason to obliterate traditional marriage. It's a symbolic and historic piece of language."

Furthermore, when Idaho lawmakers gather in Boise at the beginning of 2016, they'll be kicking off the legislative session in an election year. Republican lawmakers will be less likely to cast a vote that could be used against them by an opponent.

The article also noted that since the Republican leadership in the state legislature knows their constitutional amendment defining marriage is now null and void, there’s no reason to expend political capital on removing it; this takes us back to election year politics that was previously mentioned.

Yet, Idaho's American Civil Liberties Union chapter said confusion could occur with letting this amendment remain idle on the books:

For example, in 2013, a sheriff in Kootenai County declared that the Boy Scouts of America promoted a lifestyle that violated the state's sodomy law. [Leo] Morales [acting executive director of ACLU-Idaho] said the sheriff incorrectly interpreted an unenforceable state law because it was still on the books, even though the Supreme Court banned laws that attempted to regulate or criminalize sexual activity among consenting adults in 2003.

At the same time, AP noted that the state has removed obsolete constitutional language before, notably the 1890 provision that stripped voting rights to anyone who promoted polygamy … in 1982.

So, for the folks in Idaho elated by the Obergefell decision, you’re probably going to have to wait as long as the social conservatives who want to re-argue gay marriage bans before the Supreme Court (again) until the language is removed from the state constitution; in other words, it could take a very, very long time.

Team Clinton: Yes, We're 'Worried' About Bernie

Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is, on average, roughly 40 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton in national polls, but that doesn’t mean Team Hillary isn’t taking him seriously as a competitor.

“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

“It's to be expected that Sanders would do well in a Democratic primary, and he’s going to do well in Iowa in the Democratic caucus.”

A new Quinnipiac University poll released last week found he doubled his share of Democratic supporters in Iowa in just seven weeks. Some polls in New Hampshire show Sanders less than 10 points behind Clinton.

Palmieri said Sanders's rise won't prompt a shift toward negative campaigning and that Sanders's strong crowds only underscore the differences in the campaigning tactics between the two campaigns.

“We don’t need to attack each other. He'll run his campaign, we'll run ours. The imperatives for us are different. We think what works for her, particularly in Iowa, is doing a lot of small events, staying a long time, being one of the last people, if not the last person, to leave the room. That works better for us right now,” she said.

While Sanders, as The Hill notes, has closed the margin a bit in recent polls—even beating Clinton among Democratic men in a June Granite State survey, she will most likely still be the Democrats’ nominee for president. Regardless, any competition she faces from the left will only help Republican contenders in the months ahead. 

Sen. Baldwin: First Amendment Applies To Institutions of Faith, ‘But I Don’t Think It Extends Far Beyond That’

Our friends at NewsBusters posted this little tidbit from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who said on the June 27 broadcast of Up with Steve Kornacki, that the First Amendment only applied to institutions of faith.  The discussion revolved around the Obergefell ruling from the Supreme Court, which said there is a constitutional right to gay marriage.  

Tammy Baldwin: “Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that. We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception. Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

Well, that simply isn’t the case. Of course, the free exercise clause applies to individuals. For goodness sake, just look at First Amendment law that involves members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that compulsory flag salutes were a violation of free speech and free exercise in the First Amendment; school officials had punished the students and their families, all members of Jehovah’s Witness, for this infraction.

At the same time, there are restrictions on the free exercise of religion. As the First Amendment Center wrote, “the Supreme Court has interpreted this clause so that the freedom to believe is absolute, but the ability to act on those beliefs is not.” As an example, they noted that an article of faith permitting human sacrifice probably would not be held as a right protected by the First Amendment. But the right for an employee to discuss his faith at work–to a certain degree–is legal, as long as he or she does not create a hostile work environment. Moreover, if a co-worker informs another that his or her religious discussions makes them uncomfortable, the person engaging in religious conversation should respect the request and stop talking about it.

Yet, even with respect to the recent gay marriage ruling, Baldwin seems to be unaware that religious exemptions for marriage-related business have rarely–if at all–been upheld by the courts, even in states with statutes similar to that of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Nevertheless, overall, this isn’t a proper reading of the First Amendment.

WSJ: By the Way, Rick Perry's Major Address on Race Was Excellent

Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) stumbles in 2012 are well known. Initially perceived to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, a series of embarrassing gaffes and misstatements forced him to exit the race much earlier than anyone anticipated. Currently, he’s polling in the low single-digits.

In Washington last week, however, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Perry wowed a crowd at a famous journalism center, in part by making a direct — and impassioned — pitch to African-Americans in a way other candidates simply have not:

The media continue to dismiss Republican Rick Perry’s presidential prospects even as they pretend that Democrat Bernie Sanders poses a serious threat to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Perry has a far better chance at becoming President than Mr. Sanders does, and last week the Texan gave the speech of the campaign so far.

At the National Press Club on Thursday, Mr. Perry delivered thoughtful, often moving, remarks about race and the Republican Party. (We reprint excerpts nearby.) The former Texas Governor doesn’t spare the GOP, Texans or Americans for historical offenses against African-Americans. He also scores his party for giving up on even trying to win support among African-Americans, a failure that he says has cost the GOP “our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all.”

Click through to watch some highlights from his remarks, with some added commentary. It's definitely worth a listen.

In any case, and more pressingly, is Perry not correct? After all, the Republican Party was formed, at least in part, to stop the spread of slavery westward into the new territories. Indeed, Lincoln said it best when, writing a friend in the Democratic Party shortly before taking the presidential oath of office, “You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us." Thus the point of Perry’s speech, I think, was to proudly recover and retell American history as it happened, and to remind his rivals to stand once again for the principles for which Lincoln exemplified. For too long, he intoned, Republicans have dismissed a whole segment of Americans simply because they were perceived to be “unwinnable.” This is wrongheaded thinking — and no way to run a Republican campaign, he said.

Perry’s words ring true for their own sake, of course. However, if the Republican Party wants to win the general election in 2016, all candidates running should remember recent history, too:

America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

This means that the Republican Party can no longer afford to be apathetic or averse to campaigning for every single vote. I therefore hope Perry's competitors get the message — and follow his example.

Watch the full clip of Perry’s remarks below:

South Carolina Senate Votes To Remove Confederate Flag

The South Carolina Senate has voted to take down the Confederate flag, which flies above the State House grounds in Columbia. Now, it's up for debate in the State House (via NYT):

The South Carolina Senate voted Monday to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House. The bipartisan proposal, which emerged after last month’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, was approved by a 37-to-3 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Senate has one remaining ratification vote, now virtually assured of success.

The debate will shift to the House of Representatives, which Republicans also dominate, where the timeline for — and tenor of — the debate remains less clear.

The Senate’s vote on Monday marked a resounding shift in South Carolina, where less than three weeks ago removing the Confederate battle flag from a memorial near the State House was viewed as politically impossible.

The killings at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, however, revived a debate that fractured the legislature about 15 years ago and yielded, at least in the Senate, quick action in the debate over a symbol revered by many whites but regarded as an offensive vestige of segregation and oppression by most blacks.

On Monday, with the desk of a slain member draped in black, the Senate defeated a series of amendments that would have undermined the bill, including one that would have allowed the battle flag to fly each year on Confederate Memorial Day. Later, in a dramatic roll call vote around 4 p.m., the Senate overwhelmingly voted in support of evicting the flag from the grounds of the State House, where it has flown for more than five decades.

The issue of removing the flag and placing it at the Soldier’s Monument­–a memorial commemorating the Confederate dead–was in stasis since 2000 when lawmakers agreed to move the Confederate flag to the memorial, but only by a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature, according to the Post and Courier. 

Is this a knee-jerk reaction? A solid majority of Americans see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, instead of racism. Moreover, on June 24, Nia-Malika Henderson reported that even some Democrats are cognizant of the fact that such swift action on the issue of the flag could “alienate” future allies, especially after the June 20 rally that was held to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds:

I appreciate the rally, but it has no impact on the legislative process," said state Sen. Darryl Jackson, a Democrat who helped hammer out the 2000 compromise. "The politics of the flag are the politics of the primary voter."

From his church pulpit on Sunday [June 21], Jackson urged patience on the flag issue, saying later that it could be interpreted as disrespectful to the dead to turn so quickly to politics.

"People are saying let's get some action now, but I don't want to alienate people I will need for a compromise," he said. "If we don't get a bi-partisan consensus, we will be fighting for the next 100 years."

There is a framework for such efforts. South Carolina lawmakers forged a bipartisan agreement this year on body camera legislation after the shooting death of Walter Scott by a white police office.

"This will not be done in a knee-jerk fashion," said Marlon Kimpson, a Democratic state representative. "I'm going to be in focus groups with business leaders and talking to constituents. The massacre opened up an opportunity but to build a super majority will require a lot of work."

Medicare Advocating a Change for End-of-Life Care

When the life of a loved one is coming to an end, it is reported that there isn’t a single specific point at which end-of-life care begins; it very much depends on the individual. End-of-life discussions are fundamental in ensuring the needs of both the ill and the loved one are met.

Now, Medicare is making advances to have these crucial discussions that will start paying for physicians to have these advanced-care planning conversations with patients. It's a new policy that could be released in the foreseeable future.

This has been a critical issue ever since the Obama administration tried to implement a policy that paid doctors to have private insurers to cover advanced-care conversations in 2010. It didn't pass. At the same time:

many states have passed laws making it easier to document end-of-life care goals in medical records, and in Congress, bipartisan bills in both the House and the Senate have called for physician reimbursement for such conversations. No bills have made it to floor votes, however.

Patient needs are still at the forefront of these discussions, especially since it's been reported that:

"Many patients in the ICU can't make decisions about their own care, surrogates often speak on their behalf and collaborate with the treating physician to determine treatment goals. But in many cases, they have no idea what the patient would want. Recent research shows that fewer than half of terminally ill patients have advance directives. And one study showed that discussions about end-of-life care are most often hampered by patients and their family members who don't want to talk about such plans."

Now, with Medicare's change at hand, an educated and sound recommendation is going to be readily available.

"many surrogates have no experience in making end-of-life decisions for someone else and struggle in that role, says Hutchison. Depressed and anxious over their loved one's illness, making decisions without a recommendation from the treating physician may be overwhelming, Hutchison argues. A physician's input can help family members, who have no medical background or training, to make decisions, but doctors should be open to other perspectives."

Audio: Bandler's Banter Podcast Episode 1

I will be hosting this podcast, Bandler's Banter, every week, and will also feature Daniel Davis and Brooke Carlucci. This podcast discusses the SCOTUS rulings, the Confederate flag and climate change.

White House: We Aren't Going to Comment on Murder of Kate Steinle By 7-Time Felon Illegal Alien

Speaking to reporters from the White House Monday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to issued comment on the murder of Kate Steinle, who was killed by a seven-time felon illegal alien last week in the sanctuary city of San Francisco. Her killer was deported five times before taking her life and admitted he went to San Francisco because he knew he'd be able to escape federal authorities thanks to sanctuary policies. 

"I can't speak to this specific case," Earnest said. "I'd refer you to DHS."

After refusing to issue comment on "this specific case," Earnest launched into an attack on Republicans for not passing President Obama's illegal immigration agenda.

Earnest also touted Obama's policy of "not tearing [illegal immigrant] families apart" while ignoring the fact Kate Steinle's family has been permanently torn apart by an illegal alien thanks to open border and lax enforcement policies at both the local and federal levels.

NRA: Don't Use Gay Marriage Ruling To Justify National Reciprocity On Concealed Carry

Across social media, there have been memes, blog posts, and articles about how the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges should be applied to national reciprocity regarding concealed carry permits. The day national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders becomes law of the land will be a great day for civil rights in this country. Yet, it is not; we still have to continue to fight for it. At the same time, the National Rifle Association is reminding gun owners that they shouldn’t view the Obergefell decision as a reason to carry their firearms in states that still don’t recognize their concealed carry permits. For starters, the Supreme Court hasn’t decided if carrying a loaded handgun in public* is a constitutional right.

…we strongly advise concealed carry license holders not to assume Obergefell provides them with the legal basis they need to carry without an in-state license in strongly anti-gun states such as Maryland, New Jersey, or New York. Doing so at this point would still subject the traveler to arrest and criminal prosecution.

This is so for a number of reasons, chief of which is that the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled squarely on the question of whether the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a loaded handgun in public, and if it does, whether states must recognize each other’s permits. The landmark cases of Heller and McDonald only concerned the question of handgun possession in the home.

Until the Supreme Court rules on the issue conclusively, certain reliably anti-gun jurisdictions can be counted on to exist in a state of denial and defiance. If states and lower courts can ignore a congressional statute like Firearm Owners’ Protection Act – and they do – they certainly can ignore arguments that the philosophical bases for interstate recognition of same-sex marriage compel interstate recognition of concealed carry permits.

One way to set up the legal battle to clarify the right to carry in public in all 50 states could come from the lawsuits from residents in “may issue” carry states over the “good” or “justifiable” need clauses. So far, the Supreme Court has rejected to hear arguments from petitions that directly challenge such statutes in Woollard v. Gallaghera Maryland-based lawsuit– (2013) and Drake v. Jerejian, which challenged New Jersey’s concealed carry process (2014). The plaintiff in the New Jersey case–John Drake–has two permits from Utah and Florida, which allows him to carry in 38 states, except for his home state. The Drake case also asked the question that the NRA wants to be clarified before the Court, which is “whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense.” I’m sure more lawsuits will appear before the Supreme Court–and I hope they do.

*I think it is a right, but until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, supporters of the Second Amendment must let the process work–and that process can take a long time.

Christie on Iran Deal: "This Is the Single Biggest Disaster" of Obama's Presidency

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Iran deal. The Obama administration, it seems, is hell-bent on reaching an agreement, notwithstanding protests from concerned congressional lawmakers and the state of Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry, for his part, believes the deal “could go either way” at this point, but Republicans are hoping it only goes one place: nowhere.

“This is the single biggest disaster in the seven years of the Obama administration,” Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said Monday morning on America’s Newsroom, who is officially running for president in 2016. “He is giving the largest sponsor of state-terrorism a glide-path to a nuclear weapon and a nuclear Middle East. It is wrong. He should walk away from the table.”

And yet, Christie said he believes some sort of accord will eventually be reached.

“I think he does [it] because he cares more about his legacy than anything else right now,” he added. “He cares about the two l’s: legacy and library.”

Unsurprisingly, however, Christie is not the only Republican raising concerns about an eventual deal.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), who sent a strongly-worded letter to the regime last winter reminding Iran's leaders that a nuclear agreement, green-lighted by the administration, would always be temporary and non-binding, explained yesterday on ABC News’ This Week why the deal is so lopsided — and unfavorable to the US.

"If we had anytime, anywhere inspections, if there was no sanctions relief until there was long-term demonstrable performance on Iran's part, if they fully answered all the past work they've done to weaponize their nuclear program, then that might be a better deal,” he said. “But that's not the deal we're going to reach.”

“It [the proposed deal] also doesn’t address the concessions that have already been made,” he continued. “Like letting them keep their underground fortified bunker, letting them keep their centrifuges and a stockpile of uranium, letting them keep their ballistic missile program, letting them keep their American hostages, and letting them continue to foment terrorism all around the world and destabilize the Middle East.”

Other Republican presidential candidates, meanwhile, are equally as nervous that a dangerous, sign-at-any-cost nuclear deal will soon and inevitably be brokered. Stay tuned for updates.

UK Labour Party Leadership Candidate Demands Police Action To Protect Abortion Clinics

One of the candidates to succeed Ed Miliband as Leader of the British Labour Party has tabled a motion in the House of Commons demanding police action to protect abortion clinics. Left-winger, Jeremy Corbyn MP, was one of seven Members of Parliament to back the move, which includes calls for a “buffer zone” outside clinics.

The buffer zones would give police the right to remove protesters when they believe their activities are preventing women from “accessing treatment… free from intimidation.” There would also be national guidelines for police, explaining the circumstances in which they can remove protesters.

The proposal was put before the House of Commons as an “Early Day Motion” (EDM), which does not have the force of legislation but is designed to pressure government. In this case the EDM was tabled by Diane Abbott MP, who is seeking the Labour nomination for Mayor of London.

The group said they were “deeply concerned” about the escalation of anti-abortion protests in the UK. They claimed the protests were “having a significant impact on women's ability to access safe, legal reproductive healthcare services and advice.”

The motion also claimed there had been one case of an abortion clinic closing as a result of the protests, although it did not give further information. It said a second unnamed clinic was unable to open as a result of “local fears about anti-abortion activity.” Anti-abortion campaigners were described as “threatening” and are accused of trying to “harass and film women.”

Support for the motion is not widespread among the 650 members of the House of Commons but winning the backing of a Labour Leadership candidate does lend credibility to the proposal. Mr Corbyn was considered an outsider when he entered the race but he now has the backing of the powerful Unite Trade Union. Unite is the Labour Party's biggest donor and has been accused of using its votes to push its members ahead in the party.

Mr Corbyn is no stranger to controversy, in 1999 he divorced his wife because she wanted to send their son Ben to a selective Grammar School rather than a local school. The school Corbyn favored was in a poor part of central London and had been identified as “failing” by inspectors.

He is also a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which wanted Britain to give up its nuclear deterrent during the Cold War. He has claimed in the past he could not be friends with anyone unless they were left-wing.

There are around 185,000 abortions every year in the UK, almost all of them are performed under Section C of The Abortion Act 1967. The provision allows abortions if there is a risk to the mental health of the mother should the pregnancy go ahead. Section C has been used to effectively roll out 'abortion on demand' despite the law have been intended to only allow medical reasons for the procedure.

If Corbyn becomes Labour Leader he would contest the 2020 General Election as the party's candidate to be Prime Minister. To become the Prime Minister he would need to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons, with the side effect that he would have the votes to push through whatever he wanted. The US Constitution was especially written to avoid placing this much power in one person's hands.

Watch Reporters Embarrass Themselves By Allowing Hillary Clinton Staffers to Literally Rope Them Off

Over the weekend Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participated in the Gorham, New Hampshire Independence Day parade. She's been avoiding the press for months, but this time things were taken to a whole new level.

In order to avoid a "chaotic" situation, Team Hillary asked reporters to walk behind a rope where they were corralled by staffers holding bold ends while proceeding down the street.


Look, I understand a need for some type of protocol, but this is ridiculous. Not because the Clinton campaign came up with the idea, but because reporters actually stood in a rope circle while back peddling down the street during a parade. So. Embarrassing. The dignity of the press has reached a new low. 

H/T Ed Morrissey

Illegal Immigrant Kills Woman in San Francisco; Chose City for 'Sanctuary' Policies

A horrifying story out of San Francisco: In broad daylight outside of Pier 14 this past Wednesday, 32-year-old Kathryn "Kate" Steinle was shot and killed by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported from the United States five times.

In an interview with an ABC affiliate, Sanchez said he kept returning to San Francisco because he knew there would be no effort to find and deport him. The city passed an ordinance in 1989 that prohibited officials from cooperating with immigration officials--meaning that San Francisco is a "sanctuary city."

ICE is now blaming San Francisco law enforcement for releasing Sanchez after drug charges against him were dropped. Sanchez had previously been convicted of seven felonies. Four of the seven were related to drugs.

Further, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says San Francisco had him in their custody earlier this year but failed to notify ICE when he was released.

"DHS records indicate ICE lodged an immigration detainer on the subject at that time, requesting notification prior to his release so ICE officers could make arrangements to take custody. The detainer was not honored," ICE said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Sanchez said in an interview that the shooting was an "accident" and that the shooting occurred while he was under the influence of pills he had discovered in a dumpster. He also said he felt "sorry for everybody."

NYT: Why, It Looks Like Obamacare is Causing Massive Rate Hikes


Here is the New York Times' front page on Independence Day, when few Americans were paying close attention to current affairs:



Two stories on "progressive" welfare states collapsing under the crush of reckless, unsustainable profligacy -- and one on Obamacare's double-digit rate increases:

Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives...Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said: “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

"It's working," they insist, as the 'Affordable' Care Act slams Americans with higher costs.  President Obama, who continues to claim that his unpopular law is surpassing his wildest expectations, has nothing but anti-reality tantrums to offer:

President Obama, on a trip to Tennessee this week, said that consumers should put pressure on state insurance regulators to scrutinize the proposed rate increases. If commissioners do their job and actively review rates, he said, “my expectation is that they’ll come in significantly lower than what’s being requested.” The rate requests, from some of the more popular health plans, suggest that insurance markets are still adjusting to shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act. It is far from certain how many of the rate increases will hold up on review, or how much they might change. But already the proposals, buttressed with reams of actuarial data, are fueling fierce debate about the effectiveness of the health law.

Alas, Obama speeches cannot alter the laws of economics. But wait, the Times notes, there is a way for consumers to mitigate the effects of huge 2016 premium increases: People can go through the headache of dropping their current plans in pursuit of arrangements with less steep hikes -- which, in turn, could threaten access to doctors and care:

A study of 11 cities in different states by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that consumers would see relatively modest increases in premiums if they were willing to switch plans. But if they switch plans, consumers would have no guarantee that they can keep their doctors. And to get low premiums, they sometimes need to accept a more limited choice of doctors and hospitals.

Keep your plan, keep your doctor, etc. Please recall that the president and his allies repeatedly pledged that everybody's rates would drop under Obamacare. Comprehensively, spectacularly false. Why the huge spikes? Simple cause and effect:

In their submissions to federal and state regulators, insurers cite several reasons for big rate increases. These include the needs of consumers, some of whom were previously uninsured; the high cost of specialty drugs; and a policy adopted by the Obama administration in late 2013 that allowed some people to keep insurance that did not meet new federal standards...Insurers with decades of experience and brand-new plans underestimated claims costs...The rate requests are the first to reflect a full year of experience with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards that require insurers to accept all applicants, without charging higher prices because of a person’s illness or disability...In financial statements filed with the government in the last two months, some insurers said that their claims payments totaled not just 80 percent, but more than 100 percent of premiums. And that, they said, is unsustainable.

Behold, a peek at Oregon's approved -- i.e., finalized -- 2016 premium increases:


Costs are jumping drastically because Obamacare's provisions are driving a price spiral, fueled by an older, sicker risk pool. It's almost as if the law's critics were right. About almost everything.

Greek Socialists Have Humiliated British Conservatives

British politicians have always been renowned experts at 'gobbing off' about the European Union. The sport has a few simple rules: rant a lot with no real desire to achieve anything. It's a sport that has been the mainstay of the Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, since he took office in 2010.

The latest examples are his attempts to loudly ask for almost nothing in negotiations with the European Commission. Today, Cameron's strategic aim of making EU nationals wait a little bit longer before they claim generous taxpayer funded welfare checks has been shown up for the joke it is by the Greeks.

Yesterday's vote in Greece demonstrates there is a real alternative to the Brussels takeover. As such, Britain, like every European country, does have a choice, if only its leaders had the vision to abandon this failed EU project.

Whatever the long-term impact of the Greek vote there must be an examination of the mechanism for it leaving the Euro. Under the existing treaties there is no way out. To create one would break the “ever closer union” commitment, long seen as the central pillar of the European 'project' and something British Conservatives have tried and failed for decades to destroy.

Yet a tiny country and it's Socialist government have just delivered weakened "ever closer union" in one hastily organised vote. If Greece leaves the Euro altogether it will be a huge game changer for Britain.

For years Eurocrats have talked about a “two speed Europe”, the problem with this is it implies in the end every country will end up in the same place: under the thumb of a powerful socialist Brussels. If Greece leaves the Euro “two speed Europe” is dead, instead a “two system Europe” would have to develop.

This would mean Germany, France and the Benelux countries effectively becoming one country with the Euro as its currency. Places like Britain would have some sort of trade deal, and maybe even continued membership of a far looser and less dictatorial European Union.

Either way the Greeks have come up with far more options for Britain than David Cameron has. Not least because they had the guts to call for a referendum and then campaign against the EU. Cameron's plan is to use the referendum to confirm Britain’s membership of the EU: heaping an historic defeat on British Conservatism (despite Cameron being Conservative Leader).

...Greeks Have Been Treated Badly...

Greece's bravery can only partially mitigate it's difficult position though. The Euro is destroying the country but Greeks would still rather eat rats than leave any club of Western European countries. Two of their nearest neighbors are the Muslim countries of Albania and Turkey, and despite decades of peace they feel threatened.

The Greeks have also had a bad press for not “paying their bills”, although this is pretty unfair. They have been pushed into a monetary union that does not include fiscal transfers. So their monetary policy is being set to please Germany, but the only thing they are given to lighten the load is loans.

The US uses things like welfare, Medicaid and Medicare to help ensure poorer states like Alabama do not experience economic problems as a result of having the same currency as Wall Street.

Washington, D.C. does not expect poorer states to take out loans to pay for these services, they expect the richer states to pay through federal taxes. If Germany is going to massively benefit from the Euro, why are they complaining that Greece deserves some compensation for the boom in Northern Europe. Perhaps German reticence to pay for Greece is proof the Euro is a really bad idea.

So Greece is in ruins: unemployment is running at 25 percent, the country cannot pay its bills and its economy will continue to tank as long as it remains in the Euro. But unlike Britain, Greece is fighting its corner, despite being small and having a lack of political clout.

Imagine if British Conservative leaders had the guts the Greeks have shown? They might actually get the concessions they want rather than just capitulate. They would forget about the minor dispute over access to welfare and start to talk about real reform. If the EU tried to ignore them they would seriously talk about walking out, and when the world's fifth largest economy starts to get belligerent other countries listen.

The fact is the British Conservative leadership has not done this, and so far look unlikely to start. As we stand today Greek Socialists have done more to deliver British Conservative aims than the British Conservative government has. Pretty shameful really. Perhaps it's time to stop being wary Greeks who bear gifts!

Party in New Hampshire: Romney Hosts Rubio and Christie

GOP presidential candidates Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had some fun over the weekend at Mitt Romney's Lake Winnipesaukee home in New Hampshire. 

On Friday night, though, Romney had the Christies as overnight guests. But they weren't the only non-family members in the house. Fellow GOP hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and his wife, Jeanette, also joined the Romneys for Friday night's slumber party.

"Governor Romney heard that his friends, Governor Christie and Senator Rubio, along with their families, would be in Wolfeboro over the July 4th holiday weekend. He and Mrs. Romney opened their home to their friends and look forward to celebrating America’s birthday," said an aide to Romney, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

Both presidential candidates were in New Hampshire campaigning and participating in the famous Wolfeboro Independence Day parade.

Christie, who endorsed Romney during his 2012 campaign, just announced his run for president last week. Rubio was endorsed by Romney for the U.S. Senate back in 2010 during his run against Charlie Crist and announced his candidacy for president in April.

Bloody July 4 Chicago Weekend: 7 Shot Dead, Including Little Boy

It was another bloody weekend in Chicago over the Independence Day holiday as criminals took to the streets killing seven, including a seven-year-old little boy. Forty people were wounded from gang violence. More from CNN

"We need to repair a broken system," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Sunday. "Criminals don't feel the repercussions of the justice system."

Take, for example, the death of 7-year-old Amari Brown. McCarthy said the boy was the unintended victim of bullet meant for his father, a ranking gang member.

The system failed Amari, the police chief said. Amari's father, who has been arrested 45 times and has a lengthy criminal record, should not have been on the streets, McCarthy said.

At a vigil Sunday for Amari, family friend Michael Singleton told the media that unless real changes are made, the cycle of violence will continue.

"All of you all will be back out here next week, on another corner, filming the same thing, from somebody else, saying exactly what I'm saying," he said.

Naturally, McCarthy also blamed the "flow of guns" into the city for the repeated problem of gang violence on the streets.

Last summer, which was more deadly than summer 2015 so far, McCarthy was accused of cooking the books on reduced violence to make his police force look better.

"City leaders manipulated crime statistics to create the appearance of a rapidly decreasing rate of crime," Chicago Magazine reported last year.

In the meantime, violent Chicago gangs aren't the only major problem in the Windy City. Mexican drug cartels running the streets pose a major problem and fuel the mayhem.

 "Sinaloa Cartel traffickers sit on the top of the pile, and they feed down all the way to the street level dealers,” Dennis Wichern, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago field division, told Fox News Latino.

The drug trade in Chicago has helped fuel pervasive gang violence that has resulted in a quickly rising homicide rate. Chicago ended 2014 with 425 murders, and this year the city had seen 30 slayings by the end of January.

Indeed, something has to change in Chicago. They should start by repealing their highly restrictive guns laws and go from there.

Women’s World Cup: USA Enjoys Sweet Victory Over Japan

In Vancouver, Canada, Japan and the United States duked it out once again in the Women’s World Cup. It’s a rematch some have been hoping for since the U.S. went down in defeat in 2011, following a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in regulation.

This year, no penalty shoot-out was needed. In fact, it wasn’t even close. Less than 20 minutes into the game, the U.S. Women’s Team delivered four goals over Japan in rapid succession that must’ve stunned most who made predictions on this game.

U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd proved to be the point of the lance, scoring three minutes after kickoff, and again two minutes later. The momentum did not stop there. Midfielder and forward Lauren Holiday scored at 14 minutes, followed again by Lloyd at 16 minutes. It was a lightning war over the Japanese Women’s Team, who managed to score 27 minutes into regulation thanks to Yuki Ogimi. Japan would score again after U.S. defender Julie Johnston accidentally headed the ball into our own goal in the second half. Nevertheless, the error was long forgotten after  Tobin Heath scored shortly thereafter, giving the US its fifth goal.

The United States’ victory also placed a spotlight on Hope Solo, who is arguably the world’s best goalkeeper, according to the New York Times, but it’s somewhat bittersweet; this will be the last World Cup that will see Abby Wambach on the U.S. Women’s Team. The Times added that Wambach is international soccer’s leading scoring player, with 183 goals. But she’s never been able to clinch a World Cup title … until tonight.

What a nice way to end our Fourth of July weekend and related festivities. Congrats to the U.S. Women’s Soccer team. It is much deserved. Well done, ladies. Well done.

UPDATEVia CBS News, Lloyd scored the two fastest goals in World Cup history.  Hope Solo was awarded the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper for the tournament.  The U.S. Women's Team set a new Women's World Cup record with their defense, keeping their opponents scoreless for 540 minutes.

Flashback: The US-Japan penalty shoot-out from 2011.

Hope Solo and Alex Morgan denying that the U.S. team choked in 2011 final with Japan.

Greeks Reject Bailout Terms In Referendum

The referendum on the terms of the new bailout European leaders were offering Greece has been soundly rejected, with nearly 60 percent of Greek voters voting “no” on the deal. Greece’s economy has been in free fall for five years, and voters could not stomach more pension cuts and tax increases on an economy that has yet to find its footing, according to the New York Times:

With more than 70 percent of the vote tallied, the actual count tracked the projections, with 61 percent voting no and 39 percent yes, the Interior Ministry said.

The no votes carried virtually every district in the country, handing a sweeping victory to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a leftist who came to power in January vowing to reject new austerity measures that he called an injustice and economically self-defeating. Late last month he walked away from negotiations in frustration at the creditors’ demands, called the referendum and urged Greeks to vote no as a way to give him more bargaining power.

While Mr. Tsipras now appears to have his wish, his victory in the referendum settled little, since the creditors’ offer is no longer on the table. There remains the possibility that they could walk away, leaving Greece facing default, financial collapse and expulsion from the eurozone and, in the worst case, from the European Union.

At stake, however, may be far more than Greece’s place in Europe, as experts have offered wildly differing opinions about what the referendum could mean for the future of the euro and, indeed, the world’s financial markets.

Even before the voting was over, some European leaders began making efforts to contain the potential damage.

…many [Greek] voters, tired of more than five years of soaring unemployment and a collapsing economy, said they could not accept the terms of the European offer, which imposed yet more pension cuts and tax increases, without any hint of debt relief.

The Times’ cheat sheet detailed the whole debacle, which some have reported could turn into Europe’s Lehman Brothers. In all, it just shows you that socialism hurts.

Here's Bloomberg's explanation of the European Debt Crisis. 

How did Greece get to this point?

Greece became the epicenter of Europe’s debt crisis after Wall Street imploded in 2008. With global financial markets still reeling, Greece announced in October 2009 that it had been understating its deficit figures for years, raising alarms about the soundness of Greek finances.

Suddenly, Greece was shut out from borrowing in the financial markets. By the spring of 2010, it was veering toward bankruptcy, which threatened to set off a new financial crisis.

To avert calamity, the so-called troika — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission — issued the first of two international bailouts for Greece, which would eventually total more than 240 billion euros, or about $264 billion at today’s exchange rates.

The bailouts came with conditions. Lenders imposed harsh austerity terms, requiring deep budget cuts and steep tax increases. They also required Greece to overhaul its economy by streamlining the government, ending tax evasion and making Greece an easier place to do business.

Last Tuesday, Greece failed to honor a $1.5 billion euro debt repayment from the previous bailouts, which technically puts the country in default. The Times also noted that most international banks offloaded their Greek holdings rendering them not vulnerable to whatever happens next, though for those investors who were banking on a Greek comeback probably haven’t slept in a few days. Also, while there is talk of a Greek exodus from the Eurozone, most Greeks still favor sticking with the Euro:

How likely is there to be a ‘Grexit’?

At the height of the debt crisis a few years ago, many experts worried that Greece’s problems would spill over to the rest of the world. If Greece defaulted on its debt and exited the eurozone, they argued, it might create global financial shocks bigger than the collapse of Lehman Brothers did.

Now, however, some people believe that if Greece were to leave the currency union, known as a “Grexit,” it wouldn’t be such a catastrophe. Europe has put up safeguards to limit the so-called financial contagion, in an effort to keep the problems from spreading to other countries. Greece, just a tiny part of the eurozone economy, could regain financial autonomy by leaving, these people contend — and the eurozone would actually be better off without a country that seems to constantly need its neighbors’ support.

Others say that’s too simplistic a view. Despite the frustration of endless negotiations, European political leaders see a united Europe as an imperative. At the same time, they still haven’t fixed some of the biggest shortcomings of the eurozone’s structure by creating a more federal-style system of transferring money as needed among members — the way the United States does among its various states.

Exiting the euro currency union and the European Union would also involve a legal minefield that no country has yet ventured to cross. There are also no provisions for departure, voluntary or forced, from the euro currency union.

Investors may also still be betting that Greece will reach a deal with creditors before or after the referendum, particularly because polls indicate the majority of Greeks favor sticking with the euro.

Book Review: "College or Not?"

Today's society inculcates people with the notion that in order to succeed, you need to go to college and earn your degree. But with the cost of tuition rising while students graduate with burdensome student loan debt, many of whom are unable to find a job in such a weak market, is college worth the investment?

Chad Grills in his latest book, "College or Not?", writes a fictional story to argue that college isn't necessarily worth the investment. The protagonist of the story, Jay Pencha, represents the typical senior high school student facing the pressure of trying to get into a prestigious school while figuring out what he wants to do with his life. 

Things look bleak for Jay during his senior year. His parents, particularly his dad, have always told him he needs to follow in his older brother Gavin's footsteps and go to the prestigious school known as P&C. Gavin has a successful job in finance, although Jay feels that something is wrong with his brother. Regardless, he has to live in Gavin's shadow while facing the fear of rejection from P&C as well as the possibility that his parents won't be able to pay for it.

Enter Gary Weinstein, Jay's nerdy, socially awkward (yet likable) best friend. After being completely off the grid for three months, Gary surprises Jay with the news that he will forgo going to college altogether. Instead, he has a job lined up at a tech startup called Livu. Gary eventually convinces Jay to consider the idea of not attending college by switching out of Mr. Pemberton's college prep class to the much-friendlier, likable Mr. Moore who opens Jay's mind- as well as the rest of his students' minds- that a job right after high school could be preferable.

The rest of the story then features Jay focusing on landing a job in a tech startup right out of college and trying to convince his parents that is the right path for him, even as they continue to compare him to Gavin, who is later revealed to be addicted to pills.

And like any good story, Grills throws in a subplot of Jay's romance with Ella, the pretty ex-girlfriend of a football player that any guy dreams of having. Jay and Ella's relationships builds and grows throughout the story and provides the reader with a feel-good romance aspect of the story.

Overall, Grills's story is a good read. It is refreshing to see a fictional story make a conservative point. When it comes to conservative policy, most writers will write nonfictional books laced with all of kinds of facts, figures and studies. While those types of books are very good and necessary, the average reader's eyes will glaze over at the numbers. An actual storyline that proves a point- here being that college isn't for everyone- is a more effective way to further advance the argument.

Grills's story provides a great way to open the mind to young readers deciding what to do with their lives that maybe they don't have to go to college. It certainly has an appealing argument given the cost of tuition and how hard it is to find a job in the current economy.

The Man Who Never Bothered Telling His Wife He Was 'British Schindler' Dies at 106

Even the most open and loving husbands do not admit everything they did in their 20s to their wives. For most people it's that drink driving thing at University, the fancy dress outfit that really was in bad taste after-all or the BBQ fail that made everyone ill.

But the secret Grete Winton discovered about her husband in 1988 left her absolutely stunned. She found a scrap book on a routine clean of her loft detailing how her husband Nicholas had saved 669 Jewish children from the Holocaust when he was just 29-years-old.

The reason Grete did not know Nicholas' secret was that he had not bothered telling anyone at all. He spent his life believing the desire to save as many children as you could from certain death was nothing to be proud of, in fact it was the natural state of mankind. This was a view that appeared to be unphased by the obvious contradiction the Holocaust itself raised.

The story began when Winton who was a stockbroker at Midland Bank (now HSBC) and was due to go on a skiing holiday in 1938. At the last minute he went to Prague instead as a friend had suggested the local Jewish population were in dire need of help. Quickly Winton established an office at a hotel in the city and began the finding homes in the UK for the children.

UK law meant that Jewish children under 17 were free to come to Britain so long as they had somewhere to stay and £50. So Winton advertised, begged and forced families to take the children, which was a significant challenge in of itself because the UK government was already evacuating British children from the cities to the countryside.

To this day almost half of the children saved do not know that they got to the UK via this route as they were too young to remember.

Even those that did know about Kindertransport had never heard of Nicholas Winton until the TV show 'That's Life' broadcast the story. The presenter of the show Ester Rantzen, herself Jewish, was stunned that this British hero received no recognition. The show itself was tipped off by Grete.

One might assume Winton did not want the publicity because of the guilt that his last train, containing 250 children, did not make it through Poland before Hitler invaded. Families waited at London's Liverpool Street Station but the children they had offered to care for eventually went to the gas chambers not the loving homes of the volunteers.

Actually what kept Winton quiet was his wartime generation ethos. People back then just got on with their duty rather than expecting everyone to fawn all over them. When the town of Maidenhead suggested a statue of Winton he made two requests: that he was not depicted and that he did not have to come to the unveiling. He made it clear he was sick of being hailed as a hero.

At Liverpool Street Station the memorial is a statue of Jewish children who had just arrived from Europe there is no depiction of Winton at his request.

There is only one statue of Winton in the world, it is at Prague Station, and he was rumoured to have hated it. He certainly did all he could to discourage the Czechs from making copies of it to send to other countries.

Of course all of these statues are recent. Before 1988 Winton had not bothered mentioning what he had done for 50 years. He worked for as long as he could on the rescue, and when Hitler's rampage through Europe made further transports impossible he returned to his normal life. Albeit a normal life during a war!

People are not like Nicholas Winton today, a modern version of him would want a TV crew following him. Or the children would be picked by some awful reality TV show. Either way everyone involved would be angry if they did not get at least an extra 10,000 Twitter followers for getting involved in stopping the murder of these kids.

This is not the only example of how our standards have slipped. How many times do you turn on your TV and hear “he bravely battled cancer” well in Winton's day bravery was running into machine gun fire, not surviving a disease.

In Winton's day saving the life of a child was enough reward, whereas a lump of bronze that looks a bit like you is showing off. Winton died yesterday aged 106, and a concept died too… That virtue does not need a megaphone.

Rescues to the Rescue

Whether they’re sniffing out improvised explosive devices, chasing bad guys, or guiding the physically or mentally handicapped through day-to-day life, dogs have proven to be an invaluable asset to our police, militaryveterans, and everyday citizens. Here at Townhall we’ve always found it important to recognize the work our four-legged friends and their handlers do to serve our nation, which far too often goes overlooked.

However, canines are also serving in roles that we don’t traditionally associate them with; namely, conservation efforts.

Thanks to their noses, which can sniff out odor concentrations as small as one to two parts per billion, canines can be trained to find invasive species to eradicate, to detect hard-to-find plants and wildlife, and to discover threats to both, such as poison and illegal snares.

But being a conservation detection dog requires more than a keen sense of smell. The best dogs for this work are extremely high-energy and toy obsessed—oftentimes the ones that wind up in shelters across the nation.

Now, however, because of a new partnership between Working Dogs for Conservation and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, these dogs are being actively sought out across the country through a new program, Rescues 2the Rescue.

The program’s goal is to “place high-energy dogs in careers and homes that complement their vitality,” a statement from the program reads. “The program provides a platform for shelters and conservation detection dog organizations and trainers to connect and communicate, as well as standardized evaluation tools for assessing a canine’s potential to be a working dog.” 

And while these may seem like efforts that have little impact on the average American, Carson Barylak, campaigns officer for IFAW, told Townhall the program is helpful to society on multiple levels.

“Whether it’s a concern for protection of endangered species in the wild … to tiny endangered plants around the world, or whether you care about animals—puppies—being happy … and think about your own dog, there are advantages from all perspectives in this program,” she said. “It’s great for shelters, it’s great for conservation, it’s great for the dogs, and of course, the working dogs groups that are looking to raise more awareness.”

And to get a sneak peak at the kind of impact these canines are having, one need look no further than the program’s website to see success stories like Wicket’s:

Wicket was 12 months old and had been at the shelter for 6 months. Her history was unknown. She had recently been spayed by a shelter “angel” hoping to make her more appealing for adoption. But it’s often very difficult to find a home for a dog who constantly whines and barks, and literally bounces of the walls of her kennel.

But something about her “brand” of bounce made me offer her a tennis ball through the front of her kennel. She was captivated. Her eyes never left the ball. Out in the exercise yard I was impressed by her eagerness for the ball and how she problem-solved until she could possess it again. I told the shelter worker that I wanted to try her out for a career as a conservation detection dog. “That one?!” the worker asked, incredulous. “But, that one’s crazy!”

Turns out, she was the right kind of “crazy”. That was almost 10 years ago. Wicket completed training blindingly fast, and was working in the mountains west of Yellowstone Park just a few months later sniffing out scat of wolves and grizzly bears. By now she has worked in 7 countries and 14 states, and knows how to sniff out over 25 different species of plants, live endangered animals, live unwanted pests, and scats. She is one of the stars of Working Dogs for Conservation.

“Our goal is to stem the tide of unadopted pets in US shelters and create rich and rewarding lives for canine partners,” Pete Coppolillo, WDC’s executive director, said in a statement. “Working with IFAW, we can have a much larger impact on shelter populations, particularly those unadopted dogs with the potential to save themselves by leveraging their characteristics to start a new, productive life saving wildlife.”

For more information on the program you can visit the websites linked above, or check out this fun video on how to identify a rescue dog that would be a good candidate for detection work.  

Vox: On Second Thought, The American Revolution Was A Mistake

This is just trolling, right? I mean, do you feel that that leaving the British Empire was a mistake? Well, Dylan Matthews of Vox appears to be lamenting our independence since we would have abolished slavery sooner, the Native Americans would have experienced a slightly less horrific genocide, and we would have adopted the UK’s system of government, which is totally better than America’s (according to liberals) because it allows the governing party to bulldoze over its opponents to push through their agenda:

American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake. We should be mourning the fact that we left the United Kingdom, not cheering it.

Of course, evaluating the wisdom of the American Revolution means dealing with counterfactuals. As any historian would tell you, this is messy business. We obviously can't be entirely sure how America would have fared if it had stayed in the British Empire longer, perhaps gaining independence a century or so later, along with Canada.

But I'm reasonably confident a world where the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: slavery would've been abolished earlier, American Indians would've faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government that makes policymaking easier and lessens the risk of democratic collapse.

The main reason the revolution was a mistake is that the British Empire, in all likelihood, would have abolished slavery earlier than the US did, and with less bloodshed.

This alone is enough to make the case against the revolution. Decades less slavery is a massive humanitarian gain that almost certainly dominates whatever gains came to the colonists from independence.

The main benefit of the revolution to colonists was that it gave more political power to America's white male minority.

American Indians would have still, in all likelihood, faced violence and oppression absent American independence, just as First Nations people in Canada did. But American-scale ethnic cleansing wouldn't have occurred.

…parliamentary democracies are a lot, lot better than presidential ones. They're significantly less likely to collapse into dictatorship because they don't lead to irresolvable conflicts between, say, the president and the legislature. They lead to much less gridlock.

In the US, activists wanting to put a price on carbon emissions spent years trying to put together a coalition to make it happen, mobilizing sympathetic businesses and philanthropists and attempting to make bipartisan coalition — and they still failed to pass cap and trade, after millions of dollars and man hours. In the UK, the Conservative government decided it wanted a carbon tax. So there was a carbon tax. Just like that. Passing big, necessary legislation — in this case, legislation that's literally necessary to save the planet — is a whole lot easier with parliaments than presidential systems.

So, there you have it; it’s a gross amalgamation of revisionist history and pipe dreams. No one denies American history had its messy moments, but that goes with almost any nation. The point is for future generations to learn from those mistakes, hence why racism is anathema in American society, why we’ll probably never lock up an entire ethnic minority during times of war, and why we’ll never reimpose an awful system of racial segregation. Slavery was ended after 600,000 American lives were lost during the Civil War, but doing the right thing sometimes has a hefty price tag. At the same time, the post-Civil War era marked the point where Americans began see one another as citizens of a united country, instead of the regionalist attitudes exhibited in the antebellum era. 

Over at Hot Air, Ed aptly points out that the Weimer Republic in Germany was a parliamentary system that collapsed into a dictatorship … led by Adolf Hitler, the British and the French consistently pitted the native tribes against one another in the frontier lands of America, and that strategy of playing tribes off each other would have probably entered another vicious cycle in the Napoleonic Wars. Oh, and Pontiac’s Rebellion–a three-year war against the British by a confederation of tribes along the Great Lakes–began due to perceived mistreatment by the Crown.

Lastly, on the issue of government, I like gridlock. Gridlock is our safety blanket in American society, and to not understand that is to avoid the essence of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The overarching theme was safety, not efficiency. As George Will says pervasively when this issue is brought up, that’s why we have three branches of government, two branches of the legislature, veto, veto override, supermajorities, judicial review, and the filibuster. All of these mechanisms are meant to slow the speed of government.

Also, forget the carbon tax scenario, what about the War on Terror? The majority of Americans think the interrogation measures that were used on terrorism suspects after 9/11 was justified, with a majority also saying that such techniques amounted to torture. In the UK system, if a bill passed permitting such methods, it–theoretically–would have been legal* once it was passed. There would be little progressives could do to stop such a law if an Americanized Conservative (or right-leaning party) Party had a commanding majority in this new parliamentary system. 

The UK doesn’t have a written Constitution; it’s whatever parliament passes. At the same time, this is why liberals probably like the UK model since it permits them to govern under a living constitution (truly). It’s a horrifying aspect.

At the same time, our Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from passing laws permitting abortion on demand or banning the death penalty, so, in a sense; liberals have been fighting their battles in the wrong arenas. Yet, they will probably have a problem building a consensus for the former initiative. Nevertheless, it shows you that consensus-building is key in advancing our society in a more democratic manner.

So, I’m not unhappy–or sad–that our Founding Father announced our complete break from Great Britain 239 years ago today. I’m not proud of our treatment of Native Americans or the institution of slavery, but those issues were dealt with, sometimes with a heavy body count and other times with results that were less than stellar. We’re not perfect, but neither is the UK. And that certainly applies to their system of government. The best we can do is learn from our shortfalls within our history and hope that future generations get it right.

*This scenario removes the existence of the UN Convention Against Torture