House Democrats Try Again To Dissolve Select Committee On Benghazi

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) tried to propose an amendment to the Rules Committee last night that would dissolve the House Select Committee on Benghazi. She serves as the ranking member on that committee. Republicans blocked it. Today, she’s putting forward a privileged resolution to get rid of the committee that Democrats accuse of being a political stunt aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential election (via NBC News/Luke Russert):

The resolution reads in part

Whereas a widely-quoted statement made on September 29th, 2015 by Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Leader of the House of Representatives, has called into question the integrity of the proceedings of the Select Committee and the House of Representatives as a whole;

Whereas this statement by Representative McCarthy demonstrates that the Select Committee established by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives was created to influence public opinion of a presidential candidate;

The resolution is a procedural tactic that will force House Republicans to take a public vote on the floor to keep the Benghazi Committee operational.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the presumptive successor to outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), has plunged this investigation into crisis mode after he commented that the committee’s existence–and its investigation–is hurting Hillary’s poll numbers. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who is running against McCarthy, called the remarks “absolutely terrible.” The chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), said that people should look at the work the committee has done. It’s not focused on Hillary; it’s focused on finding out what really happened in Libya on September 11, 2012. Gowdy, who is friends with McCarthy, acknowledged that he has apologized for the remarks repeatedly, but that doesn’t undo the damage that’s been done.

He said, "How many times can somebody apologize? Yes, he’s apologized as many times as a human can apologize. It doesn’t change it. It doesn’t fix it. The only thing you can say is, instead of listening to someone else’s words, why don’t you look at our actions?”

It seems as if McCarthy has given Democrats a huge gift; forcing votes that undermine the committee’s credibility and undercutting his legitimacy as our next speaker.

Hillary Land Reportedly Struggling To Find Meaning On Campaign Trail

Hillary land is saddled with a problem: finding meaning to her 2016 presidential run. Why is she running? What does she stand for? That seems to be a question that’s taking up some serious sticky note space. While the former first lady seems to be taking a firm stand on pushing for new gun control laws, even going as far as using executive action on background checks, this is an expected move. Her party is notoriously trying to curb Second Amendment rights and uses mass shootings as fertile ground to launch a nuclear strike against the prevailing social attitudes we have on gun politics.

Yet, that’s not the issue here. It’s finding meaning in Hillary land, which has been saddled with nothing but bad news throughout the summer. Her email fiasco isn’t going away, and her poll numbers have sunk to the point where her electability is now in question. The prohibitive frontrunner is described as a “liar," "dishonest," "untrustworthy," and a "fake” concerning word association with voters. Not the best to work with, but that doesn’t mean her team isn’t trying or has given up (via the Hill):

“The wall of stickies makes me nervous, because she should be for one vision for America and then maybe she achieves that vision with a bunch of policies,” said Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. “I’m probably for most of the things on the stickies, but voters will have a tough time digesting a campaign with about a hundred policies.”

David Axelrod, one of the masterminds of President Obama’s 2008 victory, has persistently warned that Clinton needs to provide a clear rationale for why she’s seeking the White House.

“ ‘Hillary: Live with it’ is no rallying cry!” Axelrod tweeted last month while bemoaning that the Clinton camp was running a “grinding, tactical race.”

Last December, Axelrod had warned that Clinton needed to show she was “running for a purpose and not just for a promotion.” He has also said, “You have to stand for something, you have to fight for something, and people need to know what that is.”

While Clinton loyalists might complain that Axelrod’s frequent barbs reflect the bad blood generated during the 2008 race, others in the Democratic Party share his concerns.

“Nothing about the campaign reads as fresh and new, but rather as cautious, risk-averse and private,” one Democratic strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of the Clinton campaign.

Independent observers, too, suggest that the former secretary of State has been slow to offer a summation of her reasons for seeking the presidency, beyond personal ambition.

Doug Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College at the City University of New York, said Clinton could end up getting into a tangle similar to the one that famously ensnared Edward Kennedy. Asked in a 1980 TV interview, “Why do you want to be president?” Kennedy gave a vague, meandering answer that was perceived as sapping his momentum.

That latter point seems to be occurring here, with Hillary’s poll numbers in key swing states continue to sag, coupled with a dive in her favorability ratings. As Guy wrote today, she’s continuing to lose to various candidates in the GOP field in Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, she’s lost a third of her support since June, and Sen. Bernie Sanders has a 22-point lead over Clinton in New Hampshire. Over at Hot Air, Ed wondered if Team Clinton was giving up on the Granite State. As of now, it looks as if the prohibitive Democratic nominee for 2016 can’t compete there. To make matters worse, Hillary has lost a huge chunk of Democratic women (with leaners) since July. To pour more salt in the wound, Clinton has seen a 31-point drop in support among African-Americans, according to a USA Today poll.

Over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver noted that Sanders could win New Hampshire and Iowa, but lose everything else given how the primary electorates shift after two states with a predominantly white voter base cast their ballots; Sanders’ core group of support is white progressives. When we get to other contests, the electorate becomes more diverse, which would increase the chances that Hillary would get things going again–and eventually clinch the nomination. Winning over, or at least being competitive with, nonwhite Democrats, moderates, and southerners is essential for Bernie to remain competitive after New Hampshire. Most nonwhite Democrats barely know who he is, but the dip in black support for Clinton and women should have that campaign somewhat nervous, given then that this is all compounded by the fact that Sanders had a pretty solid fundraising quarter. He almost raised as much cash as Clinton.

The inevitable nominee is losing the first two major primary contests, while bleeding key voters and is raising only slightly more cash than her closest opponent; this isn’t exactly the recipe for a good news cycle. Oh, and one of the reasons why women are fleeing Clinton: they think she’s lying about her private email system. If Hillary needs to find a reason to give voters why she should be our next president, the time is now. At the same time, I hope she remain lost, as everyone seems to think she is with this aspect of her campaign. 

Obama Apologizes for 'Mistaken' Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital

At a White House press conference Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest informed the media that President Obama called the Doctors Without Border international president, Joanne Liu, to apologize for the U.S. military's mistaken airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan that killed 22 innocent people. He made another telephone call to extend his condolences to Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. 

"When the United States makes a mistake, we own up to it, we apologize where appropriate, and we are honest about what transpired," Earnest said. He described the call as a "heartfelt apology."

His phone call is unlikely to comfort the aid group, however, who is insisting they had no prior warning about an incoming attack. Liu said it violated the terms of the Geneva conventions and has demanded a non-prosecutorial inquiry by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.

“This was not just an attack on our hospital – it was an attack on the Geneva conventions. This cannot be tolerated,” said Liu.

General John Campbell, a top U.S. military commander, addressed the tragedy at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, lamenting that the medical facility was "mistakenly struck."

Earnest said an investigation is taking place so the Defense Department can prevent such tragic mistakes in the future.

Obama Throwing Temper Tantrum Over GITMO Funding

When President Obama ran for office the first time in 2008, he made the political promise to close down Guantanamo Bay Prison. Once he entered the Oval Office, that promise became difficult to keep as Americans overwhelmingly rejected bringing Islamic terrorists to their neighborhoods in the United States. As a result Obama has found other ways to empty out the prison, including his decision to swap five Taliban commanders for traitor and deserter Bowe Berghdahl. 

Now, Obama is using the bipartisan defense budget to throw a temper tantrum about GITMO funding and is threatening a veto unless funding for the prison is pulled. From AP

The Senate moved forward Tuesday on a sweeping, $612 billion defense policy bill despite a presidential veto threat stemming from larger budget disputes that have hamstrung Washington.
The vote was 73-26, 13 votes more than necessary to break any filibuster. The Senate is expected to pass the measure Wednesday and send it to President Barack Obama.
The defense policy bill is one of the few bipartisan measures in Congress that has readily become law for more than a half-century, but Obama’s veto threat jeopardizes the legislation.

Further, the White House is claiming the veto threat is also a result of Congress refusing to increase funding for domestic law enforcement agencies, but according to the Washington Post, the funding Obama is demanding isn't for important things like fighting ISIS. More details on that

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest indicated Obama plans to be stubborn on the issue and that the veto threat stands. 

“The current version that was passed through the House of Representatives is something that the president would veto principally because of this — of the irresponsible way that it funds our national defense priorities, but also because of the efforts to prevent the closure [of] the prison at Guantánamo Bay,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. “So our position on this hasn’t changed. We continue to feel strongly about it.”

Divider-in-Chief indeed. 

Carson Reveals the Stabbing Incident That Changed His Life Forever in New CBC Author Interview

Podcast Author Interview with Dr. Ben Carson! Dr. Carson reveals the stabbing incident that changed his life forever, and how he became a devout Christian at the age of 14!

In an exclusive CBC podcast author interview, we sat down with Dr. Ben Carson – the famed author, neurosurgeon, and leading 2016 Republican presidential candidate. He discusses his new book, A More Perfect Union: What We The People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, his faith,and the incident that changed his life forever.

Dr. Carson openly discusses his anger issues as a teenager that led him to almost stab a fellow schoolmate at the age of 14. Learn how divine providence saved both their lives by listening to our podcast interview with Dr. Ben Carson. Start at Min 7:20 in the video to hear the story.

It should be noted that Dr. Carson had written about this incident in his autobiography, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson

- See more at:

There's No Correlation Between Gun Laws and Homicide Rates

In the wake of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, there's been a lot of talk about America's gun laws and ways to prevent mass shootings. As my colleague Matt Vespa wrote on Friday, there's a lot of misinformation on the topic being spread around.

One law professor, Eugene Volokh, decided to do the math and see if gun laws were actually effective in reducing crime. Volokh drew up a graph comparing a state's homicide rates against its Brady Campaign score. (A state with an an "F" from the Brady Campaign means that there are fewer gun laws.) Volokh found that there's zero correlation between a state having strict gun laws and a lower homicide rate.

The correlation between the homicide rate and Brady score in all 51 jurisdictions is +.032 (on a scale of -1 to +1), which means that states with more gun restrictions on average have very slightly higher homicide rates, though the tendency is so small as to be essentially zero. (If you omit the fatal gun accident rates, then the correlation would be +.065, which would make the more gun-restricting states look slightly worse; but again, the correlation would be small enough to be essentially zero, given all the other possible sources of variation.)

Gun violence is a tragedy, and it's unfortunate that numbers are muddled for political points. With anti-gun groups like Everytown releasing very inaccurate maps claiming there are far more school shootings than there actually are, and suicides are being lumped into the "gun violence" figures, it's hard to get an accurate, honest look on the state of gun crime in the United States.

Gowdy ‘Disappointed’ by Friend Kevin McCarthy After Benghazi Comments

One can’t help thinking that all the work Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has done as chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee over the past year was washed down the drain with a 10-second sound bite. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), considered the frontrunner to be the next Speaker of the House, suggested the creation of the committee helped siphon off Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. It was a very poor choice of words that has somewhat discredited the committee’s efforts.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) called McCarthy’s remarks “absolutely terrible” and “inappropriate” shortly before announcing he’s running against him in the race for speaker. The Benghazi committee, he insisted, was formed with the sole purpose of finding out why more wasn't done to save four American diplomats on September 11, 2012.

Now Gowdy is the one breaking his silence over his friend’s damaging comments:

“Kevin is a friend, which makes the disappointment, frankly, even more bitter. If faith tells you to forgive somebody…” Gowdy trails off. “It’s tough,” he says after a moment. “People should go by what we’ve done. How many people have we interviewed? How many of those people have been named Clinton?”

McCarthy’s apology, Gowdy continued, doesn’t amount to much:

“How many times can somebody apologize? Yes, he’s apologized as many times as a human can apologize. It doesn’t change it. It doesn’t fix it. The only thing you can say is, instead of listening to someone else’s words, why don’t you look at our actions?”

Those actions include launching a thorough investigation and holding several hearings grilling government officials over the policies and decisions that may have led to the overseas tragedy. These efforts on behalf of the committee are all documented here. Gowdy’s commitment to discovering the Benghazi truth is evident considering he has rejected calls to run for speaker of the House to focus solely on his committee work.

Clinton will appear before the Benghazi committee later this month as Gowdy and company demand some answers about the State Department’s failure to keep our diplomats safe. Hopefully McCarthy's comments will amount to no more than a forgotten gaffe.

Father of Oregon Shooting Victim: We Will Not Be Attending Obama's Exploitative Gun Control Visit

Tomorrow President Obama is scheduled to visit Rosenburg, Oregon, where 10 people were killed last week at Umpqua Community College by a deranged killer who happened to use a gun to carry out his crimes. 

We've already reported on the repulsed reaction from the community as people who live there continue to reject Obama's visit. Now Stacy Boylan, the father of shooting victim Ana Boylan, is directly speaking out against Obama's visit and has no interest in putting up with his exploitation of the tragedy for political purposes.

"I do believe it was Rahm Emanuel who said 'Never let a good tragedy go to waste,' and I really feel that his [Obama] visit here is to completely to support his gun control agenda. I can't understand why he wouldn't make a mention of the families and the victims. I mean, he did say that it was a tragic incident and I do thank him for lowering the flags but he made it all about gun control. He was very clear about that and we saw this in Sandy Hook and now we're seeing it again and I just question his motives," Boylan said. "I've spoken to my family and for myself and for my family, my daughter and son, on principle I find that we are in disagreement with his policies on gun control and therefore we will not be attending the visit." 

"My position on this is that gun free zones are an issue, they're a target for crazy people because they know they're not going to be met with resistance. You know, my daughter said to me, 'What if somebody would have had a gun?' Gun free and gun control takes that option off the table. Somebody doesn't have to use their gun in defense, but to take that option entirely, I don't think that's the right course," he continued.

Boylan said his daughter is recovering from her physical injuries and is still processing what happened.

Dems Demand GOP Apologize to Cecile Richards for 'Witch Hunt' Hearing

In a series of undercover videos, the Center for Medical Progress has exposed Planned Parenthood as more than an abortion giant, but an organization that also harvests fetal body parts. Investigations of the organization, which kicked off immediately at the state and federal levels, brought Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards to Capitol Hill to testify last week, where she was rightfully grilled over the group’s sale of fetal body parts.

Now, however, Democrats are calling foul on the hearing, and demanding that Republicans apologize to Richards, who they claim was “cross-examined and accosted with personal questions and accusations for 4 ½ hours while constantly being interrupted.”

In a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Rosa DeLauro, and Louise Slaughter allege that the hearing was not oversight at all, but rather a “witch hunt against [Richards] personally and an ideological attack on a critical provider of women’s health care.”

“We sincerely believe that the Committee should extend an apology to Ms. Richards and refrain from such ideologically based personal attacks of its witnesses in the future,” the representatives wrote, “particularly because there was no basis to the allegations from the outset.”

The members of Congress also took issue with the chart that was shown during the hearing, which illustrated that Planned Parenthood performs more abortions than cancer screenings and preventative services. 

In the end, the lawmakers contend that, “Planned Parenthood has been the victim of an entrapment scheme conducted over three years in which an opposing political organization actively lied and used deceptive tactics against Planned Parenthood’s employees.”

“Clearly,” they continue, “Planned Parenthood, and its President, was the subject of a hostile hearing in the absence of evidence of any wrongdoing.”

First of all, despite Planned Parenthood and the Democrats’ talking point about how the videos were “deceptively edited,” a new forensics report suggests otherwise. And secondly, when the investigation is concerning something as gruesome as the sale of fetal body parts by an organization that receives half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding, lawmakers have every right to ask tough questions. And if Richards is truly "proud" of her organization's work harvesting fetal body parts, as she says she is, she shouldn't have felt the least bit uncomfortable defending the practice--in the media or on Capitol Hill. 

Swing State Q-Poll: Democratic Frontrunner Disliked, Distrusted

In all fairness, these surveys were in the field prior to Hillary Clinton's game-changing displays of planned spontaneity on SNL and the Today Show -- and before her first national television ad was unveiled. About that ad. New Red State editor-in-chief makes a compelling case that its concept is counter-productive and its content poorly produced. Plus, on-air advertising hasn't exactly been a silver bullet for Team Clinton:

She's losing to various Republicans in those two states according to NBC's latest poll, and here's more bad news for Democrats' double-digit frontrunner via Quinnipiac, which surveyed voters in three additional battleground states:

Florida: Favorability (44/51), trustworthiness (35/59). Clinton is locked in statistical ties with Marco Rubio (-1), Jeb Bush (-1), Carly Fiorina (+2) and Ben Carson (+2). She leads Donald Trump by five points.

Ohio: Favorability (38/56), trustworthiness (33/61). Clinton lags behind every Republican polled, except for Trump. She trails Carson by nine, Rubio by four, and Bush and Fiorina by two.

Pennsylvania: Favorability (41/54), trustworthiness (34/61).  Match-ups present the same deal as Ohio. Hillary is down to each potential GOP rival with the exception of Donald Trump. Carson (-9), Bush (-6), Fiorina (-4), Rubio (-3).

The poll shows Bernie Sanders also struggling against hypothetical Republican opponents; undeclared candidate Joe Biden emerges as the strongest Democrat in these head-to-head match-ups. Clinton's allies are reportedly weighing the possibility of giving up in New Hampshire, the state that revived her 2008 effort against Barack Obama, and her primary lead has tumbled precipitously in True Blue California.  Nevertheless, even with troubling new wrinkles in her email scandal arising by the day, Mrs. Clinton leads her party's primary field by more than 16 percentage points in the RCP average -- down sharply from her 50-point advantage in the spring, but still a sizable lead.  I'll leave you with a few thoughts from Democratic voters in New Hampshire:

Mike Huckabee To Visit California Section of U.S.-Mexico Border Saturday

Former Arkansas governor and current GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be visiting the California-Mexico border Saturday. He will be escorted by Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who represents Congressional District  50 just north of San Diego. A tour of the border, spanning from the Pacific ocean to Pacific Ocean the San Ysidro Port of Entry, will be given by members of the National Border Patrol Council which is the union representing all U.S. Border Patrol Agents. 

"America has an immigration crisis on its hands, and it’s time for the federal government to do its job. Without a secure border, nothing matters. We have drug cartels running reckless on our southern border, and the Washington establishment wants to reward illegal immigrants with amnesty and citizenship," Huckabee's campaign website states. "If you reward people who play outside the rules and punish people who live within the rules, pretty soon nobody is going to play by the rules. We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws."
If elected, Huckabee has pledged to end illegal immigration and says he "will reject President Obama's unconstitutional executive orders," oppose amnesty and secure the border in order to do so.  

In July, the NBPC pulled out of tour events planned for presidential candidate Donald Trump after he made derogatory comments about the military service of Arizona Senator John McCain.

Carson: We Need People in Schools Who are Armed and Trained

When Fox and Friends asked presidential candidate Ben Carson about the tragic shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, the retired neurosurgeon said he would have charged the gunman and encouraged others to do the same. Critics skewered him for being insensitive to the situation. 

Yet, when Fox News’ Martha MacCullum asked Carson Tuesday morning to elaborate on his comments about Umpqua, he repeated his initial statement.

“Why would you sit there and wait?” Carson asked.

Carson's headline making comments mark the second time in recent weeks that he has received backlash for his perceived “controversial” opinions, the first being when he suggested a Muslim should not be president.

MacCullum asked how he is dealing with having to “keep cleaning up these comments.”

“I don’t deal with it, to be honest,” Carson coolly responded.

“You have a group of people…they’re just trying to cause more division,” he continued. “I believe the American people are smarter than that.”

Nevertheless, MacCullum continued to press, asking if Carson perhaps needs to polish his language, “Do you need to get better at saying what you mean?”

“I’m not going to change and become a manila envelope that they can accept,” he said. “They’re never going to accept. I’m going to be who I am.”

The Fox News host then asked Carson, in light of the mass shootings at schools, how he would make schools safer for students.

“We need to be studying the shooters and gathering information about early warning signs in their lives,” he suggested.

Noting that many of these school shooters have psychiatric problems, he said we need to “empower our mental health professionals.”

He also had some recommendations as to how students can avoid being targets.

“Give kids scenarios,” he said. “You have to train them how to react.”

As for how to make schools safer, he offered a proposal that is popular with many conservatives:

“We need to have people in schools who are armed and trained.”

Retired police officers can fill those roles, he suggested, as well as certain teachers with the “right disposition.”

Politico: Biden Leaked Anecdote About Dying Son Urging Him to Run

First, let's recall this searing scene, relayed to New York Times readers by columnist Maureen Dowd in August:

When Beau realized he was not going to make it, he asked his father if he had a minute to sit down and talk. “Of course, honey,” the vice president replied. At the table, Beau told his dad he was worried about him. My kid’s dying, an anguished Joe Biden thought to himself, and he’s making sure I’m O.K. “Dad, I know you don’t give a damn about money,” Beau told him, dismissing the idea that his father would take some sort of cushy job after the vice presidency to cash in. Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values. Hunter also pushed his father, telling him, “Dad, it’s who you are.”

It's a story of a dying man using the final hours of his life to press his father, on the heartbreaking brink of losing his second child, to seek the presidency. Joe Biden's family tragedy engendered a flood of bipartisan sympathy after Beau passed, and the Vice President's emotional interview with Stephen Colbert elicited strong reviews. Biden's humanity and heartfelt grief was apparent.  The commentariat buzzed about Dowd's column, citing the Beau's deathbed wish as an emotional factor that could have a powerful effect on voters if Biden were to jump into the race.  Now, with that eventuality looking increasingly likely, we have this -- via Politico:

Joe Biden has been making his 2016 deliberations all about his late son since August. Aug. 1, to be exact — the day renowned Hillary Clinton-critic Maureen Dowd published a column that marked a turning point in the presidential speculation. According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her, painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because "the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” It was no coincidence that the preliminary pieces around a prospective campaign started moving right after that column. People read Dowd and started reaching out, those around the vice president would say by way of defensive explanation. He was just answering the phone and listening. But in truth, Biden had effectively placed an ad in The New York Times, asking them to call. Before that moment and since, Biden has told the Beau story to others. Sometimes details change — the setting, the exact words. The version he gave Dowd delivered the strongest punch to the gut, making the clearest swipe at Clinton by enshrining the idea of a campaign against her in the words of a son so beloved nationally that his advice is now beyond politics...“Calculation sort of sounds crass, but I guess that’s what it is,” said one person who’s recently spoken to Biden about the prospect of running. “The head is further down the road than the heart is.”

Let's stipulate that mourning families ought to be afforded a very wide berth in processing and manifesting their grief.  But this exploitive, self-serving episode borders on sociopathic.  In his excellent post on this controversy, Allahpundit games out the kindest possible explanation for Biden handing a gift-wrapped, emotionally- and politically-charged nugget to a prominent journalist: "Here’s an innocuous way this could have happened. Dowd, having known Biden for years, might have gotten him on the phone in July just to extend her condolences and they ended up chatting about Beau’s illness and his last days. At some point Biden might have idly relayed the conversation he and Beau had had about him possibly running and Dowd, realizing she’d just been handed the political equivalent of a gold nugget, set about trying to persuade him to let her use it in a column."  Click through for AP's convincing reasons to be dubious of that version of events.  For what it's worth, Biden's office is angrily and categorically denying the report:

So Biden didn't share this story with Dowd? And hasn't repeated it since, with details shifting in various iterations? Or maybe they're contesting the broader implication of the piece -- which would make sense. It looks awful. As you ponder whether or not you believe Team Biden, I'll leave you with a question: Regardless of who planted the original story with Dowd, who leaked this follow-up to Politico?  Follow the cui bono principle.  Is there a politician on the scene whose conniving ambitions are particularly threatened by a potential Biden presidential run -- so much so that he (or she!) would be willing to peddle brutal oppo involving his son's death?  Such a person would have to be fueled by a potent combination of ruthlessness and desperation.  Such a person would represent the apotheosis of cynical political calculation, deliberately choosing to expose Biden's alleged sociopathy as a means of safeguarding his or her own unquenchable thirst for power.  I can't think of anyone who fits that description, can you?

Report: Clinton Campaign Not Allowed on 'Morning Joe' Until Hillary Agrees to Appear

Wonder why no Clinton campaign staffers have appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe?” It is an intentional blackout until Hillary agrees to come on the show herself, Joe Scarborough told Politico.

"The rule was put in place for Hillary's campaign because while just about every other candidate came on, the Clinton team kept trying to put out surrogates and staffers,” host Joe Scarborough told POLITICO. “We finally said 'not until the candidate comes on herself.' And then some suggested we have Jeb [Bush's] people on a month or so ago, but we held to the same policy."

The same goes for everyone in the race, Scarborough explained. On the Republican side, Ben Carson, John Kasich and Marco Rubio have yet to appear, so until then, the host said, none of their campaigns will have a chance to speak for their candidate.

The “Morning Joe” hosts haven’t exactly been very flattering of Clinton. After hearing reports that her campaign had basically manufactured a campaign event in April, Mika Brzezinski criticized Hillary for her lack of authenticity. Then, in September, Joe and Mika picked apart Clinton’s “apology” video as flat and forced. Oh and then there was that time the panel mocked Hillary for wearing what looked like an “orange jumpsuit” to a press conference on her emails.

I don’t get the Clinton campaign strategy. I mean, are her proxies really any better?

Connecticut IT Firm Might Have More Of Clinton's Personal Emails

Hillary's email fiasco is a billion-piece puzzle. We all know this; she had a private email server she shouldn’t have used per the 2009 National Archives and Recordkeeping Administration guidelines; the emails weren’t being properly saved by the State Department; they had classified information sent through her private email system even though she said that she did no such thing; there’s the allegation that Clinton’s inner-circle might have removed some of the classification markers; and she paid a State Department staffer with her own money to set up the server and maintain it after it was operational. Oh, and that staffer, Bryan Pagliano, was subpoenaed in August, where he plead the fifth before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last month.

Now, there’s this nugget. There was another firm based in Connecticut­, Datto, Inc., which stored Hillary’s emails on a private cloud storage that have some wondering if all 31,000 personal emails Clinton said she destroyed were actually preserved. When Hillary was exiting the Obama administration in her capacity as Secretary of State, she was looking to upgrade her system and find someone else to maintain her server after Pagliano, which leads us to the Colorado-based Platte River Networks, according to The Washington Post.

McClatchy reported yesterday that Platte set up a 60-day retention policy in which any emails with incremental changes “were made in at least 60 days prior would be deleted.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to Datto asking that they turnover the backup drives to the FBI; they agreed to do that.

Several weeks ago, Platte River employees discovered that her private server was syncing with an offsite Datto server, he said.

When Datto acknowledged that was the case, a Platte River employee replied in an email: “This is a problem.”

Upon that discovery, Platte River “directed Datto to not delete the saved data and worked with Datto to find a way to move the saved information . . . back to Secretary Clinton’s private server.”

The letter also noted that Platte River employees were directed to reduce the amount of email data being stored with each backup. Late this summer, Johnson wrote, a Platte River employee took note of this change and inquired whether the company could search its archives for an email from Clinton Executive Service Corp. directing such a reduction in October or November 2014 and then again around February, advising Platte River to save only emails sent during the most recent 30 days.

Those reductions would have occurred after the State Department requested that Clinton turn over her emails.

It was here that a Platte River employee voiced suspicions about a cover-up and sought to protect the company. “If we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups,” the employee wrote, “and that we can go public with our statement saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better,” according to the email cited by Johnson.

On that latter part, in Johnson's letter, it included requests from Platte River to Datto in 2014 and 2014 “to reduce the amount of her emails it was backing up. These communications led a Platte River employee to air suspicions that ‘this whole thing really is covering up some shaddy (sic) s**t.’” The article also mentioned that State is asking the former first lady if she indeed turned over all of her business-related emails.

Clinton surrendered her private emails server to the Justice Department in August, where they were able to find some of her personal emails she deleted–along with discovering that there was at least one attempt to wipe the server clean. This is also around the same time when Hillary’s emails flagged for having sensitive material soared to over 300.

This scandal has engulfed the Clinton campaign, where her supposed top-notch team thought this scandal would go away. Yeah, that was a gross miscalculation. Her poll numbers have sunk, with “dishonest," "liar," "untrustworthy" and "fake” becoming the top words associated with Clinton when you bring up the former first lady. Oh, and while we’re discussing classified information, Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at the State Department, forwarded two emails that were classified to the Clinton Foundation–which the media hasn’t even touched upon yet.

Wyo., ND Governors To EPA: Hey, We Need More Time On Clean Power Plan Regulations Because You Totally ‘Blindsided’ Us

By now, you know that the Obama administration has a plan to combat the threat of global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It’s already projected to gut millions of jobs from black and Hispanic communities, place fixed-income seniors in a bind over increased energy costs, and  disproportionately impacts most of the states that didn’t vote for the president in 2012. Moreover, a majority of Americans already know their electrical bills are going to go up.

Regardless, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with the plan, and states draft their own blueprints to best accommodate the prescribed regulations of the plan. If states refuse, than a federal model will be applied, though states still retain the option to draft their own plans after the deadline, which would replace federal protocols. This has been a source of contention between the White House and Republicans, specifically Republican governors, some of which have said they’re either refusing or considering ignoring the new regulations.

For some governors, like Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, both Republicans, they feel like they need more time, but are willing to look at other ways to reduce their emissions. At the same time, both governors admitted that the plan sets impossible standards for them (via E&E Publishing):

The governors of two coal-dependent Western states, Wyoming and North Dakota, believe they have a strong case to make to the Obama administration about the extra time they need to comply with U.S. EPA's new rule to slash CO2 emissions from power plants.

Despite EPA officials' frequent claims of "unprecedented outreach" to states while crafting the final Clean Power Plan, last week the two Western governors told E&E Publishing they felt blindsided when the federal agency announced in August that both states will have to meet much steeper greenhouse gas reduction targets than initially proposed.

"I think I read it in the newspaper," said North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R).

North Dakota's emissions rate reduction jumped from 11 percent to 45 percent under the final rule. Wyoming's leapt from 19 percent to 44 percent.

"To me, to come to be that far off would suggest shoddy work," Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) said in a separate interview.

Both states plan to challenge the rule in court. But although both governors say EPA's new rule sets impossible carbon reduction targets that will harm their states' economies, the two also expressed willingness to explore what their states could do to reduce carbon emissions. Both Wyoming and North Dakota are drafting compliance plans for what they think they can achieve.

The preliminary strategy plans to accommodate the goals of the Clean Power Plan have a September 6, 2016 deadline. Fifteen state attorneys general filed a petition to extend the deadlines, though it was rejected by the D.C. Court of Appeals in September.

House Democrats Will Try To Dissolve Select Committee On Benghazi Tonight UPDATE: Voted Down, Committee Remains

It probably wasn’t the best idea for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the presumptive successor to outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner, to suggest that Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers were sinking due to the existence of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The Clinton Team already has a campaign ad about it, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who is challenging McCarthy for the speakership, called the remarks “absolutely terrible.”

In a second salvo, House Democrats are aiming to dissolve the Select Committee on Benghazi tonight, with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) proposing the Rules Committee eliminate it tonight, though it’s bound to be blocked given the Republican majority. The Washington Post  reports that while this move is unlikely to succeed, it shows that Democrats intend to soften up the panel ahead of Hillary’s Oct. 22 testimony before the committee:

Democrats will double down Tuesday night on their push to end the House Select Committee on Benghazi when Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) offers an amendment to kill the panel during a meeting of the Rules Committee.

Slaughter’s move will be blocked by Republicans, who are a majority on the panel. But the amendment offers a hint at Democrats’ strategy to weaken the panel before it hears testimony from Hillary Clinton on Oct. 22.

Slaughter, the top Democrat on Rules, will offer her amendment to a Republican bill creating a new Select Committee on Planned Parenthood in response to a series of controversial, undercover videos about the group. The amendment will strike the Planned Parenthood language and order the dissolution of the Benghazi committee.

UPDATE: Rep. Louise Slaughter offered an amendment to dissolve House Select Committee on Benghazi and it was voted down.

Police Agencies Display 'In God We Trust' on Patrol Cars, Tell Critics to 'Go Fly a Kite'

In 1956 President Eisenhower signed a law that made “In God We Trust” the nation’s official motto. Two years prior he successfully sought to add “under God” to the country’s “Pledge of Allegiance.” Today, despite fervent efforts to completely separate church and state in America, reverence to God is still seen on our printed money, coins, and some state flags.

Lately, however, you may have seen the motto cropping up in an unfamiliar place: on the back of police cars.

“In recent months, dozens of Southern and Midwestern law enforcement agencies have added the axiom to squad cars, usually to the vexation of vocal, often distant critics, and at the personal expense of sheriffs, police chiefs or rank-and-file employees,” The New York Times reports.

“If it’s on my money and it’s on the state flag, I can put it on a patrol car,” said Sheriff Johnny Moats, who encouraged sheriffs in Georgia this year to promote the motto’s placement on their official vehicles. “Just about every single day, I have another sheriff calling and saying, ‘I’ve done it’ or ‘Can you send me a picture of your patrol car?’"

Some officials contend that their display of the motto is elementary patriotism, a four-word way of “standing up for America, standing up for our country,” Sheriff Moats said. Others in law enforcement say the stickers are a response to the battering their profession’s reputation has taken after more than a year of high-profile killings and extraordinary scrutiny.

“With the dark cloud that law enforcement has been under recently, I think that we need to have a human persona on law enforcement,” said Sheriff Brian Duke of Henderson County, Tenn. “It gave us an opportunity to put something on our cars that said: ‘We are you. We’re not the big, bad police.’ ”

But critics, like the organization Freedom From Religious Foundation, argue they shouldn’t be allowed on government vehicles, despite the fact that the courts have repeatedly dismissed challenges to the motto.

"We are getting a lot of concern from non-believers in these smaller communities, where they feel they will be targeted," the group’s Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor told Fox7. "These sheriffs and police think they take guidance from God instead of our civil law and that's scary."

Childress Police Chief Adrian Garcia was unfazed by critics, however. 

“After carefully reading your letter I must deny your request in the removal of our Nations [sic] motto from our patrol units,” Garcia responded in a letter, “and ask that you and the Freedom From Religion Foundation go fly a kite.” 

Kasich: Maybe I'll Buy Bibles for Medicaid Expansion Critics, So They'll Care About the Poor

Since we just slammed Democrats' grotesque End of Discussion tactics, we'll strive for evenhandedness by upbraiding a Republican for his own contribution to this scourge.  Enter Ohio Governor and presidential candidate John Kasich.  He's been a staunch defender of his decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, often invoking religious values as a justification for his public policy stance.  The Left has applauded, by the way, because citing the Bible within a political context is perfectly acceptable when it's in service of certain ideological interests; otherwise, it's a dangerous harbinger of incipient theocracy.  At a forum today, Kasich -- who, again, is seeking to win the Republican nomination, which requires attracting the support of conservatives whose contempt for Obamacare is essentially universal -- quadrupled down on his unseemly go-to line:

Might this have been pulled out of context, resulting in a buzzy, uncharitable, unfair exaggeration? Nope:

Kasich begins by whining about people "yelling" at him over his controversial decision on Medicaid.  Civil discourse is of course a laudable goal, but Kasich's tone here is redolent of Democrats cynically reaching for the smelling salts after citizens dared to raise their voices at Obamacare town hall meetings in 2009.  Politics stir passions and inspire rough-and-tumble debates sometimes.  You're a powerful elected leader, governor.  Deal with it.  Next, he climbs atop his high horse to reprise his discussion-ending talking point, explicitly arguing that the Bible teaches us to care for the poor, ergo, his political decision is effectively blessed by God Himself.  Questions: Would Gov. Kasich, who's campaigning for the White House as a budget-balancing fiscal conservative, accept this exact same framing if it were applied in advocacy of expanding all elements of the welfare state?  Does enacting compassionate policies while seeking Godliness require ever-increasing government spending, across the board?  If not, where does he draw the line on this "logic"?

Then there's the small matter of pre-Obamacare Medicaid already straining state budgets, already struggling with access problems, and already  failing the truly indigent on an empirical level.  Obamacare took a wheezing, bloated program beset with systemic challenges and expanded it to millions of additional Americans. The results have been predictable and tragic.  Beyond the aforementioned shortcomings, one of its supporters' chief selling points has also been debunked by reality.  Medicaid's enormous new burdens render the program even less effective and accessible for those who need it most: The very poor.  How would God feel about that outcome, governor?  Incidentally, the accuracy of a few claims you've made about Medicaid in your state have been called into question by fact-checkers.  Since we're apparently impugning opponents' motives in the crassest way possible, one wonders if the Bible has anything to say about lying.  Someone buy this man a copy, stat.  I'll leave you with a few points from Gabriel Malor:

Good News: Deportation Rates For Criminal Immigrants Lowest Since Obama Took Office

Well, we have this terrific news from the Associated Press:

Deportations of criminal immigrants have fallen to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, despite his pledge to focus on finding and deporting criminals living in the country illegally. The share of criminal immigrants deported in relation to overall immigrants deported rose slightly, from 56 percent to 59 percent.

The overall total of 231,000 deportations generally does not include Mexicans who were caught at the border and quickly returned home by the U.S. Border Patrol. The figure does include roughly 136,700 convicted criminals deported in the last 12 months. Total deportations dropped 42 percent since 2012.

The Homeland Security Department has not yet publicly disclosed the new internal figures, which include month-by-month breakdowns and cover the period between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 28. The new numbers emerged as illegal immigration continues to be sharply debated among Republican presidential candidates, especially front-runner Donald Trump. And they come as Obama carries out his pledge from before his 2012 re-election to narrowly focus enforcement and slow deportations after more than a decade of rising figures.

The biggest surprise in the figures was the decline in criminal deportations. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last year directed immigration authorities anew to focus on finding and deporting immigrants who pose a national security or public safety threat, those who have serious criminal records or those who recently crossed the Mexican border. The decline suggests the administration has been failing to find criminal immigrants in the U.S. interior, or that fewer immigrants living in the U.S. illegally had criminal records serious enough to justify deporting them.

Well, whatever the reason, people have been getting killed due to our reported inability to find them. On July 24, 64-year-old Marilyn Pharis was raped and murdered by 29-year-old Victor Aureliano Hernandez Ramirez and his accomplice, Jose Fernando Villagomez, after they broke into her home in California. Hernandez was released after serving time for a battery charge. As Leah wrote, Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer request on Hernandez, asking local sheriffs to notify them when he would be released so he could be taken into custody and determine whether he should be deported; that request did not receive a response from local law enforcement. Moreover, it doesn’t help that this administration has hamstrung federal immigration enforcement measures.

The crimes caused by illegal immigrants in the country was spotlighted by the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, where she was shot by Francisco Sanchez, while walking on a pier with her father, her last words being “help me, Dad.” Sanchez was deported five times before, but kept coming back into the country illegally, seeking refuge in San Francisco since he knew it was a sanctuary city–and that no effort would be made to detain him. He said Steinle’s death was an accident.

Despite Video Investigation, 30 Percent of Americans Have ‘Very Favorable’ View of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood’s ability to spin its way out of a scandal, coupled with the mainstream media's agenda, is more effective than we thought. Even after the Center for Medical Progress captured hours of inhumane footage behind Planned Parenthood's closed doors, a majority of Americans still support the abortion giant.

CMP’s 3-year investigation into Planned Parenthood revealed that officials like to joke about selling fetal body parts and sip their wine while discussing the price tag. The campaign outraged pro-lifers, who demanded the organization, at the very least, be stripped of its taxpayer funding.

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards offered an unconvincing defense of her organization’s actions when she faced the House Oversight Committee last week in Washington, D.C. Instead of offering an explanation for the recorded content, she dismissed the video investigation as a “deceptively edited” smear campaign by a radical anti-abortion group. 

As for the media, they have many times ignored or reported on the investigation in a way that suggests they are trying to protect Planned Parenthood's reputation.

Unfortunately, it all seems to be working. A new Rasmussen Reports phone survey of 1,000 likely voters determined a majority of Americans still view the organization positively.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, including 29% with a Very Favorable one. Forty-two percent (42%) view the reproductive health organization unfavorably, with 30% who hold a Very Unfavorable view of it.

These results suggest Americans still perceive Planned Parenthood as a well-meaning women’s health organization. Too many, for instance, are under the impression that the organization provides mammograms. Yet, Richards even admitted they do not. What's more, a statistic Planned Parenthood supporters like to dangle in front of the opposition is that abortion only accounts for 3 percent of its services. Americans United for Life explains just how misleading that number is, considering abortion accounts for a huge chunk of Planned Parenthood's revenue. What pro-life lawmakers hope is that the federal funding saved for Planned Parenthood can be redirected to other women’s health centers that only offer lifesaving services.

For those who don't believe everything Planned Parenthood says, this Saturday will mark the second National Day of Protest against the organization. A list of locations can be found here.

Hillary: Hey, I’ll Totally Bypass Congress On Gun Control If Necessary

We all knew this was coming. Hillary Clinton unveiling her new gun control policies, which included the holy grail of liberal proposals–expanding background checks. Yet, she isn’t just going to throw policies out there for progressives to munch on; she’s threatening to use executive action to get some of them enacted (via AP):

Her campaign rolled out a robust set of proposals Monday, including using executive action as president to expand background check requirements. Under current federal law, such checks are not required for sales made at gun shows or over the Internet.

Clinton pledged to require anyone "attempting to sell a significant number of guns" to be considered a firearms dealer, and therefore need a federal license. She did not say how many gun sales would constitute a "significant" number.

Efforts to require such comprehensive background checks have failed several times in recent years in Congress, where Republican leaders have shown no willingness to even hold votes on efforts to curb access to guns.

Clinton's attempt to circumvent staunch opposition would likely spark legal challenges from gun advocates, as well as from Republicans sure to question whether a president has the authority to act directly.

Clinton also said she would support a law to expand the definition of domestic abusers barred from buying guns. She also wants to prohibit retailers from selling guns to people with incomplete background checks, as happened in the June case of a man accused of killing nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Clinton proposed repealing legislation that shields gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers of firearms from most liability suits, including in cases of mass shootings.

Again, none of these policies are going to curb mass shootings or gun violence. The law already prohibits those convicted of domestic abuse from owning firearms–and rightfully so. Don’t take the bait; it’s just another chance for them to inject a war on women talking point. Since liberals still don’t get that all FFL (federal firearm license) dealers have to conduct a background check on all sales, let’s revisit yet another absurd claim about the gun show loophole. First, gun shows aren’t the problem. As mentioned prior, gun dealers with FFLs must conduct background checks on all sales; this includes gun shows, my progressive friends. There is no…safe space in which the laws connected to a federal firearms license is checked at the door of a gun exhibit. This is something that the Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowksi took umbrage with concerning Maggie Haberman’s piece on Hillary’s gun control initiatives, where she wrote, “Mrs. Clinton’s proposals are the background checks on prospective gun buyers, which are required for retailers at stores. But under federal law, they are not required at gun shows or over the Internet with private sellers.” Gutowski noted, there isn’t some special carve out regarding these sales:

…Gun shows and online sales enjoy no special carve-out or loophole. Under federal law, all sales through commercial gun dealers, known as Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), must be processed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Background Check System regardless of whether the sale was made at a gun shop, gun show, or over the Internet. Similarly, sales of used guns between private parties living in the same state are not required, under federal law, to go through the background check system regardless of where the sale occurs.

A small number of states do require sales between private parties to submit to background checks.

Oregon is one of those states.

As a side note to our friends who lean to the left in the media, here’s a nice video from Bud’s Gun Shop, which details how you can buy firearms online. Notice step two: finding a FFL dealer in order to conduct a background check in accordance with all state and federal laws.

Also, the incomplete background check, or three-day delay provision, that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase a .45 handgun was the fault of the FBI. They admitted to the clerical error, where they forgot to update Roof’s admission to a drug charge; the three-day provision is included in the pro-gun control Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act; and it’s not a loophole! If liberals actually bothered to read the process of a delayed response on the FBI’s website, you’ll see that a) the dealer isn’t obligated to hand over the firearm to the buyer if the background check is still incomplete after three days b) if it is determined that the buyer had prior convictions–and that he was transferred the firearm–then the matter is referred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for gun retrieval. In other words, they will confiscate the firearm from the prohibited buyer [emphasis mine]:

In most cases, the results of a background check yield definitive information regarding a individual’s eligibility when the firearm background is initiated. However, not all inquiries can be provided a final status during the initial contact with the NICS Section. Many transactions are delayed because of incomplete criminal history records, e.g., a missing disposition or a missing crime classification status (felony or misdemeanor), which is needed to determine if a transaction can proceed or must be denied.

When a validly matched record is potentially prohibiting but is incomplete, the NICS Section must search for the information needed to complete the record. This process often requires outreach to local, state, tribal, and/or federal agencies (e.g., arresting agencies, court systems). The Brady Act allows the FFL to legally transfer the firearm if the NICS transaction is not resolved within 3 business days. In some instances, the potentially prohibiting records are completed, and the NICS Section staff deny the transaction. The NICS Section notifies the FFL of the denial and determines if the firearm was transferred to the buyer. If it was transferred, the NICS Section transmits this information to the ATF for further handling as a firearm retrieval referral.

Once again, we’re left with no serious policy solutions that will curb gun violence because the ones being doled out are already law. Second, the real gun control goodie bag, which is being held by Gov. Martin O’Malley, includes provisions that also don’t curb gun violence, like the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, or provisions that wouldn’t see the light of day in Congress, like the gun registry and the repeal of the Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act.

This movie is starting to become a horror franchise in the likes of Friday The 13th, which after part VIII devolves into a sad and absurd disaster. The only silver lining is that we know what’s going to happen. Democrats will propose measures that won’t curb violence, they may get some media buzz–maybe a few more people added to their email lists, and then they will go nowhere because the support isn’t there.

Roseburg, Oregon doesn’t want Obama in their town pushing the gun control agenda. The brother of one of the shooting victims said the real problem is mental health (he’s right), and the mother of Cheyenne Fitzgerald, who was shot in the back by Chris Harper-Mercer at Umpqua, said her daughter should have been armed, and that we should all exercise our Second Amendment right for self-defense.

For now, we have to bear and grin the drivel dished out by the anti-gun left, and their allies in the media. We have to once again hear liberals telling us the irrelevant views the rest of the world hold about our gun laws. And we need to read how liberals don’t understand basic gun laws and definitions. That was on grand display wit Obama’s remarks about the shooting this week, where he said there are responsible law-abiding gun owners, that we need new common sense gun control laws, and how we should model those laws based on the UK or Australian model, which were confiscatory acts. That’s not common sense.

Additionally, you have this from the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne [emphasis mine]:

After a psychologically disturbed man killed 35 people in Tasmania, [former Australian Prime Minister John] Howard championed state bans on the ownership, possession and sale of all automatic and semiautomatic weapons by Australia’s states, along with a federal ban on their importation. He also sponsored a gun buyback scheme that got almost 700,000 guns — the statistical equivalent of 40 million in the United States — off the streets and destroyed. “Few Australians would deny that their country is safer today as a consequence of gun control,” Howard wrote in the New York Times shortly after the Newtown killings.

Politicizing this struggle means being unrelentingly candid in calling out an American conservative movement that proudly champions law and order but allows itself to be dominated by gun extremists who deride every gun measure that might make our country a little bit safer — no matter how many mass killings we have.

Conservatives all over the world are aghast at our nation’s permissive attitude toward guns. Is a dangerous and harebrained absolutism about weaponry really the issue on which American conservatives want to practice exceptionalism?

Well, the polling says yes we are–and that’s okay because we’re winning the public opinion, legislative, and legal war in this matter. Second, how is eliminating personal, constitutionally protected ownership of firearms common sense? Third, does Dionne know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons? Banning the semi-automatic weapons means banning guns; it’s not common sense, legal, nor is it feasible. Fourth, the Boston gun buyback programs had nabbed one firearm this year. Fifth, even if this fairy tale of Americans just handing over 40 million guns to the government were to occur (in some LSD-laced, alternate reality), then we would still have close 300 million guns in circulation, most being in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Even Bernie is with me on that latter point. Sixth, why so much about gun extremism, the NRA, and gun bans? When will there be a substantive white paper on how to reform the mental health system in America, and a process to make sure those who are mentally unstable can’t obtain firearms?

Have we really devolved into gun bans and gun confiscation rhetoric in less than a week? It seems so.

Final Note: Oh, and of course Everytown had executive action recommendations on gun control for Obama, which–again–are already law.

Democrat to Rich Lowry: Look, Your Obama Criticism is 'Almost Treasonous'

"Dissent is patriotic." Until it isn't. On Fox News this morning, Top Hillary Clinton supporter and former DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse flew right past 'unpatriotic' -- a former bugaboo of the Left -- and leapt straight to the T-word. Why? National Review editor Rich Lowry had the temerity to notice and name President Obama's self-evidently weak foreign policy vis-a-vis Russian aggression in Syria.  Rather than debate Lowry on substance, Woodhouse accused his counterpart of "cheering on" Vladimir Putin while disparaging Obama -- which is tantamount to near-traitorous conduct, or something:

Social media immediately exploded in justified mockery, prompting Woodhouse to offer Lowry a reprieve from his Thought Crimes Against the State:

How generous. By the way, the news hook for this exchange is the increasing evidence that Russia's pro-Assad interventionism in Syria involves clear actions against US interests; it's not a fight against ISIS, as claimed. In the face of Obama's ambivalence and weakness, Putin is escalating his defiant meddling, basking in the glow of American humiliation.  Ah well.  Details.  In any case, as Blake Seitz reminds the Free Beacon's readership, this is hardly the first time the Left has excoriated conservatives fora alleged anti-American disloyalty in recent months.  Many incensed liberals charged that 47 Republican Senators who sent a letter to Iran's leaders spelling out America's separation of powers (in advance of the disastrous nuclear deal) were guilty of treachery, with some demanding the 'violators' be prosecuted for asserting their constitutional role.  Months later, President Obama declared that domestic opponents of his nuclear giveaway to the Iranian regime (namely, large, bipartisan majorities of Congress and most American voters) were making "common cause" with death-to-America zealots. Harry Reid spent an insane amount of time denouncing the Koch brothers from the Senate floor last year, en route to an epic electoral beat-down, describing the libertarian-leaning businessmen and prodigious philanthropists as "un-American." And he's back at it today:

Prosaic demagoguery. The thesis of Mary Katharine Ham and my book, End of Discussion, is that many on the Left are increasingly resorting to tactics that seek to "win" political and cultural debates by preventing those debates from actually happening. It takes intellectual exertion to argue on the merits and compete in the arena of ideas; impugning motives and casting opponents as de facto evil -- racist, sexist, homophobic, unpatriotic, etc. -- is lazier, easier, and all too often effective.  I'll leave you with this soothing flashback voice memo to Brad Woodhouse from the woman for whom he's now shilling.  Ah, the good old days:

Sorry Hillary, The NRA Is More Popular Than You

Last week during a town hall style campaign stop, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton went on a rant about the NRA a day after a madman murdered 10 people at Umpqua Community College. From TIME

In fiery remarks delivered at Broward College in Davie, Florida, Clinton lambasted the NRA and vowed to take on the gun lobby as president.

“What is wrong with us, that we cannot stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby, and the gun manufacturers they represent?” a visibly angry Clinton said. “This is not just tragic. We don’t just need to pray for people. We need to act and we need to build a movement. It’s infuriating.”

Clinton refrained just a day earlier on the eve of the Oregon shooting from harshly critiquing the NRA, and called on Thursday for stricter gun control measures.

But she used her remarks on Friday to go on the attack, calling out Republicans for blocking background checks and other measures in Congress. “Republicans keep refusing to do anything to protect our communities. They put the NRA ahead of American families,” Clinton said.

But what Clinton fails to understand is that the NRA has a higher approval rating among American voters than she does. 

According to an August 2015 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the NRA has an approval rating of 43 percent and a disapproval of 32 percent. 

Clinton holds a favorability rating of 41 percent, with 51 viewing her as unfavorable. According to Gallup, this is her worst number since her position as First Lady in the 90s: 

Dogged by continued scrutiny of her email practices as secretary of state, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's favorability with the American public has sunk to one of its lowest levels in Gallup's 23-year trend. Currently, 41% of U.S. adults say they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic front-runner, while 51% hold an unfavorable view.

You can bet the NRA is ready to take on Clinton as 2016 inches closer.

Graham to US Commander: We Would Be ‘Nuts’ Not to Have Counterterror Effort in Afghanistan

Wednesday marks 14 years since the start of the war in Afghanistan. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, U.S. Commander John Campbell offered some updates on the fight to maintain a stable government in the region and ensure terror forces do not gain control. The committee was right to be concerned, considering just last week the northern city of Kunduz fell to the Taliban.

When it was Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) turn to interrogate Campbell, he asked the commander what the military’s goals were in the region: “What would winning look like?”

“Having a stable Afghan and a professionalized army and police,” Campbell said. “People could go to school, work.”

The opposite, he said, would be an unstable government that would provide opportunity for insurgents to thrive.

“Do the Afghan people want us to stay?” Graham followed up.

Campbell said we “overwhelmingly have that support.”

Graham then asked if the commander agreed with his notion that if we slash our presence to 1,000 forces in Afghanistan by 2017, as President Obama has pledged to do, there’s a “90 percent chance the country falls apart.”

Campbell responded by saying he “doesn’t know” if he’d put a percentage on it.

Yet, Graham insisted having so few forces would not be enough to create an effective counter terrorism process. 

“A better trained counterterrorism force is better for stability, but there’s no substitute for American forces to protect the homeland,” Graham said. “They would have a focus the Afghans would not have. We would be nuts to not have a counter terror effort in Afghanistan.”

Campbell, while not stating the exact number of forces needed, agreed it’s imperative to have a counter terrorism force in effect because we need to continue to build Afghan capacity and counter terror capability to keep pressure on ungoverned stations.

Campbell also addressed the tragedy in Kunduz last week in which a Doctors Without Borders medical facility was hit in a U.S. airstrike, leaving 22 innocent people dead. Campbell acknowledged it was a "mistake."