Baltimore City Councilman Admits: Decades of Bad Policies Caused These Riots

Last night during an interview with Fox News and while buildings in Baltimore were being burned to the ground and looted by rioters, City Councilman Nick Mosby admitted that decades of bad policies are to blame for the violence. 

"What it is, is young boys, the young folks in the community showing decades old anger, frustration, for a system that has failed them. This is bigger than Freddie Gray, this is about the social economics of poor, urban America and these young guys are frustrated and upset. Unfortunately they're displaying it in a very destruction manner. When folks are undereducated, unfortunately they don't have the same intellectual voice to express it the way other people are doing and that's why we see the violence today," Mosby said. "There's a symptom of something going on here and what I'm trying to articulate to you is when we look at communities like this in urban America, lack of education, lack of commercial development, lack of opportunities, it's the socioeconomics."

"This is a culminations of a lot of things, decades old of failed policies, decades of lack of development," he said.

Much like Detroit, Baltimore has been under liberal Democrat rule since the 1960s.

'It's Our Roe v. Wade': Demonstrators Gather at SCOTUS for Gay Marriage Arguments

As justices inside the Supreme Court prepared to hear oral arguments to determine whether or not same-sex marriage bans in certain states are constitutional on Tuesday morning, crowds of demonstrators gathered to support both sides of the argument.

People that began gathering last Thursday held hundreds of signs and flags, chanted slogans, and preached over loudspeakers. The court heard arguments in the cases of plaintiff same-sex couples from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky.

“It’s our Roe v. Wade,” street preacher Tracy Grisham told Townhall. Grisham traveled with her husband to from Amarillo, Texas to demonstrate outside of the Supreme Court Tuesday.

“If it comes down that gay marriage is passed, then it will bring the judgement of God on this country,” Grisham said. “This country’s turned its back on Israel, we’ve aborted hundreds and thousands of babies a day and then promoting homosexual marriage -- it’s just like Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Justices in the hearing asked tough, probing questions regarding the definition of marriage: Justice Anthony Kennedy commented that marriage has been considered between a man and a woman “for millennia,” and to change that would redefine the institution. Kennedy also said that it was important to consider the dignity of same-sex couples.

“I am extremely encouraged by the questioning, especially from Justice Kennedy, because it focused on what marriage is,” John Eastman, Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement. “It shows that the justices realize that marriage has existed for millennia and they have no constitutional basis to redefine it.���

Outside, as hundreds of blue flags from the Human Rights Campaign waved, signs proclaimed doom on the gay community, saying that LGBTQ people “are not only worthy of death, but love death and don’t know Jesus.”

“We’re here today because the Bible defines marriage as a man leaving his parents, cleaving to his wife, and them becoming twain, one flesh,” said Noah Phelps-Roper, the grandson of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, told Townhall. “They’re going to let this happen, and this is going to be a filthy nation -- it already is a filthy nation.”

Other Westboro Baptist Church members held signs with slogans like “Judge Between Good and Evil,” “Hell Is Eternal,” and “Fags Are Beasts.”

“They all come from the Bible,” Noah Phelps-Roper said. “That’s how we get all of our signs.”

Westboro wasn’t the only group there warning of fire and brimstone: Grisham and a crowd of other street preachers from across the country spoke extensively over a loudspeaker.

“They try to change their gender -- which you cannot do,” street pastor David Grisham yelled over a loudspeaker. “I don’t care what kind of Frankenstein operation you have if you sew something on or chop something off it doesn't matter it does not change your gender. You are genetically male or genetically female. You’ll always be that way.”

Tracy Grisham added: “They may get a marriage certificate by man, but it’s not going to be sanctified by God. Life is like a vapor -- if they do not repent of their sins and turn back to God, they too will perish.”

Hundreds of activists from the Human Rights Campaign and other members of the LGBTQ community also rallied outside the building with signs reading “All Love Is Equal,” “Keep Calm and Marry On,” and “#lovecantwait.”

J.M. Sorrell, a lesbian justice of the peace from Massachusetts drove down from the the Bay State with her pug on Tuesday morning to rally in support of what she sees as a landmark decision.

“I’ve married a lot of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples over the last 11 years,” Sorrell told Townhall. “This is significant because it will end the ambiguity between state and federal law once and for all -- I hope.”

If decided in favor of the petitioner couples from each state, recognizing gay and lesbian couples to be married would become federal law and bans in states still holding the traditional definition of marriage would be revoked.

“Mary Bonauto,” Sorrell said of one of the petitioning attorneys, “she’s my hero. She’s the one who argued the case for marriage equality in Massachusetts and for civil unions in Vermont, way back when. She’s arguing today here at the Supreme Court. I feel a special kinship to what’s going on here today.”

The court will deliberate and hand down a decision on the case this summer.

Baltimore Orioles to Play in Empty Stadium Due to Riots

Due to the continuing riots and protests in Baltimore, Major League Baseball has decided that the Baltimore Orioles will play the Chicago White Sox tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. to an empty stadium. The game will not be open to the public. Monday and Tuesday's games against the White Sox were canceled.

The Orioles will also play the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa, instead of Baltimore as scheduled. Baltimore will be considered the home team in these contests.

Camden Yards was the site of some of the earliest protests. On Saturday, prior to the Orioles game against the Boston Red Sox, protesters forced an evacuation of the area outside of the stadium once the crowd began throwing bottles and cans.

After the game ended, baseball fans were prevented from leaving the stadium due to the unsafe conditions outside.

While playing to an empty stadium may seem unusual, it's not unprecedented. Soccer teams in Japan, Italy, and Russia have been forced to play in empty stadia as punishment for the racist behavior of fans. This case, however, differs from those as the ballpark is being closed to the public not as punishment, but as a safety precaution.

UPDATE: Yep, this is a first for the MLB.

New Study Finds Physicians Continuing to Shift to Democratic Party

While Obamacare has already proven to be disastrous for patients, it’s also had adverse effects on physicians as well. It may seem surprising, then, that more doctors donated money to Democrats in the last election cycle than Republicans, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.

The Hill reports:

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that around 55 percent of doctors who made a contribution donated to Democrats, and 45 percent donated to Republicans in the 2013-2014 cycle.

The Democratic preference continues a trend that the study notes has been going on since the 1990s.

In 1995-1996, for example, a large majority, 72 percent, of doctors donated to Republicans. But that percentage declined over time until finally dropping below 50 percent in 2007-2008, the year of a Democratic wave and President Obama’s election.

The 2010 midterms saw a bump back to majority Republican donations, but now, even in a strong 2014 Republican midterm year, the donations remain majority Democratic.

One subset of physicians who are still more likely to support Republicans, however, are those in specialties, the study finds.

But looking at the bigger picture, what’s happened to cause the shift to the Democratic camp? Under Obamacare, at least, the answer may have to do with the fact that with more regulation and lower reimbursement rates, many independent physicians have left the headaches of private practice behind by retiring early or selling their practice to a large hospital system. In a previous study, the authors note that the declining number of doctors in solo or small practices contributed to the political shift, as well as an increasing percentage of female physicians. Also interesting is that this may be a long-term trend. The authors point out that because physicians rarely switch parties, the changes reflect “the exit of previous donors and the entry of new donors.”

Baptism By Fire: Loretta Lynch Faces First Big Test With Baltimore Riots

Newly minted Attorney General Loretta Lynch has a big problem on her hands as parts of Baltimore were burned to the ground last night in race riots. Lynch was sworn in last Friday. She's been on the job for four days.

The riots started yesterday after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray and Lynch quickly announced DOJ was monitoring the situation. When things got worse as the sun went down, Lynch sent DOJ officials to Baltimore and they are investigating today. Gray died of severe injuries, including a severed spinal cord, while in police custody after being arrested for possession of a switch blade. 

“I condemn the senseless acts of violence by some individuals in Baltimore that have resulted in harm to law enforcement officers, destruction of property and a shattering of the peace in the city of Baltimore. Those who commit violent actions, ostensibly in protest of the death of Freddie Gray, do a disservice to his family, to his loved ones, and to legitimate peaceful protestors who are working to improve their community for all its residents," Lynch released in a statement. “The Department of Justice stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful. The Civil Rights Division and the FBI have an ongoing, independent criminal civil rights investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Gray. We will continue our careful and deliberate examination of the facts in the coming days and weeks. The department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has also been fully engaged in a collaborative review of the Baltimore City Police Department. The department’s Community Relations Service has already been on the ground, and they are sending additional resources as they continue to work with all parties to reduce tensions and promote the safety of the community. And in the coming days, Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and Ronald Davis, Director of Community Oriented Policing Services, will be traveling to Baltimore to meet with faith and community leaders, as well as city officials."

“As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents. And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence,” the statement continued. 

Based on the way former Attorney General Eric Holder handled similar violence in Ferguson last year, law enforcement groups are watching Lynch closely in hopes facts will be pursued by DOJ before political agendas to ensure justice can be served. 

In November former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko sent a letter to President Obama calling Holder "chief among antagonists" in Ferguson and expressed that the rift between the Department of Justice and law enforcement must be addressed by the new attorney general. Last week when Lynch was confirmed, he expressed the same. 

“Defense Fund has more often than not been critical of the work of outgoing Attorney General Holder. We believe he made ill-timed and needless comments that only served to raise suspicion toward all of law enforcement and divide them from those they serve. His interjection of personal politics and sentiments after the fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer added to those of other uninformed voices and damaged trust in law enforcement in every corner of America. We have many reasons to be optimistic about Loretta Lynch’s professionalism and ability to succeed in this challenging position. Her record indicates that her tenure will be a refreshing departure from the hostile and combative administration of Mr. Holder," Hosko said in a statement. “But, Ms. Lynch has a lot of work ahead. She must undo the damage caused by her predecessor as it concerns the relationship between police and the Obama Administration. She must restore trust between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Congress. And she must assure the public that DOJ is a fair, unbiased component that works only for the American people, not in advancement of a particular agenda. We wish Ms. Lynch great success.”

The Baltimore Police Department has an obligation to explain what happened to Gray, especially since cameras weren't in the van where he was injured. DOJ and Lynch have a responsibility to put the facts first in pursuit of a thorough, fair and just investigation.

We'll see how she does.

Report: At Least 181 Clinton Foundation Donors Also Lobbied Hillary's State Department

According to Vox's Jonathan Allen, formerly of Bloomberg, at least 181 Clinton Foundation donors lobbied the US State Department while Hillary Clinton was in charge, highlighting new questions over whether the Clintons profited from effectively renting out American foreign policy:

The size and scope of the symbiotic relationship between the Clintons and their donors is striking. At least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that have given to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department when Hillary Clinton ran the place, according to a Vox analysis of foundation records and federal lobbying disclosures...This list of donors to the Clinton foundation who lobbied State matters because it gives a sense of just how common it was for influence-seekers to give to the Clinton Foundation, and exactly which ones did.

Bear in mind that this analysis only includes the disclosed donors.  The recently-revealed Russia/uranium deal involved undisclosed donations (part of a pattern, it turns out), in violation of a transparency agreement Hillary signed upon joining the State Department.  Team Clinton's excuse for failing to disclose the information has unraveled under cursory scrutiny. Clinton's defenders insist that nobody has offered concrete proof that this multi-million-dollar "slush fund" favor bank ever resulted in direct action by the State Department; at some point, though, enough smoke convinces people there's a fire.  And the smoke is billowing:

Former President Bill Clinton accepted more than $2.5 million in speaking fees from 13 major corporations and trade associations that lobbied the U.S. State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, an International Business Times investigation has found. The fees were paid directly to the former president, and not directed to his philanthropic foundation. Many of the companies that paid Bill Clinton for these speeches -- a roster of global giants that includes Microsoft, Oracle and Dell -- engaged him within the same three-month period in which they were also lobbying the State Department in pursuit of their policy aims, federal disclosure documents show. Several companies received millions of dollars in State Department contracts while Hillary Clinton led the institution. The disclosure that President Clinton received personal payments for speeches from the same corporate interests that were actively seeking to secure favorable policies from a federal department overseen by his wife underscores the vexing issue now confronting her presidential aspirations...When she became secretary of state in 2009, Hillary Clinton agreed to subject Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements to a conflict-of-interest review by an ethics counsel in Clinton’s State Department. Documents from Judicial Watch show the counsel’s office approving the bulk of the speaking engagements -- even those that came during or after periods when the firms paying Bill Clinton were filing disclosure forms notifying government regulators that they were lobbying the State Department. The revelation that the Clinton family accepted money from 13 firms actively working to influence the Clinton-run State Department follows IBTimes’ report on Monday showing that Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton $200,000 just before the banking giant began lobbying the State Department.

They made big payments to Bill within the same three-month window in which they were pressuring his wife's governmental entity "in pursuit of their policy aims." The Goldman Sachs story mentioned at the end of the excerpt is here. Which brings us to another whiff of impropriety, from thousands of miles away:

A politician from India donated some $5 million to the Clinton Foundation — which would have amounted to nearly his entire net worth, a new book about the Clintons claims. The Clinton Foundation in 2008 reported that it had received a contribution of between $1 million and $5 million from Amar Singh, a member of India’s Parliament and a pal of Bill Clinton. The size of the donation relative to Singh’s net worth raised questions about whether Singh was the true source of the cash, according to “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer . The 2008 contribution was made as Congress debated approval of a nuclear agreement between the United States and India, which then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton eventually supported.

While the mainstream media has by and large done a decent job of digging into this web of cash, many journalists and commentators have taken to fixating on the lack of "smoking gun" evidence of transactions that would amount to bribes (evidence potentially may have existed in Hillary's since-destroyed public/private emails).  MSNBC's Joe Scarborough finally had enough of it this morning, defending Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer and angrily noting a glaring double-standard at play -- via America Rising:

Part of the reason so many people feel compelled to defend the indefensible is that Hillary is essentially the only game in town for Democrats, a choice that the party has made for itself.  And America's "gliding queen" isn't in any rush to address any of these serious allegations -- or anything else for that matter:  Since announcing her presidential campaign 17 days ago, she has answered a total of seven questions from the media.  And most of her "answers" were either facile deflections or substance-free cliches.  Why subject yourself to real questions when you can stage phony "listening sessions" with hand-selected supporters stripped of their cellphones, and pander on Twitter:

Friendly reminder: Hillary Clinton was an opponent of same-sex marriage as a matter of "bedrock principle," before she was for states rights, before she was for a SCOTUS ruling establishing a Constitutional right to gay marriage.  That last evolution literally happened a few days ago, bit it doesn't matter.  Her rainbow Twitter avi is a symbolic expression of tribalism and an emblem of  "right thinking" that the media recover in lieu of relentlessly pounding away at her ethical breaches and ongoing refusal to answer questions...which is absolutely, positively how'd they be treating a similarly-situated Republican.  As I said at HotAir last evening, nod and glide, Your Majesty:

Marji Ross: Is Hillary Clinton Really the Best We Can Do?

For the first time in U.S. history, more than one woman will run for president in 2016. Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy earlier this month, and former CEO of Hewlett Packard Carly Fiorina will announce in early May.

According to Marji Ross, president of Regnery Publishing, the question Americans should be asking is not “will this be the year that a woman becomes president?,” but “when we have a woman president what sort of woman should she be?”

“When we talk about the first female president of the United States -- is Hillary Clinton really the best we can do?” Ross said last Friday. “Is that our statement to the world and to future generations and to history about who we want as the first female president of the United States?”

Clinton is hugely supported by women of her party -- 85 percent of Democratic women say they’re likely to vote for Hillary in 2016. Between 58 and 61 percent of women in both parties support Clinton.

But Ross is optimistic that as the discussion plays out, American women will realize that the empress really doesn’t have any clothes.

“I think it would be wonderful to have a woman president -- I think many women would do an excellent job as chief executive,” Ross said. “I believe that most women are too intelligent and have too much common sense to vote for a candidate simply based on her gender.”

The reason? Because the liberal ideas and rhetoric that Clinton supports really isn’t appealing to strong, mature, informed women.

“Liberals argue from a position of weakness,” Ross explained. “Here’s their worldview: people aren’t able to support themselves -- the government must do it for them; people aren’t able to make the right decisions -- the courts must do it for them; parents aren’t able to tell right from wrong -- school administrators will do that for them; communities aren’t able to keep their children safe -- the lawyers will do that for them. It’s all about weakness.”

While many women on the left subscribe to the leftist “war on women” rhetoric, Ross explained that the real war on women is being waged on women of the right. By college administrations, the media, and the current administration, who shut down and antagonize anyone who does not subscribe to their point of view.

“I don’t think Hillary Clinton is pro-woman. I think Hillary Clinton is pro-Hillary,” Ross said. “Meanwhile, the knives are out for any woman who dares not support Hillary Clinton for president.”

Ross spoke at a conference of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

BREAKING: ISIS Plot Targeting US Embassy Thwarted By Saudis

Is ISIS’ reach spreading beyond Iraq and Syria?

The reason I ask is because the Saudis dropped a bombshell this morning, informing the press they uncovered (and foiled) a series of coordinated terrorist plots several months ago to kill innocents in the city of Riyadh. It wasn’t just innocent Saudis, however, who were at risk. The Associated Press reports that ISIS-inspired terrorists also plotted to blow up the U.S. embassy there, and as a result nearly one hundred suspected Islamic extremists have been detained and questioned for their suspected involvement.

Saudi authorities say they have arrested a total of 93 people with ties to the Islamic State group in recent months, foiling their plans to carry out terrorist attacks including a strike on the U.S. Embassy in the kingdom's capital.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said Tuesday the arrests include a cell of 65 people arrested in March who were involved in a plan that included targeting residential compounds, prisons and security forces.

The article also notes that the plotters reportedly hoped to car bomb the U.S. embassy. Thankfully, however, the plot was thwarted, and no American diplomats stationed there were injured or killed -- or anyone else, for that matter.

Gay Enforcers to Groveling Hotel Owner Who Met With Cruz: 'Apology Not Accepted!'

Who's up for a depressing update to the already-depressing story we covered yesterday? To recap, two gay hoteliers in New York are under fire from their own community over the unforgivable transgression of having dined and conversed with Ted Cruz, with whom they have strong differences on gay rights issues.  A boycott against their properties has been launched, with organizers expressing an eagerness to shut 'em down completely, if necessary. In a 'victory' for tolerance, progress, and gays generally, the outrage warriors managed to get an AIDS charity to cancel an upcoming fundraiser as part of this protest. The fact that these gentlemen have been vocal and generous supporters of myriad gay rights causes through the years is irrelevant, as is their heavily-Democratic contribution histories.  They, er, coexisted with Cruz for a few hours, and for that, they must be punished.  After defending himself with appeals to the values of free exchange and pluralism at first, one of the men raised the white flag of surrender over the weekend, prostrating himself before the gay enforcement brigade with an obsequious Facebook apology:

I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights. I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry. I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry.

Cruz opposes gay marriage, and believes the issue should be decided to the states -- which was Hillary Clinton's position for awhile (recently, too!), in between staunchly defending traditional marriage as a "fundamental bedrock principle" through the "mists of time," and insisting that the Supreme Court establish such unions as a Constitutional right.  Regardless, this hapless gentleman has now been made to understand that chatting with an influential Senator over dinner about a host of issues was a "terrible mistake" that demands forgiveness for "poor judgment." Courtesy of Dave Weigel (and the truly appalling comments section), offer of tribal recompense, rejected:

On Facebook, Reisner's critics have tossed those words right back at him. "Apology NOT accepted!!" wrote Charles West, a New York theater singer. "You knew EXACTLY what you were doing and with whom you were doing it, Monsieur!" "Anyone who has heard Ted Cruz speak for one minute knows how virulently anti-gay he is!" wrote Ken Benson, a vocal consultant. "It is a source of great pride to him and hatred of gays is in his DNA. Sorry, it is impossible to believe you are THAT naive. I will never understand homophobic gays!!" "It is quite simply impossible to believe that you did not understand Cruz' position on gay rights," wrote Peter Pfeffer, a photographer. "You will have to come up with a better excuse than that. Nobody can be that naive or stupid." "This shows how white cis gendered gay men who have money feel about our movement," wrote Bryan John Ellicott, a supervisor at a center for homeless youth. "Cruz will not help our LGBT homeless youth or our transgender community who are the movement targeted groups in the community. Apology NOT accepted."

Being a cis-gendered and white gay man makes one a less empathetic gay man, evidently, and one whose loyalty to the LGBT "cause" should be viewed with suspicion. Also mentioned in yesterday's post were several examples of leftist orthodoxy coercion that is especially prevalent in academia.  The Onion ridicules mandatory campus groupthink in a piece entitled, "College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea." This is pitch perfect, sadly:

BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus.

I'll leave you with CNN misleadingly reporting that Cruz has responded to the boycott brouhaha by "calling Democrats who support gay marriage 'fascists'" (via Allahpundit):

No, he's calling people who sue mom and pop vendors for declining to participate in gay weddings 'fascists.'  He's calling the mob that actively derails efforts to lend financial assistance to Christians subjected to mind-blowing fines 'fascists.' He's calling the aforementioned apology NOT accepted! crowd 'fascists.' Whether one thinks that term is appropriate or goes too far (part of the dictionary definition of fascism is "forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism"), Cruz is obviously not applying that F-word to Democrats for simply supporting gay marriage.  He's using it to describe those zealots whose "tolerance" compels them to eradicate dissent and ruin lives.  I humbly submit that Cruz and his critics alike should read End of Discussion, which deals with this cycle of silence and intimidation.

Watch: Mom Catches Her Son Rioting in Baltimore, Responds in Awesome Way

So busted. If only there were more moms like her out last night. 

Baltimore Destroyed: Rioters Burn Buildings, Injure Police, Attack Reporters and Loot Local Stores

After a week of protests and the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who recently died in police custody of serious injuries, rioters took to the streets of Baltimore late Monday afternoon and rampaged through the city until the early hours of the morning burning buildings, cars, looting local stores, attacking police and reporters. Fifteen police officers were injured and the hoses being use by firefighters to put out an inferno at a CVS were cut. 

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made several statements last night and announced a curfew...that starts tonight. Governor Larry Hogan called in the National Guard to restore order, but mostly rioters went home without arrests and the police commissioner is admitting cops were overwhelmed and overrun. 

"Yes, we planned for it. That wasn't the issue," Batts told reporters late Monday. "We just had too many people out there [for us] to overcome the numbers we had." The commissioner added that the rioters had pulled his officers to "opposite ends of the city" and had "outnumbered us and outflanked us."

"These acts of violence and destruction of property cannot and will not be tolerated," Hogan said at a late-night press conference. The governor also said he was deploying 500 state troopers and had asked for 5,000 officers from neighboring states to deal with the violence.

What happened in Baltimore is being called a race riot, despite the fact that the majority of the police officers and government officials working in the city are African-American.

Yesterday, Baltimore Police released a memo about violent gangs the Crips, Bloods and Black Guerrilla family joining forces to kill cops.

Local residents and business owners are describing the situation as "heartbreaking" and are cleaning up their community this morning.

Newly minted Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in last Friday, has sent DOJ officials to Baltimore to investigate.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch: "We Can Restore Trust and Faith"

After months of waiting and a close vote, Loretta Lynch was confirmed as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States last week. In her remarks today, however, after the official swearing-in ceremony, she thanked all those who helped bring her confirmation to fruition, and pledged to do her utmost to rebuild trust in America’s judicial system.

“I am honored beyond words to step into this larger role today as your attorney general, as we continue the core work of our mission: The protection of the American people,” she said.

“We can restore trust and faith, both in our laws and in those of us who enforce them,” she continued. “We can protect the most vulnerable among us from the scourge of modern day slavery, so antithetic to the values forged in blood in this country. We can protect the growing cyber world, and we can give those in our care both protection from terrorism and the security of their civil liberties. My friends, we will do this as we’ve accomplished all things both great and small: working together, moving forward, and using justice as our compass.”

Not everyone, however, is optimistic about Ms. Lynch’s coming attorney generalship. In fact, some Senate Republicans are downright worried.

“While Ms. Lynch has earned a reputation as a no-nonsense prosecutor, her consistent refusal to specify any limitations on the power of the President disqualify her from serving as our nation's chief law enforcement officer,” Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement last week before the coming cloture vote to advance her confirmation. “In multiple rounds of testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Ms. Lynch would not identify a single instance in which her actions would differ from Attorney General Eric Holder, and she supported the Administration's boundless legal theory to justify ignoring our nation's immigration laws. In my view, this makes her unfit to be the Attorney General.”

Cruz isn't alone. Other Senate Republicans -- and conservative columnists -- agree. Nonetheless, twenty Senate Republicans voted for cloture -- and ten others voted outright to make her attorney general. Surprise.

People in London "Offended" Over Tube Ad Featuring Woman in Bikini

London is in an uproar over an ad for Protein World's new weight loss collection that features a slim woman wearing a yellow bikini. Protests have been planned for next Saturday, on the grounds that the ad somehow is sexist and promotes an unhealthy body image. Further, people are also claiming that the ad perpetuates the notion that only thin people can wear bikinis.

From The Guardian:

Thousands of people have signed an online petition for the posters, for Protein World weight-loss products, to be removed from London Underground stations. Others have organised a “taking back the beach” protest, set for London’s Hyde Park on Saturday.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it had received 216 complaints with the general nature being that the ad is “offensive, irresponsible and harmful because it promotes an unhealthy body image”. The ASA said it was carefully assessing the complaints to establish if there are ground for further action.

More than 44,000 people had signed the petition at by lunchtime on Monday. Others angered by the ad have shared pictures, using the hashtag #everybodysready, of defaced posters.

The petition claims that Protein World is deliberately targeting people to "make them feel inferior" to the model in the ad who has an "unrealistic" body.

Despite all of this "controversy" over the ad, Protein World has been raking it in:

I guess it's nice knowing that other countries are susceptible to the recent outbreak of "I'm-offended-so-you-need-to-stop" syndrome. There is nothing wrong with that ad. The model does not appear to be underweight (or even overly-photoshopped), and I'm failing to understand how her body is "unrealistic." In the U.K., nearly two thirds of adults are classified as either being overweight or obese. One would think/hope that this would be a much more pressing concern than a supplement company trying to sell a product, but nope. The feminists are angry. We all must protest because someone attractive is being used, presumably with her consent, to sell a product.

There's nothing wrong with a person trying to look their best while wearing an article of clothing that's generally very unforgiving. There's also nothing wrong with the opposite approach to swimwear. However, shaming either of these groups is not acceptable.

As Freddie Gray Is Put To Rest, Youth Clash With Police In Baltimore

UDATE: Signing off for the night. We'll pick this story up again in the morning. I'll leave you with this:

UPDATE: Well said.

UPDATE: Now that church centers are being burned to the ground, this is probably for the best:

UPDATE: The blame-game begins.

UPDATE: This just in. Former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is flying home from Europe after hearing the news.

UPDATE: This isn't helping things.

During press conference, Baltimore Mayor didn't express any support for police, blamed media, & invited Al Sharpton to come. Sigh.

— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) April 28, 2015

UPDATE: Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency at the request of Baltimore City (via Office of Governor Larry Hogan):

Governor Larry Hogan today, at the request of Baltimore City, has signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency and activating the National Guard to address the growing violence and unrest in Baltimore City.

UPDATE: Gov. Larry Hogan releases statement on the Baltimore unrest, says National Guard is on alert.

UPDATE: No formal requests to deploy the National Guard, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.

UPDATE: Capt. Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore Police Department addressed held a press conference at 4:30pm and said "a group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers."  He called the perpetrators "a group of lawless individuals with no regard for the safety of the people that live in that community."


**Original Post**

Freddie Gray died in police custody after suffering a spinal injury in Baltimore earlier this month.  He was arrested after a "foot pursuit," according to CNN. He was not securely fastened by a seatbelt while being transported in a police van, nor did he receive immediate medical attention. His death sparked outrage, and added to the ongoing dialogue regarding community relations with the police.  Over the weekend, some rioting broke out Saturday, with Camden Yards being locked down due to safety concerns. As Gray was laid to rest today, “a large group of juveniles” clashed with police around 3pm this afternoon. Several officers have been injured, some with broken bones, as objects have been hurled at police by rioters (via Baltimore Sun):

Smoke filled the air as police responded with shields and a tactical vehicle. Demonstrators pelted officers with rocks, bricks and bottles, and assaulted a photojournalist. Several officers were injured in the melee, police said via Twitter.

"The group continues to be violent and aggressive. They are disobeying dispersal orders. We are working to evacuate our injured officers," police said on Twitter.

Lexington Market, a city courthouse and businesses including T. Rowe Price and Venable LLP said police warned them of large gatherings and protests downtown, days after protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned destructive.

According to a widely circulated flier, a high school "purge" was to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on a film "The Purge," about what would happen if all laws were suspended.

The flier included an image of protesters smashing the windshield of a police car Saturday during a march spurred by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this month after being arrested by city police.

Mondawmin Mall closed at 1 p.m. ahead of the incident. The mall's Metro stop also closed.

A post on the University of Maryland Baltimore's website said it was closing early based on a recommendation from city police. The campus will also stop shuttle service.

Katie reported earlier today that there was a "credible threat" that police would be targeted by various gangs.


UPDATE: There are reports of looting.

UPDATE: Police car has been set aflame.

UPDATE: Gray family called for peace today as they laid him to rest

UPDATE: Several police officers have been injured.

UPDATE: Police from Prince George's and Montgomery counties are heading into the city to reinforce Baltimore Police.

UPDATE: Police say juveniles are in this crowd and they're asking parents to help them bring their kids home.

Watchdog: Let's Face It, the Clinton Foundation is Basically a 'Slush Fund'

Last week we learned about the Clinton Foundation's tax problems -- including a serial failure to disclose tens of millions in donations from foreign entities -- and explosive allegations of a lucrative quid pro quo involving the Russian government's successful effort to gain control of a sizable percentage of US uranium capacity.  (Mistakes were made, they magnanimously concede).  Now the author of 'Clinton Cash,' upon whose work the New York Times, Washington Post and Fox News have built, is pointing to eleven  "coincidences" involving Bill Clinton's speaking schedule and issues before Hillary's State Department:

Bill Clinton gave 11 speeches during his wife’s tenure as secretary of state, each connected to companies that had business pending before the State Department, according to the author of a new book on the Clinton Foundation, who notes that the business was concluded in their favor following donations to the former president’s nonprofit...Schwiezer stopped short of alleging a strict quid pro quo, but he pointed to an extensive pattern of foreign companies donating to the Clinton Foundation when they have business interest pending at the State Department. “They make large payments and favorable actions are taken,” Schwiezer said. “I don’t think that coincidences occur that frequently.”

Here's veteran Clinton spinmeister Lanny Davis doing his thing:

Lanny Davis, who worked in the White House under Bill Clinton, defended his old boss by suggesting that companies started paying him more after his wife took office because he had a track record of success as a philanthropist. “It’s more logical that right after he got out of the White House, before the foundation’s activities and before he did so much good around the world, he’s going to be less valuable,” he said. Davis also argued that the “coincidences” Schweizer noted do not suggest bad behavior. “Of course, it’s a coincidence but it’s a false inference,” he said...Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked if the private emails Hillary Clinton deleted might have pertained to the Clinton Foundation’s donations. “Look. Anything is possible,” Davis replied dismissively.

"Anything is possible," indeed.  Hillary made a proactive decision to violate layers of rules, and possibly the law, by setting up a rogue email server on which conducted all of her official business.  She made a conscious decision to withhold her emails from public scrutiny, ignoring a Congressional inquiry in 2012.  When the stonewall began to break down, she actively chose to have her attorneys cull her emails, acting with no oversight and changing their tune about their methodology (another Clinton excuse went down the tubes a few weeks ago).  She decided to have them delete tens of thousands of correspondences, and approved the server's effective destruction.  In the process, she endangered national security.  Mrs. Clinton isn't a stupid woman. She knew that these machinations becoming public would be damaging -- but concluded that the trade-off was worth the bad press, on balance.  Why?  What was lurking in her emails that made all of the dodgy malfeasance worthwhile?  We will likely never know, which was precisely the point.  This, perhaps above all other reasons, is why the Clintons have not earned the benefit of the doubt here; they're not getting it from Ron Fournier:

Hillary Clinton seized all emails pertaining to her job as Secretary of State and deleted an unknown number of messages from her private server. Her family charity accepted foreign and corporate donations from people doing business with the State Department – people who hoped to curry favor. She violated government rules designed to protect against corruption and perceptions of corruption that erode the public's trust in government. She has not apologized. She has not made amends: She withholds the email server and continues to accept foreign donations. That's what this is about...Clinton's crisis management team makes a big deal of the fact that "Clinton Cash" author Peter Schweizer hasn't proven a "quid pro quo." Really? It takes a pretty desperate and cynical campaign to set the bar of acceptable behavior at anything short of bribery. The Clinton team also points to errors made by news organizations investigating the email and foundation scandals, particularly the work around Schweizer's book. That is their right, but they're nibbling around the edges: The core ingredients of the Clintons' wrongdoing has not been misreported.

As for the work of the 'charitable' Clinton Foundation itself, how has the organization been spending the mountains of money flowing into its coffers from all corners of the world?  Opaquely, that's how:

If you take a narrower, and more realistic, view of the tax-exempt group’s expenditures by excluding obvious overhead expenses and focusing on direct grants to charities and governments, the numbers look much worse. In 2013, for example, only 10 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s expenditures were for direct charitable grants. The amount it spent on charitable grants–$8.8 million–was dwarfed by the $17.2 million it cumulatively spent on travel, rent, and office supplies. Between 2011 and 2013, the organization spent only 9.9 percent of the $252 million it collected on direct charitable grants.

The majority of expenditures have been lumped into a broad "other expenses" category, which could mean...well, anything. That may be why an official at the nonpartisan, good-government Sunlight Foundation calls the foundation a "slush fund:"

“It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons,” said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group once run by leading progressive Democrat and Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout. … The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid. …

Parting thought: As the dripdripdrip (which I've mentioned previously) continues, are some Democratic insiders starting to get cold feet?  Perhaps, but they have no viable alternative, so they'll circle the wagons, counterattack, and hope for the best.  I'll leave you with Ruth Marcus casting the Clintons' behavior in the best possible light -- "slopiness and greed:"

White House Still Refusing to Force Release of Americans As Part of Iranian Nuclear Deal

Speaking from the White House Monday, press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the Obama administration's position not to require the release of three American hostages being held by the Iranian regime as part of ongoing nuclear negotiations. 

"Why not use this moment of leverage that you have with the Iranians to push for not just the release of [Washington Post reporter] Jason Rezaian, but of course there are four Americans held prisoner in Iran, why not use this leverage as you did with the Cuba deal to get Alan Gross released too? To get these Americans released," ABC's Jon Karl asked. 

"There are three Americans that are currently held in Iran and one other American whose whereabouts are still unknown and could be Iran. The United States does on a regular basis raise the case of these individuals with our Iranian counterparts and I know that Secretary Kerry is meeting with his Iranian counterpart in New York today principally to talk about the current, ongoing nuclear negotiations. As in the past, he has taken the opportunity at those kinds of visits to reiterate our significant concerns about the treatment and well being of those American citizens and to ask for their immediate release," Earnest said. "What we have said is we are focused on the nuclear issue in the context of these ongoing negotiations. The concern is simply this, that preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is a top priority because the long list of concerns we have with Iranian behavior would be made only worse if Iran had a nuclear weapon so when it comes to these specific U.S. citizens, it would be only harder to negotiate their release if we were talking to a nuclear armed Iran."

"We continue to inform our Iranian counterparts of the need to release these American citizens being unjustly held in their country," he said. 

For weeks the White House has insisted the Iranians holding Americans hostage and the country's support of terrorism around the world should be dealt with separately from nuclear negotiations.

Meanwhile, debate over amendments to the Iranian deal has officially started on Capitol Hill. Republicans and Democrats have expressed deep. bipartisan skepticism of the current deal between the White House and Iran over the country's nuclear program.

The deadline for a nuclear deal is June 30, 2015.

Baltimore Gangs Join Forces To Kill Police Officers

In case you missed it over the weekend, race riots broke out in Baltimore. Here's some background on why: 

25-year-old Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 in Baltimore. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody.

The usual suspects are involved in the aftermath, against the family's wishes, and the race ghouls were tweeting selfies with Gray's body at the funeral.

Now, the anti-police sentiment we saw in Ferguson last summer and in December when two NYPD officers were executed in their patrol cars, is raging with Baltimore gangs joining forces to kill police. 

"The Baltimore Police Department/Criminal Intelligence Unit has received credible information that members of various gangs including the Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods, and Crips have entered into a partnership to "take-out" law enforcement officers," a press release states. "This is a credible threat. Law enforcement agencies should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their officers."

It should be noted the man who shot and killed NYPD officers Wenjin Lie and Rafael Ramos, was part of the Black Guerrilla family gang and traveled from Baltimore to New York City in December to carry out the crimes. 

Blue Lives Matter. 

Jeb Bush: By the Way, I Set A Fundraising Record

Establishment favorite and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn’t officially running for president yet. But he has amassed a small fortune in the invisible primary (or so he claims). In fact, he told some of his key backers yesterday behind-closed-doors that he’s made history, subtly signaling to Republican primary voters looking elsewhere to start taking notice:

All-but-declared Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush told about 350 donors Sunday that he had set a record in Republican politics for fundraising in the first 100 days of a White House bid.

Mr. Bush’s announcement, which was met by hearty applause according to donors in the room, came on the first night of a private, two-day gathering for his top donors at an oceanfront luxury hotel. The event will include policy, political and financial briefings by Mr. Bush and his advisers.

Naturally, as the Wall Street Journal goes on to emphasize, we must take Mr. Bush at his word as he has not yet disclosed the size of his war chest. He’ll reportedly do that in the summer. But we can at least ballpark how much money he’s made based on official and previous reported hauls:

The current fundraising record for the first 100 days of a campaign appears to have been set by Democrat Hillary Clinton, who raised $36 million in the first three months of her 2008 presidential bid. Barack Obama raised $25.7 million during that period. Mr. Bush’s brother, George W. Bush, raised $29.7 million in the first three-month fundraising report he filed after launching his 2000 campaign.

Evidently, then, Jeb Bush has raised more money than his brother did when he ran successfully for president in 2000. So he'll likely have enough money to win the nomination, but will he have enough votes? Only time will tell.

‘Israel Heading To Nepal To Learn From The Earthquake How To Kill Better’– Yes, Someone Said This

As the death toll rises in Nepal after a horrific earthquake over the weekend, the world is responding with aid missions. One of those nations is Israel, though some people see pernicious intent with this humanitarian move. Rania Khalek, an independent journalist, tweeted (maybe facetiously) to Max Blumenthal, a left-leaning writer for AlterNet, that Israel’s mission to the Asian nation was to learn how to kill better from the earthquake.

Granted, this could all be troll bait, but is this real life?

Right now, the aid mission is hamstrung by logistical and safety problems. The death toll is a staggering 3,300 lives and rising, with multiple casualties and fatalities for the various mountain climbers on Mount Everest.

All in all, even if this is Israel trolling, is it appropriate during a time like this? Not to mention it’s beyond repugnant to suggest that Israel’s aid mission is a cover to sharpen their killing skills. It’s outrageous.

Both these tweets and The Core are just bad entertainment.

Oh, and here is Israel's mission (via Jerusalem Post):

The mission's goals are to locate missing Israelis, of which there are still some 150 who have not made contact with authorities, to rescue those trapped beneath rubble and to help treat the thousands of wounded Nepalese victims of the earthquake.

Netanyahu wished good luck to the Home Front Command assistance team which numbers some 260 personnel.

Three large search and rescue teams will divide up into smaller crews and scour ruins to search for survivors. A command and control team will oversee the entire effort and link up to local authorities. "At the moment, we are set to take off at 22:00 for Kathmandu," Laredo added.

The planes will carry some 95 tons of equipment, including the various components of a field hospital, which will have a ward for premature babies, a labor ward, x-ray machines, and a hospitalization area, as well as lab and surgery zones.

Rescuers are bringing with them cutting equipment, electronic devices to help find trapped victims, generators, lighting equipment, and more.

"As time passes, the focus will move from search and rescue to hospital treatment. The hospital can treat 200 patients a day," Laredo said. "We can link up with local heavy engineering vehicles," he added.

Three IDF Oketz K9 dogs and their handlers will also board one of the planes to Nepal.

Many members of the delegation have taken part in past Israeli assistance teams to natural disaster zones in Haiti, and the Philippines.

Oh, the horror! The horror!

Of course, you can always count on the Free Beacon to inject some humor–and trolling of their own–on things that are just completely absurd. 

Last Note: A video of the avalanche hitting a base camp on Everest. [Warning: strong language]

The Week in 'Tolerance:' Boycotts, Bans and Bullying

The coercive Left's End of Discussion mob is emboldened and on the march. Four vignettes from around the country: (1) In New York, a pair gay hoteliers are facing angry boycotts because they dared to dine and chat with Ted Cruz. These men are successful businessmen, they're pro-gay marriage, and their political donations through the years have slanted heavily toward Democrats. But fraternizing with the enemy is now a punishable offense:

The two gay hoteliers whose duplex on Central Park was the site of a small dinner this week with Senator Ted Cruz are facing boycott threats to their properties. Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass own the apartment where the gathering for Mr. Cruz, who has been vociferously opposed to same-sex marriage, was the featured attraction on Monday night. The event focused primarily on foreign policy, but the topic of same-sex marriage came up, and during his appearance Mr. Cruz called it an issue best left to the states...Both men, in an apparent effort to play down any outrage in the gay community, put out statements making clear they disagree with the Republican senator from Texas on gay rights. “I was given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Cruz on where he stood on all issues, foreign and domestic,” Mr. Reisner said. “It was just three months ago that I hosted a ‘Ready for Hillary’ event for a record turnout of 900 people at the Out Hotel.” He added: “Senator Ted Cruz and I disagree strongly on the issue of gay marriage, but having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of what this country was founded on. My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide hasn’t changed and will not change.” Mr. Weiderpass said: “People on both sides of the aisle need to be able to communicate with one another even when they ideologically disagree. I worked tirelessly for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as a member of the board of directors for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and needed to reach across the aisle to make that happen. The fact that Senator Cruz accepted the invitation to my home was a step in the right direction toward him having a better understanding of who I am and what I believe in.”

Hey guys, we're gay, we're longtime and generous supporters of gay rights, and we hosted a Hillary event recently -- but we also believe in open dialogue with people who hold differing opinions, because that's what America is all about.  Not good enough.  Breaking bread with Cruz is a sin, and the impure must be purged.  Over to you, courageously anonymous organizer of the boycott campaign:

"Shut the place down." For tolerance.  The boycott has resulted in the cancelation of a charity event to fight AIDS. Think about that.  Because the owners of a venue had dinner with Ted Cruz, an AIDS charity axed an entire event in a fit of pique.  Sorry, AIDS patients -- priorities are priorities.  One of the hoteliers has now backed away from his initial, laudable defense of free inquiry and exchange, caving to pressure with an abject apology for a "terrible mistake." (2) A panel of bureaucrats has recommended a fine of $135,000 (!) against a Christian-owned bakery in Oregon for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.  Here are the supposed damages claimed by the "victims:"

This is not satire, I'm afraid.  When supporters raised more than $100,000 for the family-owned bakery, gay rights activists demanded that GoFundMe shut down the page because it "violated [the organization's] policy against raising money “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”  Heinous crimes.  GoFundMe, no doubt terrified of the Outrage Mafia, complied.  Fundraising efforts have moved elsewhere.  (3) The student government body at Johns Hopkins University struck a blow for progress, or whatever, by banning Chick-fil-A from campus.  Keep in mind that the construction of a Chick-fil-A had not even been proposed, so this was a pre-emptive strike against hypothetical future "microaggressions:"

Johns Hopkins University has banned Chick-fil-A from its campus saying that the restaurant is a “microaggression” against its students. In an 18-8 vote, the Student Government Association at Johns Hopkins voted not to “support the proposal of a Chick-fil-A, in a current or future sense, particularly on any location that is central to student life.” The anti-Chick-fil-A bill listed seven main reasons why the restaurant should be banned from campus. The first is that “the Student Government Association of Johns Hopkins University aims to provide a safe, supportive environment for all university affiliates now and in the future.” The fourth is that “visiting prospective and current students, staff, faculty, and other visitors who are members of the LGBTQ+ community or are allies would be subjected to the microaggression of supporting current or future Chick-fil-A development plans.

Lunacy. Because the ownership of a popular chicken joint disagrees with a prevailing political opinion on campus, the thought police have swooped in to ensure that the restaurant never be permitted to serve its food to students -- because the franchise's very existence could amount to a "microaggression" (a depressing term of art Mary Katharine and I tackle in our forthcoming book on exactly these sorts of matters) for the delicate sensibilities of passers-by.  Because, apparently, college campuses have been remained as "safe spaces" in which nobody must ever be subjected to anything that might offend or disrupt or challenge.  It's embarrassing.  For those keeping track, Johns Hopkins' silencing brigade also "protected" graduates from listening to Ben Carson -- a black, world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon -- because of his conservative worldview in 2013.   (4) Elsewhere in Maryland, another institution is covering itself in glory, taking (later-reversed) totalitarian cues from their counterparts at the University of Michigan:

University of Maryland College Park student group pulled "American Sniper" from its spring movie lineup following complaints from a Muslim student group. The group, Student Entertainment Events, announced on its web site Wednesday that it had canceled the May showings of the film...SEE said it was contemplating "an event where students can engage in constructive and moderated dialogues about the controversial topics proposed in the film." "SEE supports freedom of expression and hopes to create space for the airing of opposing viewpoints and differing perceptions," the group wrote. "While not easy, we want to start having these hard conversations." More than 300 people signed a petition started by the Muslim Student Association that describes the film as "war propaganda guised as art reveals a not-so-discreet Islamaphobic, violent, and racist nationalist ideology." "This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes," the creators of the petition wrote. "This movie serves to do nothing but make a mockery out of such immense pain."

American Sniper celebrates the life of an American war hero. It's seen as an "Islamophobic" orgy of "racist nationalist ideology" by a tiny fraction of Americans, many of whom would rather call names than grapple with the alarming degree to which their religion is used to justify unspeakable barbarity. Rather than watch the film and make their case during the ensuing discussion period, they'd rather censor the film altogether. End of Discussion, and Mission Accomplished. This is the direction in which our country is headed. Free people must fight it.

WATCH: Peter Schweizer Talks About Findings in New Book Clinton Cash

Over the weekend Peter Schweizer, author of the new book Clinton Cash, sat down for a series of interviews about allegations Hillary Clinton traded political favors for donations and expensive speaking fees during her time as Secretary of State.

In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who used to work inside the Bill Clinton White House and who regularly speaks to Rahm Emanuel and James Carville about strategy, Schweizer cited former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez as doing similar things to the Clintons and faced prosecution.

"When you ever have an issue of the flow of funds to political candidates, whether that's to their campaigns, whether that's to private foundations, whether that's to their spouse, is there evidence of a pattern of favorable decisions being made by those individuals and I think the point that we make in the book is that there is a troubling pattern. There are dozens of examples of that occurring. Some people, I think in particular the Clinton camp, might say these are all coincidence. I don't think when you're talking about 12 instances you're talking coincidence, I think you're talking trend," Schweizer said. "If you look at a couple of recent examples, for example Governor McDonnell down in Virginia or you look at Senator Menendez, in these cases you didn't have evidence of a quid pro quo, what you had was funds flowing to elected officials, some of them gifts, some of them campaign contributions, and actions that were being taken by those public officials that seemed to benefit the contributors. Certainly I think it [Clintons] warrants investigation...The evidence here is far more wide spread in terms of repeated action."

Naturally Stephanopoulos, a strong Clinton ally, said ABC News hasn't found any "direct" proof to show Clinton traded political favor for donations. It's too bad Clinton erased 50,000 emails from her personal server.

Schweizer also sat down on Fox News Sunday to talk about the book.

This isn't over.

Extra Crispy? California Solar Farm Killed 3,500 Birds

Ivanpah is a $2.2 billion dollar solar energy projected aimed at powering up to 140,000 homes for twice the electrical cost. It also killed 3,500 birds in the first year of its operation (the Desert Sun):

More than 3,500 birds died during the 377-megawatt Ivanpah solar project’s first year of operation, a new report estimates.

Bird deaths were known at the “power tower” project, which is located in San Bernardino County off Interstate 15 just southwest of the Nevada border. But how many was unclear. Even at the 3,504 estimate, the report considers the deaths a “minimal proportion of local, regional, or national populations” of birds.

Ivanpah, the world’s largest concentrated solar project, uses thousands of mirrors that direct sunlight at boilers on top of three 459-foot tall towers, heating a liquid to create steam used to run a turbine. Carlsbad-based NRG Energy operates the Ivanpah project, which it co-owns with Google and Oakland-based BrightSource Energy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously called Ivanpah — the world’s largest concentrated solar project — a “mega-trap” for birds and insects, although the exact number of deaths has been a subject of fiery debate.

An executive with Abengoa–one of the project’s developers–said the bid death problem is “solvable.”

Birds are killed when they fly through the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a Wall Street Journal article published in February of 2014. At the time, the publication noted that regulators knew some birds would die, but didn’t expect the dozens of avian deaths during the project’s construction and testing phase. They’re reaching the conclusion of their two-year study on the solar farm’s effects on birds.

Nevertheless, this isn’t an isolated incident. A solar panel farm in Nevada was frying birds flying through the facility. In one test, engineers and biologists noticed trails of smoke emanating from burning birds.

Clinton Foundation On Tax Returns: ‘Yes, We Made Mistakes’

Today, Maura Pally, the acting CEO of the Clinton Foundation, released this blog post addressing some of the concerns raised by the media regarding the foundations donors, donations, and tax returns. Of course, the gist of the post revolved around the good work the foundation is doing worldwide; how they’ve gone “above and beyond” what normal non-profits do regarding transparency; and noted how “donor disclosure and foreign government contributor policy is stronger than ever.” As for Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which is based in Canada, those individual donors aren’t listed since Canadian law prohibits such disclosure without express permission from each donor (via Clinton Foundation):

I also want to address questions regarding our 990 tax forms. We have said that after a voluntary external review is completed we will likely refile forms for some years. While some have suggested that this indicates a failure to accurately report our total revenue, that is not the case. Our total revenue was accurately reported on each year's form – our error was that government grants were mistakenly combined with other donations. Those same grants have always been properly listed and broken out and available for anyone to see on our audited financial statements, posted on our website.

So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future. We are committed to operating the Foundation responsibly and effectively to continue the life-changing work that this philanthropy is doing every day. I encourage you to read more about that good work at

To recap, The New York Times  reported on a controversial energy deal regarding a Russian state-owned corporation taking over a Canadian mining company­–Uranium One–which was responsible for 20 percent of uranium production in the United States. The deal had to be approved by the Committee On Foreign Investment since uranium is part of America’s national security interest; the State Department was one of the principal actors on the committee. The deal was approved, but not after interests with ties to the deal poured cash into the Clinton Foundation. During this period, Mr. Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian bank involved in the deal. Also, the donors who made these contributions were not disclosed, despite an agreement with the Obama White House to do so.

This image courtesy of The New York Times.

As for the Clinton Foundation’s tax returns, they were a bit off (via Reuters):

For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years. Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation's work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period.

With Clinton’s approval numbers falling­, and her rather poor numbers regarding trustworthiness, Pally’s letter “jumps on the grenade,” as the Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote–and tries to divert some of the attention away from the Clintons by saying the tax return foul-up was on the foundation:

First, she needed to respond in order to clear any clouds hanging over the foundation itself. And, second, better that the foundation own the mistakes than that they be Hillary Clinton's.

Which isn't to imply that Clinton's campaign asked Pelly to write the note; it's not clear that it did. But there's no doubt that Clinton's (still very young) presidential campaign would like to keep the foundation's problems within the foundation's orbit, even as they expand outward -- and even as Clinton's trustworthiness sinks.

This week, Quinnipiac University released poll numbers showing that more than half of Americans don't consider Clinton to be trustworthy. There's a big partisan split, as you'd expect, but more than 60 percent of independent voters held that view. So too did more than half of women.

Pelly's letter hopes to dissipate some of the smoke that implies there's a metaphorical fire burning under these stories. Voters probably aren't paying much attention now, and we'll have to wait to see if other stories emerge or if these ones -- neither of which proves any improper activity on Clinton's part -- have traction. The candidate's problem is that it reinforces a perception problem that the Quinnipiac polling makes clear.

She'd probably welcome a shift that resulted in people thinking that only the foundation had made big mistakes.

We shall see if this puts out any fires, but there will probably be more stories regarding Hillary, Bill, and the Clinton Foundation that will raise the same ethical questions. We shouldn’t be shocked if more comes down the pipeline on this matter.

Video: Five Obama Jokes From The WHCD

Last night was the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner (or if you prefer, “nerd prom"). Which is, as the president said in his remarks, “the night Washington celebrates itself.”

As expected, the president spoke to Washington's rich and famous for some 22 minutes, chiding and criticizing himself as well as politicians (and celebrities) from both political parties. Truth be told, his gags were remarkably bipartisan. Not even Hillary Clinton escaped the night unscathed.

The following, therefore, are five jokes I found particularly funny—and perhaps you will too:

1). “Being president is never easy. I still have to fix a broken education system, issue veto threats, negotiate with Iran, all while finding time to pray five times a day.”

2). “I’m so old John Boehner has already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”

3). “Let’s face it, there is one issue on every reporter’s mind, and that’s 2016. Already we’ve seen some missteps. Turns out Jeb Bush identified himself as Hispanic back in 2009. Look, I understand. It’s an innocent mistake. Reminds me of the time I identified myself as American back in 1961.”

4). “Hillary kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Chipotle. Not to be outdone, Martin O’Malley kicked things off by going completely unrecognized at a Martin O’Malley campaign event.”

5). “And Bernie Sanders might run. I like Bernie. Bernie’s an interesting guy. Apparently some folks want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all!”

That last one, of course, drew thunderous applause. Watch the full clip below:

HRC: Religious Beliefs Must Be Changed For Abortion Rights

After a week where some much-needed sunlight was shone on Hillary’s foreign cash and tax scandals, she capped it off by actually being honest about something herself.

Speaking at the Women in the World summit, Hillary explained how she believes access to abortion will open up: by fundamentally transforming changing religious beliefs and cultural norms.

“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” she said.

“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she continued. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

As Matt Lewis aptly notes: “Regardless of how one feels about gay rights or the abortion debate, it is interesting that liberals are finally getting around to openly confessing something all of us sort of know — yet few will say out loud: Achieving a liberal social agenda will necessarily require first extirpating many “deep-seated” Christian values and tenets.”

Whether this becomes Hillary’s ‘clinging to gun and religion’ moment remains to be seen.