Obama: I'd Make An Awesome Third Term President, You Know

Do you think President Obama would make a good third term president? He certainly thinks so.

Speaking in Africa Tuesday, President Obama made positive remarks about Africa's democratic progress, but criticized leaders who refuse to step aside and give up power once their terms are over. He then proceeded to explain his belief he'd make a great third term president, but that the Constitution limits him to just two terms. 

"I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as the President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again. I can't run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t, so there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving but the law is the law," Obama said.

For reference, President Obama's disapproval among Americans currently outweighs their approval.

Thanks to the WFB for the video.

On The Day Israel And Cyprus Sign Energy Security Deal, EU Protects Cypriot Cheese

WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – If you ever wanted to see why British people are so sick of the European Union look no further than the two announcements on Cypriot security today. On one hand was Nicosia and Jerusalem talking about making themselves energy independent by working together, while Brussels announced greater protection for Cypriot cheese.

The remarkable contrast is further evidence of just how out of touch and irrelevant the European Union really is. According to the Associated Press the move to protect halloumi, or hellim in Turkish, will serve as some sort of a symbol of unity in Cyprus. The island has been divided since it was invaded by Turkey in 1974.
Commenting on the weighty new proposal for peace EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the “cheese unification drive” shows the commitment of both sides "to work together on projects unifying the whole island."
Meanwhile in the real world Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said they would seek to tap the potential of natural gas in the sea bed beneath both countries. Energy security is a major issue for them because they both have land borders with aggressive neighbors.
This is not a one off case, the EU has taken a keen interest in food related irrelevance for a number of years now. It has already legislated to make carrots a fruit and to make sure bananas are not too curvy. There were also moves in Brussels to make it illegal to serve olive oil in a bowl.
To be fair each of these moves did have some justification but they also proved the EU is desperately trying to create a role for itself. The UK recently converted many of its embassies from just being British alone to also including other Commonwealth countries, especially Canada. The reason for this was the EU is desperate to take over the embassies of its member states and the UK has some of the nicest ones.
All of this is a power grab, Brussels bureaucrats will get involved in anything to make themselves feel useful. It would not surprise if they deliberately announced the cheese thing because they were jealous about being left out of the energy deal.
We are told that it is the EU that is stopping European conflict, a point that is self evidently disproved as several wars have taken place during its existence. In reality it's a vehicle for empire builders to exercise their dreams of world domination… and they'll use anything to get there (admittedly cheese was not their finest weapon).
Britain is likely to vote on independence in July next year, the establishment will throw the kitchen sink at the campaign to keep us in the EU. Hopefully today's announcement will further serve to show how little point there is giving up our freedom to be associated with these people.
Oh and well done on the gas deal, it's about time Israel had some good will from a European country!

Chaffetz: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Should Be Fired And Impeached

After years of investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who took over as chairman after Rep. Darrell Issa earlier this year, has had enough of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. 

Yesterday Chaffetz called on the President to fire Koskinen over allegations of obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence and stonewalling a congressional investigation. He accused Koskinen of lying to Congress when he said last year that backup tapes belonging to former IRS commissioner Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the targeting scandal, didn't exist. We of course learned shortly after that backup tapes do exist, but that IRS officials didn't bother looking for them in order to turn them over to Congress for scrutiny. It was later revealed that at least some of the available back-up tapes were destroyed, even after a congressional subpoena for the tapes was issued. 

"Congress needs to get more aggressive and stand up for itself. We may hold him in contempt and there are other constitutional remedies that perhaps, one of the things we're exploring is perhaps impeaching the commissioner," Chaffetz said last night On The Record. "He [President Obama] should fire Mr. Koskinen because he's not working with us." 

"We're going to get to the truth no matter where it is no matter how long this takes. We're going to get after it," Chaffetz continued.

Considering President Obama doesn't believe the IRS targeting of conservatives is a scandal at all, I doubt he'll be heeding Chaffetz' calls. However, Congress does have the power of impeachment. Whether that authority will be exercised under current GOP leadership is a different story.

Last week, former Oversight Chairman Issa revealed the IRS is still engaged in targeting of conservative groups.

Poll: Half of Respondents (52 Percent) Oppose Iran Deal

The Iran deal has been the talk of Washington for weeks now. Supporters of the accord say it slows Iran’s path to the bomb, reduces the number of centrifuges operated by the regime, earns general support among Western powers, and is the best option currently available under difficult circumstances. Critics, however, aren't as sanguine. They claim that the deal will speed Iran’s path to the bomb, lift sanctions on an active terrorist state, threaten the state of Israel, and provide zero assurances that Iran will ever give up its quest for nuclear weapons.

But what does the public believe?

As it happens, a hot-off-the-press poll conducted after the deal was announced provides some instruction. When asked if “Congress should approve or reject the deal with Iran,” a majority of respondents said they should:

Over a thousand respondents participated in CNN/ORC’s national survey. The D/R/I breakdown was 29/22/49.

UK Lords Deputy Speaker Resigns after Cocaine and Hooker Binge

WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords has resigned his seat after being filmed taking cocaine with prostitutes. Before the scandal broke at the weekend Lord Sewel was a highly respected figure in the Labour Party and even chaired the House of Lords Standards Committee.

The Sun newspaper first exposed his actions on Sunday and he resigned as Deputy Speaker but reportedly wanted to stay on as a member of the Lords.
He announced he would take a leave of absence from the House, which is fairly common among peers as they are appointed for life. The 69-year-old would have been able to end the leave at anytime.
Last night his home in Dolphin Square close to Parliament was raided by thge Metropolitan Police. They confirmed his activities were now under criminal investigation.
In addition to sleeping with prostitutes and taking drugs Sewel also made a series of indiscreet comments about other senior politicians. He claimed former Prime Minister Tony Blair had “fallen in love” with George Bush, who himself was “crap”. Sewel also said the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, was “facile” and “superficial”.
This morning he issued the following statement: “I have today written to the Clerk of the Parliaments terminating my membership of the House of Lords. The question of whether my behaviour breached the Code of Conduct is important, but essentially technical.
“The bigger questions are whether my behaviour is compatible with membership of the House of Lords and whether my continued membership would damage and undermine public confidence in the House of Lords. I believe the answer to both these questions means that I can best serve the House by leaving it.
“As a subordinate, second chamber the House of Lords is an effective, vital but undervalued part of our political system. I hope my decision will limit and help repair the damage I have done to an institution I hold dear. Finally, I want to apologise for the pain and embarrassment I have caused.”
Baroness Stowell, Leader of the House of Lords, said: "I welcome Lord Sewel's decision to resign permanently. For the House of Lords to earn the confidence of the public, all of us must respect the privileges that come with a peerage and recognise that - because we are unelected - it is especially important to meet the standards the public have a right to expect, and to act swiftly when we fail."
Members of the House of Lords are unpaid and instead are given $470 unappreciated expenses for every day they attend. There is also a smaller payment for anyone who attends half a day. The system exists because peers are not expected to vote on every issue that comes before the House.
Today a number of UK newspapers claimed Sewel has spent over $18k on prostitutes in the last three years. On the tape itself he is clearly heard to say he used his expenses payments from the House of Lords for the prostitutes and drugs.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Calling for National Lobster Day

If a bipartisan group of Senators from New England get their way, September 25 will be deemed "National Lobster Day." Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are co-sponsoring a resolution to proclaim an official National Lobster Day for this year.

The senators are introducing a resolution to designate Sept. 25, 2015, as National Lobster Day. Maine's Angus King and Susan Collins say the crustacean deserves the honor because thousands of families rely on the multimillion dollar American lobster industry to make a living.

Collins and King say the lobster day will also note the American lobster's "growing popularity as a global delicacy."

June 15 had previously been unofficially deemed "National Lobster Day." While lobster season is year round, the season tends to peak in the fall.

Not that I personally need an excuse to eat a lobster, but I think this resolution is as good a reason as any to indulge. Lobster prices have plummeted in recent years, which while good for the consumer, is a little rough on the lobsterman who needs to sell lobsters to earn a living. Anything that would promote local industry is a win in my book.

Horror: Third Planned Parenthood Video Captures Abortionists Procuring Fetal Tissue for Profit

In baseball, three strikes means you're out. Hopefully the same is true for Planned Parenthood, who as of Tuesday morning has now been exposed three times negotiating the sale of fetal body parts.

For a brief morbid summary, in the past two weeks the Center for Medical Progress has released findings from their 3-year investigation into Planned Parenthood. Their first undercover video contained footage of a doctor describing the potential of selling aborted babies' body parts for profit, all while enjoying her lunch. The second video featured an abortionist discussing prices for the organ harvesting, while callously joking she 'wants a Lamborghini.'

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards tried (unsuccessfully) to defend her organization on ABC's "This Week." Now, however, she will be forced to do damage control once again.

In its third released video, the CMP interviews an ex-procurement technician from the company StemExpress. Holly O'Donnell describes how she thought she was just tasked with drawing blood when she applied for the company, yet soon realized, to her horror, they wanted her to procure tissue from aborted fetuses. Then the harvesting began:

“For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.”

Later in the video, O'Donnell describes how she fainted on her first day when doctors asked her to help procure fetal body parts from a pie dish. A similar scenario was conducted by the CMP, who caught the Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Dr. Savita Ginde, harvesting fetal tissue in a laboratory following an abortion, her only concern seeming to be the price tag of each specimen:

"I think the per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it."

Footage is included below, but I warn you it's very graphic.

Today, in several cities throughout the country, defund Planned Parenthood rallies will be held for anyone concerned about what they see in these videos, including in the nation's capital, right outside Congress' door. Doing so, pro-life activists hope, will speed new legislation introduced by GOP members like Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) to halt this ill use of taxpayer money.

It's time to stop funding this money-hungry and immoral organization. O'Donnell, for one, knows Planned Parenthood's agenda all too well:

"They do get some kind of benefit."

Video: Hillary's Email Lies Eviscerated By…MSNBC?


We've spent several posts documenting Hillary Clinton's known, provable lies about her improper and national security-endangering secret email scheme. MSNBC's Morning Joe condensed her falsehoods into one damning segment, juxtaposing Hillary's on-camera assertions with evidence disproving her claims. It's thorough and excellent:


Joe and the crew marvel at the fact that Hillary is still repeating the false statement that all of the classified materials that passed through her private server were retroactively deemed to be classified -- already a departure from her initial claim was that zero classified materials passed through that server.  But as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have reported, that's just not true.  Of the 40 emails examined by independent Obama administration Inspectors General at the State Department and CIA, fully ten percent of them included classified content -- that was classified at the time.  Via Ed Morrissey, Mark Halperin rightly focuses attention on the most serious element of Mrs. Clinton's email scandal -- namely, national security breaches:

It matters in terms of security. If there was classified information in there — Secretary [Clinton] says there wasn’t, the Inspectors General say there was — and that got hacked into in the private server, that is a huge breach of her responsibilities. That to me is where the story’s going. Will the FBI investigate the question of was there a security breach on the private server, or on the outside server, the outside vendor that — the Clintons switched their information — making sure that there was no security breach. And they’ve not addressed that one bit.

That's why these Inspectors General referred this matter to the Justice Department and the FBI.  They are deeply concerned that untold quantities of government secrets were accessed by foreign governments and hostile parties through Clinton's egregiously under-secured server.  Why would she construct such a risky and reckless scenario?  The "one device" convenience excuse has been blown to pieces, so what's really going on?  MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell spoke with experts who can only draw one conclusion:

MITCHELL: I was at a security conference speaking to intelligence officials on all sides, and to the Attorney General, and we’ll talk about that later. But nobody can give an explanation for why a Cabinet Secretary would have a private e-mail system, other than to thwart inquiries, FOIAs, and someone who had spent 20 years fighting off many investigations, many of which were unwarranted and many of which led nowhere, and so you understand the defensive approach that a lot of Clinton people were in. But it still doesn’t explain why going from the Senate into a Cabinet level position there was a private e-mail system.

Put bluntly, she violated the rules and endangered national security for the sole and explicit purpose of avoiding accountability and transparency, for her own political purposes.  And she's been lying about it ever since.  One of those lies is that she turned over all work-related emails to the State Department, which has been demonstrated to be flat-out false.  She destroyed tens of thousands of emails without any oversight.  What is she hiding?

Pew Poll: Republicans Unhappy With The Republican Party

Despite an unpopular President Obama and a less-than-enthused population when it comes to Hillary Clinton, Republicans are struggling with their favorability rating just nine days before the first GOP primary debate in Ohio. 

According to a new poll released by Pew Research, Republicans have seen their favorability drop significantly since the beginning of the year among voters. 

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).


Further, a huge struggle Republicans seem to be having comes from disappointment inside their own party.

Republicans, in particular, are now more critical of their own party than they were a few months ago. About two-thirds (68%) express a favorable opinion of their party, the lowest share in more than two years. Six months ago, 86% of Republicans viewed the GOP positively.

And here is the biggest problem: Democrats are still trusted more to handle big issues, to "govern in a more honest and ethical way," and to relate to everyday Americans. This is a pretty incredible feat considering the news of Hillary Clinton's personal email server and deletion of 32,000 emails she deemed "personal." Voters also view the GOP as the more extreme of the two major political parties. 

 

These latest numbers certainly reflect the rift we've seen inside the GOP for years and prove Republicans have a lot of work to do in terms of reaching voters and proving their Party is the better pick. Just over the past few days, there has been a feud between anti-establishment Senators like Ted Cruz and GOP leadership on Capitol Hill. Further, the rise of the Tea Party in 2009 was not only a reaction to President Obama's big government policies, but also against big government Republicans. 

ICYMI: Planned Parenthood CEO Struggles to Justify Selling Baby Parts

In case you missed it over the weekend, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards sat down on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and struggled to justify the selling of baby parts "for science" and "medical purposes." Richards was extremely defensive when asked about why Planned Parenthood doctors are seen in undercover footage haggling over the price for body parts and ironically accused the journalists who captured the footage of engaging in unethical practices. One doctor in particular was caught on camera negotiating body parts while joking that she wanted a Lamborghini.

"This has been a three-year, well funded effort by the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement in this country to try and entrap doctors with highly doctored videos. Doctors repeatedly said, which was edited out, Planned Parenthood does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation, which is an important element of healthcare research in this country," Richards said, failing to acknowledge that the organization behind the undercover video, The Center for Medical Progress, has released the "edited" footage Richards is referring to in full. "What is not told is that these [undercover videos] are highly selectively edited." 

To his credit, Stephanopoulos followed up on that point, asking if Planned Parenthood doesn't profit from the sale of parts, then why do doctors participate in a negotiation process about price for baby parts?

"Planned Parenthood has broken no laws, we have the highest standards. The care and healthcare of our patients is the most important priority," Richards said. "This is actually laudable that women choose to make fetal tissue donations." 

It isn't clear if women are knowingly donating (or in this case, Planned Parenthood selling) fetal organs harvested in late term abortions for "medical research." It is a felony to sell fetal parts to any company without the consent of the mother.


ABC US News | World News


Meanwhile, while Congress debates whether the abortion giant should continue to receive more than $500 million per year in taxpayer funding, big companies are denying any previous involvement or sponsorship of the organization.

Planned Parenthood once boasted a list of sponsors that read like a who's who of the Fortune 100, but now some of the biggest companies say they never gave money to the embattled organization.

Coca-Cola, Ford and Xerox are all among the companies listed in a roster of corporate sponsors claimed by Planned Parenthood, but representatives for the companies said they either never donated to the organization or had not in years. Planned Parenthood, which is now reeling from the release of two undercover videos in which top officials alluded to selling fetus parts, had published the company names on the website of its Washington, DC, chapter.

Planned Parenthood's financing has come under scrutiny in the wake of the video sting, which was carried out by the Center for Medical Progress. In the videos, Planned Parenthood officials were recorded talking to people posing as medical researchers about providing aborted fetal organs for research. Critics say the videos show Planned Parenthood is illegally harvesting and selling organs, although the organization's president, Cecile Richards, claims the group has done nothing illegal and is being smeared.

Exit question: Is Planned Parenthood an advocate for late-term abortion because the organization profits off of baby body parts that are significantly more developed in later pregnancy? We'll be finding out. The Center For Medical Progress reportedly has at least a dozen more undercover videos to publish in the coming weeks. 

WaPo: Americans See More Guns As The Solution

Is this the end of the gun control debate? The Washington Post’s reported–probably to Everytown’s dismay–that more Americans see gun ownership as the solution in fighting crime, and not the problem:

It's an echo of a familiar theme from NRA head Wayne LaPierre. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said frequently amid the more recent gun-control debate.

And most Americans agree with this logic, according to a 2014 Pew Research Poll. Since the 2012 Newtown, Conn., massacre of 26 people, including 20 school children, the poll found a nine-point rise in the number of Americans who think gun ownership could "protect people from becoming victims of crime."

The post-Newtown shift was most significant among Republicans, whose support for gun ownership in the two years since the attack rose from 63 percent to 80 percent.

The poll also marked the first time in two decades of Pew surveys that more Americans supported gun rights rather than gun control (though public opinion had been shifting that way for years).

In fact, the pro-gun-rights lobby is so powerful and its voters so active that Democratic senators who support gun laws tend to reverse their positions before reelection, a 2014 research paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found.

Now, they aptly note that large majorities of Americans–gun owners and regular Joe alike–support the idea of background checks. A background check for a gun purchase is reasonable; the law requires it. Expanding them into private sales, which mostly involve family members, is a waste of time. It does nothing to reduce crime single the percentage of such sales are within single digits. It’s window dressing.

Moreover, the pro-gun control crowd had their narrative shattered when Dylann Roof was able to purchase a firearm because his pending narcotics charge wasn’t properly entered into the National Instant Background Check System [NICS]. That’s not to say that the system should be dismantled, but the aura of government being efficient in supplying that security blanket by expanding background checks was gutted, or at least it should be. The feds utterly failed to keep us safe in this instance.

Now, one area where both gun control and pro-Second Amendment alike can find an area of agreement is keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. John Russel Houser, the Louisiana movie theater shooter, had a history of mental illness, but was able to pass a background check for his firearms purchase at a pawnshop because he was never involuntarily committed. At the same time, the Grand Theater, where Houser engaged in a senseless act of violence that left two people dead and nine injured, was a gun-free zone. That’s another debate entirely, but it shows another area where gun control advocates back policies that leave law-abiding Americans vulnerable to attack.

Yet, getting back to the issue of whether the debate over this subject is over, the tides were already turning in the Second Amendment camp’s favor months after Newtown. Support for more gun regulations returned to their pre-Newtown levels, and 68 percent of Americans feel safer living in neighborhoods with firearms. Getting back to what the Post noted, our side outmaneuvers, out-fundraises, and, most importantly, votes when the time calls for it. Whenever there’s a ballot initiative–or candidate–who wishes to curtail one of our oldest civil rights, we act–and we usually win.

We’ve beaten the gun control side to a pulp. For now, the debate is over, but our society doesn’t allow for permanent victories since public opinion is volatile. Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) remembers just two decades ago when the gun rights crowd was on the losing side, and we’re told by the gun control masses that the issue was settled. It could happen to us if we don’t continue to engage the other side, as annoying as that may be, in defending one of our most basic rights in the Constitution. C’mon! It’s great fun messing with the anti-gunners!  As Reynolds said, this engagement is the reason why we won. It's because we fought. 

Gun control groups, like Everytown, may brag about the millions in their membership who don’t vote, and petition signers who just waste paper. If your side doesn’t vote on Election Day, it means nothing. Yet, that could change. For now, we’re winning, and we should feel good about that. Moreover, with women becoming more active in exercising their Second Amendment rights, the hurdle for those who wish to pull the nation leftward on guns will find themselves hitting a very low ceiling in terms of support. Men, womenblacks, and Hispanics–they're all coming towards the right on firearms. Politically, Republicans, who are generally pro-gun rights, have two-thirds of the governorships, control the most state legislatures since 1920, and, as Reynolds noted, we have some form of carry rights in all 50 states. 

The Boston 2024 Olympic Bid is Dead

After Boston beat out Los Angeles, Washington, and San Francisco for the US Olympic Committee's bid for the 2024 Olympics, there was near instantaneous controversy among Boston residents and city leaders. Today, it was announced that the bid will be withdrawn and Boston will not host the 2024 Olympics.

An alternative city, most likely Los Angeles, will be given the USOC's bid instead.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced earlier today that he would refuse to sign a host city contract that would burden the city's taxpayers. This sparked rumblings that the bid would be pulled by the city. These rumblings were confirmed to be true this afternoon.

Due to continued low public support, the United States Olympic Committee and officials from the local bid group, Boston 2024, “have reached a mutual agreement to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the organizations said in a joint statement Monday.

The USOC will now explore alternative cities, which many experts believe would be two-time Olympic host Los Angeles.

“The USOC would very much like to see an American city host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024,” said USOC chairman Scott Blackmun, in a statement. “We will immediately begin to explore whether we can do so on a basis consistent with our guiding principles, to which we remain firmly committed.

“We understand the reality of the timeline that is before us,” he said.

Hosting the Olympics (or any major sporting event) has been a bit of an economic gamble, and Walsh is smart to protect the economic interests of the city of Boston.

The United States last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996, in Atlanta.

Poll: Democrats Viewed Way More Trustworthy, Compassionate Than Republicans

Hardly surprising. Nevertheless, Republicans have their work cut out for them in combatting long-entrenched and easily-perpetuated stereotypes. By and large, respondents overwhelmingly believe Democrats represent the party of compassion, moral rectitude, and moderation, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

The most alarming figure above is probably the empathy gap. Fifty-three percent of respondents say Democrats are “concerned with people like me.” Republicans, by contrast, trail on this question by double digits. This is depressing news, partly because as the GOP has sought to rehabilitate its image — and grow the party — there’s been no discernible change in public opinion on this question for years:

The Democratic Party continues to enjoy an advantage on a number of key traits and qualities, and these views are little changed since last fall. By a 22-point margin, more say the Democratic Party is “more concerned with the needs of people like me.” The Democratic Party has held a similar-sized lead on this trait since 2011, and at least a double-digit edge going back to when this question was first asked more than 25 years ago in 1988.

The Democratic Party also leads the Republican Party as the party that governs in a more honest and ethical way (45% vs. 29%). This balance of opinion is also little changed over the last few years.

Even worse, perhaps, Republicans themselves are losing faith in their own party. To wit:

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable).

The Democratic Party has often held an edge over the GOP in favorability in recent years, but its advantage had narrowed following the Republicans’ midterm victory last fall. Today, the gap is as wide as it has been in more than two years.

Still, the silver lining is this: Pew's findings merely and seemingly only convey general trends. That is, what happens when you test specific candidates on these issues? Could the results be any different? Of course they could.

For instance, Democrats like Hillary Clinton are struggling mightily when polled about their trustworthiness and favorability. In that sense, Mrs. Clinton shares similarities with a political party that, otherwise, she has very little in common with.

How Much Planned Parenthood is Really Costing You

Planned Parenthood, the organization responsible for 329,445 abortions a year, is also collecting $487.4 million dollars worth of taxpayer money annually.

According to Planned Parenthood’s own apologist, Media Matters, its “total revenue from abortion services was approximately $164,154,000,” a year. Accordingly, over 51 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinic income comes from abortion. In addition to its $320.1 million in clinic income and $223.8 million in private donations, Planned Parenthood receives $487.4 million dollars a year from taxpayers. And that number is drastically increasing. Taxpayer funding for the abortion giant has more than doubled in the last decade.

This is money coming out of your wallets:

Here's a sample: Individuals making between $50,000 and $100,000 paid just $15.51 toward Planned Parenthood. However, those making more than that paid considerably more. Individuals making above $250,000 have paid, on average, roughly $420 toward the organization.

After controversial videos were released suggesting Planned Parenthood was selling aborted babies' organs, senators are trying to halt federal funding of the organization.

One legislator leading the action includes Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a GOP presidential contender. 

"This organization has absolutely zero respect for the sanctity of human life and is an affront to the most basic human dignity enshrined in our founding documents," states Paul.

Also fighting the defund fight is Republican Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, a nurse for more than 40 years and a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. She has submitted the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, which would place a moratorium on all federal funding for one year while Congress does its own personal investigation.

“The one-sided relationship between Planned Parenthood’s ever-growing bank account and American taxpayers must be severed”

This Defund Planned Parenthood Act only will serve as a temporary prohibition on the taxes that come out of your pocket. Others are hoping for more drastic measures, that include getting rid of the taxing that supports Planned Parenthood altogether.

While drastic measures are being taken to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood, the organization itself is not backing down.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, in her first live interview regarding the controversy, on Sunday said the organization has broken no laws and slammed the group that produced the videos, the Center for Medical Progress. "The folks behind this, in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind, you know, the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes and in their churches," she told ABC's "This Week." "And that's what actually needs to be looked at."

To find out how much your share of Planned Parenthood is costing you in tax dollars, click here.

These Companies Have Directly Supported Planned Parenthood

In the wake of two undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood-affiliated physicians discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, politicians and pro-life advocates alike have ramped up efforts to defund the abortion giant once and for all.

But there’s something citizens can do right now that could have an impact on a significant source of revenue for Planned Parenthood: stop supporting businesses that donate directly to the organization.

According to 2ndVote, which tracks causes that corporations donate to, of Planned Parenthood’s $1.3 billion in yearly revenue, more than 25 percent comes from private donations, including corporate contributions.

Their research indicates that the following 38 well-known companies have directly supported Planned Parenthood.

Unfortunately many more, which you can see here, have supported third-party groups that fund the abortion giant.

“We encourage you to reach out to these companies; let them know why you spend your dollars elsewhere,” 2ndVote’s website reads. “By working together and voting with our dollars, we can turn the tables on this national tragedy.”

H/T: The Daily Signal

Blacks And Hispanics Are Lining Up For Their Concealed Carry Permits In Chicago

The Land of Lincoln was the last state to recognize concealed carry rights in July of 2013 after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s law banning the carrying of firearms in public was unconstitutional in December of 2012. In January of 2014, the law allowing for concealed carry went into effect, and Chicago saw the lowest murder rate since 1958. Sadly, Chiraq Chicago is undergoing another bloody era. It recently had another bloody Fourth of July holiday weekend that left nine dead and 53 wounded. In 2014, the city’s Independence Day weekend saw 82 people shot, with at least 15 killed. So, no one should really be surprised that everyone in the city is applying for concealed carry permits, especially in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Additionally, there are a sizable number of women in Illinois with their concealed carry permits (via Chicago Sun-Times) [emphasis mine]:

A Chicago Sun-Times analysis of concealed-carry permits issued since 2013 shows the 60643 ZIP code where McDonald lived is ranked 23rd out of more than 1,300 ZIP codes across the state.

Ten of the top 50 ZIP codes in the state were in Chicago.

[…]

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Sun-Times obtained an Illinois State Police database of the 119,337 concealed-carry permits issued between Dec. 18, 2013, and June 6, 2015. The names of the people who received the permits and their addresses were removed because of privacy restrictions.

About 12 percent of the permits in Chicago were granted to women; the rest are men. Statewide, about 14 percent are women.

[…]

The top five ZIP codes for concealed-carry permits in Chicago include upper middle-class, safe and predominately white neighborhoods on the Southwest and Northwest Sides — but they also include high-crime, minority neighborhoods on the South and Southeast Sides, the Sun-Times analysis showed.

Chicago’s highest concentration of permits is in the 60617 ZIP code — in the East Side neighborhood on the city’s Southeast Side — with 538 permits. According to the census, about 55 percent of the residents in 60617 are black, 34 percent are Hispanic and 7 percent white.

The sizable number of women who have their concealed carry is also another positive aspect of this analysis, and represents a shift in gun politics. Whereas the battle lines on gun control was usually drawn between men and women, Democrat and Republican, women have been lining up across the country for their carry permits. Female participation in shooting sports and ownership has the gun manufacturers seeing them–and rightfully so–as the next frontier in the industry. Now, men still represent the vast majority of gun owners, but more and more women are exercising their Second Amendment rights, enjoying it, and seeing its value–even in deep blue states like Illinois. This represents another hurdle for the gun control crowd. Fifty-one percent of white, middle class women think that a gun in the home makes them safer; overall, 68 percent agree that guns in a neighborhood makes them more secure. As many observers of politics have said in the past, it’s never a smart move politically to go against anything that white, middle class women like.

Regarding homicides, in 2012, the Windy City witnesses an all-time record of 504 murders. According to the Washington Post, that dropped to 392 within two years, with a crime rate the lowest since 1972. Right now, Chicago is seeing an uptick in shootings and homicides.

So, does more concealed carry permits equal less crime? There are studies that point to this result, but Illinois is still new to this right–with a legislature that’s still not gun friendly. Time will tell, but we shouldn’t be shocked in a five-to-ten year span that crime begins to trickle down as more and more people obtain their carry permits.

Levin: It's Time for Boehner and McConnell to Resign

Popular radio talk show host Mark Levin has called for Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to resign from their positions.

Levin wrote on his Facebook page:

It is time for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to resign for the good of the nation and the Republican Party. The nation and GOP are both suffering as a result of the unwillingness or inability of McConnell and Boehner to effectively defend either. Instead, these politicians are consumed with consolidating their own power on Capitol Hill and silencing opponents who dare to challenge their ironfisted rule. Sadly, they rarely act in the best interests of America's future. Indeed, time and again they have delivered victory after victory for Obama and his radical agenda -- from spending, borrowing, and Obamacare to illegal immigration, Iran and "trade" power. Never before has a Congress controlled by one party been so thoroughly impotent. This is due to the disastrous leadership of McConnell and Boehner.

As usual, Levin is spot on. The Republican Congress was elected in large part to fight against Obama and his far left policies. And yet, they have caved on every issue. They fund Obamacare, they fund Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty, and they made themselves irrelevant in the Iran deal by passing Sen. Bob Corker's bill that turned the treaty provision of the Constitution on its head.

Where have Boehner and McConnell been on the issue of sanctuary cities and Kate Steinle's murder? Where is the forceful action and leadership on the defunding of Planned Parenthood after these horrific videos of them admitting to illegally selling the body parts of aborted babies?

The truth is that Boehner and McConnell are very uninspiring and seem to be more concerned in appeasing their special interest groups and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times than stopping the decline of the country. Boehner and McConnell both talk as if they have marbles in their mouths. Boehner says he won't take action against Planned Parenthood until more evidence comes out- even though the videos released already provide enough evidence to implicate Planned Parenthood. Instead, Boehner continues to push for comprehensive immigration reform- a.k.a. amnesty- against the wishes of the American people and punish conservative House members who dare to vote against him. And of course, Boehner cries like a baby way too often. How is this guy an effective leader?

When McConnell isn't bashing conservatives like Ted Cruz, he touts the Senate's ability to pass amendments- as if that's some sort of major accomplishment. How does that resonate with the American people? 

Recently, McConnell blocked amendments that would have defunded Planned Parenthood and implemented Kate's Law in cracking down on sanctuary cities using the "filling the tree" process of crowding out amendments that he didn't like- the same tactic that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used against Republicans. 

However, McConnell didn't block an amendment reauthorizing the Export-Import bank, a source of crony capitalism for corporations like Boeing and GE. This is why Cruz bravely stood up to McConnell on Friday. As a result, McConnell fast-tracked a stand alone bill to defund Planned Parenthood, which was meaningless because Democrats could kill it with a filibuster, which they wouldn't have been able to do if McConnell had allowed it as an amendment.

This isn't out of the ordinary for McConnell. I remember hearing a story on Levin's show a couple of years ago about how McConnell had courted Sen. Marco Rubio to be a part of the Gang of Eight as a way to get Tea Party support for the amnesty bill that had passed the Senate that year. McConnell, meanwhile, waffled on his support of the bill and ended up voting against it. And yet, the fact that he had courted Rubio behind the scenes to become a face to that bill shows the shady deception that McConnell engages in to pretend that he's a conservative in an election year, and then proceeds to channel Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.

Levin concluded his Facebook post by saying:

It is time for younger, wiser, and more courageous Republican leadership -- constitutional conservatives who understand the role of a statesman in perilous times -- who are willing to truly lead the nation and the Republican Party based on America's enlightened principles, advance the cause of liberty and republican government, and make the case everyday to the American people.

Right on. Boehner and McConnell are aging, mealy mouthed politicians who stand for cronyism and keeping themselves entrenched in power. With America in decline and our enemies on the rise, it's now time for true constitutional conservatives who stand up for the American people and the rule of law to take their place. The country depends on it.

Q-Poll: Colorado Voters Oppose Tougher Gun Laws

Well, what do you know; Colorado voters really don’t want tougher gun laws, according to a Quinnipiac poll. At the same time, the majority of Coloradoans approve of the job that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is doing:

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows Colorado voters oppose tougher gun control laws, especially among men and Republicans.

The poll showed voters oppose such laws 56-39 percent, with a 80-18 percent opposition among Republicans. Independent voters oppose tougher laws by 59-35 percent while Democrats support tougher laws 76-19 percent.

According to the poll, men oppose tougher laws 69-27 percent, while women support them 51-44 percent.

The poll, completed as part of a swing state gauge that also included Iowa and Virginia, questioned 1,231 Colorado voters with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

The poll also found Colorado voters approve 51-40 percent of Gov. John Hickenlooper's work. The voters also approved of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet by 41-34 percent approval rating though the poll showed voters say 40-32 percent that he does not deserve reelection in 2016.

In September 2013, Colorado was the site of the first real Second Amendment fight post-Newtown. In March of that year, Gov. Hickenlooper signed legislation to ban so-called high-capacity magazines and expand background checks. The latter of which is wholly unnecessary since all gun purchases at gun dealers with a federal firearms license must conduct one for all purchases. John Lott mentioned how sales conducted without background checks are within the single digits. It’s not 40 percent, which is a patently false statistic that was peddled without shame by the Obama administration.

The new gun laws sparked recall elections for two pro-gun control state senators, Angela Giron and John Morse, who were booted from office thanks to a coalition of women, Hispanics, and blue-collar workers. The meltdown showed the impotence of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun groups, regarding having any impact on gun politics … anywhere. They’re still searching for relevance since they really haven’t done anything other than start incoherent petitions, and hound businesses to ban open carry in their establishments.

The post-recall meltdown was even more delicious. Giron tried to say that voter suppression was the reason she lost her recall election. Giron represented a heavily Democratic district.

This also explains why Bernie Herpin and George Rivera, the two Republicans who succeeded Giron and Morse in 2013, lost in 2014 since both of their senate districts were Democratic strongholds. So, anti-gunners, don't think that's a sign of anything relating to shifting sands on gun control. The Quinnipiac poll just proved that assumption wrong. Colorado Democrats also lost their majority in the State Senate that year as well.

In March of 2015, Colorado Republicans in the State Senate voted to repeal the high capacity magazine ban, with some Democratic support. Yet, it met a legislative death in the Democratic-controlled State House of Representatives.

*Special thanks to Aaron Gardner and Revealing Politics' Kelly Maher for their input with this post.  Both are Colorado residents and active in politics.

Huckabee: Iran Deal Could Initiate Another Jewish Holocaust

It appears Gov. Mike Huckabee has made yet another bombastic statement, this time by criticizing President Obama’s recently-brokered and much-pilloried Iran deal.

Speaking with Breitbart News over the weekend, he alleged that the accord, if implemented, would do the following:

Governor Huckabee didn’t pull any punches when talking about Obama’s Iran nuclear deal: “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped.”

Not surprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) immediately seized upon – and repudiated – his comments:

Whatever one’s views of the nuclear agreement with Iran – and we have been critical of it, noting that there are serious unanswered questions that need to be addressed – comments such as those by Mike Huckabee suggesting the president is leading Israel to another Holocaust are completely out of line and unacceptable.

Israeli military and security officials have repeatedly said the Obama Administration has been as strong as any other American administration in keeping Israel secure. Just a year ago, during the war in Gaza, the president signed off on an additional $223 million for Iron Dome anti-missile weaponry to protect the lives of Israeli civilians.

To hear Mr. Huckabee invoke the Holocaust when America is Israel’s greatest ally and when Israel is a strong nation capable of defending itself is disheartening. The great tragedy of the Holocaust saw the Jews of Europe without allies and without power at the worst possible moment. …

Many would agree. And yet, it didn't take long for Huckabee’s comments to reach the administration; here’s what President Obama said about them earlier today (via The Hill):

President Obama on Monday condemned GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for invoking the Holocaust while criticizing the Iran nuclear agreement.

Obama said those type of “outrageous attacks” have become “all too commonplace” in the Republican Party and have helped poison American political debate.

Speaking at a press conference in Ethiopia, Obama described the former Arkansas governor’s comments as “part of just a general pattern we have seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.”

That's rich coming from the president. Nevertheless, as of this writing, Huckabee hasn't walked back what he said – or issued an apology. He even tweeted this yesterday:

Surely Gov. Huckabee could have made that exact same point — i.e., that the Iran accord jeopardizes the national security of the US and therefore its greatest ally Israel — without bringing Nazi gas chambers into the conversation. By doing so he (a) muddled the point he was trying to make and (b) gave Democrats a political opening to accuse Republicans of extremism and incivility. By the way, how does such language advance his cause and win over Americans to his point of view anyway? Answer: It doesn't. The media will now largely focus on his rhetoric, not the substance of what he was trying to articulate; namely, how bad the Iran deal really is.

At the same time (and as the ADL points out) he also inadvertently implied that the Jewish state is completely and totally helpless in defending itself against Iranian aggression. That's totally false.

For that reason alone, shouldn't he think very seriously about apologizing?

UPDATE: Huckabee responded to the president.

Cuban Athlete Defections Continue

I wrote last week about the surprising number of Cuban athletes who have defected to the United States in the past month at various athletic tournaments. The string of Cuban defections continued this weekend, as one half of Cuba's men's field hockey team defected to the United States at the Pan-American Games in Toronto. Eight of the 16 members of the team defected to the U.S. and deserted the team as the games drew to a close. The lack of team members forced Cuba to play a modified version of the game with fewer players.

From AFP:

The sources said eight of the 16 Cuban players had deserted, while team member Roger Aguilera put the number at seven, just the latest in a rash of Cuban defections across several sports.

"Everyone knows what happened to our team, we have seven of them in the United States," said Aguilera, after the decimated Cubans were hammered 13-0 by Trinidad and Tobago.

Short of manpower, Cuba could only field eight players instead of the standard 11 plus five substitutes.

While things may be different in Cuba, some things sadly remain the same. Although athletes in Cuba typically enjoy a more privileged status over ordinary Cubans, they're still trying to flee at the first opportunity.

Meet the Press Anchor: Hillary's Favorability 'Dismal,' Email Probe 'Incredibly Significant'


As I said on Friday, last week was a rough one for Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee. A Q-poll of voters in the swing states of Colorado, Virginia and Iowa showed her upside-down by substantial margins on trust, empathy and overall favorability. A new NBC/WSJ survey confirms Quinnipiac's favorability findings, measuring Mrs. Clinton's ratings approximately 20 points underwater in two early battleground states. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd opened yesterday's program by describing the numbers as "dismal" and "troubling" for the Clinton camp:


She's at (37/56) favorable vs. unfavorable in Iowa, and (37/57) in New Hampshire.  Todd also called Friday's news that two Inspectors General have requested a DOJ investigation into Hillary's improper email server and usage "incredibly significant."  MSM tastemaker Mark Halperin agreed, casting the development as a "disaster" for her campaign -- if a criminal probe moves forward:


In this clip, Halperin and his co-host outline the Clinton camp's response to the New York Times' reporting, which has entailed quite a lot of highly Clintonian parsing.  It's unclear whether the IG referrals to DOJ were explicitly criminal in nature, or if that determination has not yet been made -- plus, the investigation may focus on 'those responsible' for Hillary's emails, not necessarily Hillary herself.  It's worth noting that Hillary ordered the (scandalously under-secured) server to be set up in the first place, misused it, then ordered its contents culled prior to putting on a belated smoke-and-mirrors show of "complying" with records-keeping requirements.  Mrs. Clinton is responsible for Mrs. Clinton's email.  And while we're on the subject of responsibility, read Gabriel Malor's quick Twitter primer on the implications of her classified "spillage" problem.  Aside from her lying about it, that is, which is hardly unusual for her anyway.  A few key take-aways:


With Team Hillary's 'deflect, deny, distract' machine firing on all cylinders, Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau tries the focus people's attention on two core facts:


Exactly.  Frustrated by stonewalling, two IGs referred the matter of Hillary Clinton's improper email usage to the DOJ for an investigation, which evidently involves the FBI's counterintelligence division -- and in direct contradiction of her pervious assertions, she did use her private server and account(s) to share classified materials. As she is wont to do in times of distress, Hillary is busy ignoring her problems and playing the woman card:


Ahem.  Isn't the Democratic field…"all guys," and one woman? And all lily-white, I might add, since identity politics is so terribly important to these people. Pretending to forget about Carly Fiornia's existence was a nice touch, by the way.  As it happens, Fiorina appears to be gaining steam with the GOP electorate, and deservedly so.

McConnell One Year Ago: 'You Can Count on Me' to Lead Pro-life Legislation

Sen. Mitch McConnell gave the keynote speech at last year's National Right to Life convention in Louisville, Ky. He excited attendees with his pledge to defend the unborn once he took the Senate reins from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Well, a year later, and those pro-lifers are wondering what the heck happened. This weekend on Capitol Hill, McConnell rejected Republican senators' attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, even after the organization was exposed by an under cover investigation showing top abortionists nonchalantly discussing the sale of fetal body parts. 

Here was McConnell in June 2014, criticizing Democrats and their shameful agenda of stymieing the efforts of the pro-life movement:

"For six years, the president has been isolated from this growing movement [...] He will be forced to listen to the cause that's brought us all here this morning [...] Senate Dems would be forced to take a stand."

Well, despite McConnell's contrast, not much has seemingly changed under his leadership. In what could have been a prime opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood as it is reeling from the poor publicity of the last two weeks, McConnell looked the other way. Instead of allowing the pro-life amendment to be added to the highway funding bill, he offered a different one anathema to the conservative cause: the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Again, flashback to that pro-life convention:

"As long as I'm the senior senator from Kentucky, you can count on me."

McConnell, I have no doubt, is pro-life. He cosponsored the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and last month assured pro-lifers the Senate would vote on it.

“A bill that protects life after 20 weeks in the womb, a bill that in the past couldn’t even get a hearing, I’ll promise you will be a getting a vote,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said on Friday. “That’s not only good news for pro-lifers, it’s good news for our entire country.”

“It’s high time we did that because, I don’t know about you but I think we’re failing the country if the best thing we can offer to a scared, young mom-to-be is a referral to Planned Parenthood," said McConnell.

But, as his pro-life speech last year proves, it may be all rhetoric. 

Oh and did you catch that? Yeah, that was a slam against Planned Parenthood. Let's hope he hasn't forgotten who he's fighting.

Final note: McConnell seems like he's trying to make amends by agreeing to "fast-track" a stand-alone defund Planned Parenthood bill. Sean Davis explains why that may yet again be just an empty gesture:

Mr. Trump, Where's The Issues Section On Your Campaign Site?

Donald Trump is surging. He’s tapped into the anger within the electorate about how Washington has failed to do anything about immigration. Yet, it’s really grounded in what voters see as a lack of the rule of law on this issue and many others, specifically Obamacare, coming from the Obama administration. The president’s delay of the employer mandate is arguably on the precipice of violating separation of powers, but that’s for another time. The Donald wants to “make America great again,” but he doesn’t want to tell you how he would do it. He has no issues section on his website, as Rare’s Corie W. Stephens noted yesterday. She also wrote that we shouldn’t be surprised:

Trump’s political speeches tend to be rambling, barely coherent declarations of self-promotion, often citing how rich he is and listing off people who allegedly ask him for favors. Trump has made vague policy commentary in the form of statements such as “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall, mark my words.”

Trump also laid out a hypothetical scenario in which he will, “call up the head of Ford,” who will then wait until the next day to call him back, to “play it cool.” Suddenly, Ford will decide not to build a plant in Mexico and instead bring the jobs to the United States. Voila! How such lofty goals will miraculously be achieved is anybody’s guess. In Trump’s mind, he appears to have the magic touch, no policy analysis or political finesse required.

[…]

Take what Trump wrote in his book “The America We Deserve” about health care. He called for a single-payer system that is further to the left of Obamacare, and reflects a position held by self-avowed socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He also called for an “assault weapons ban” and described himself as pro-choice in the same book.

[…]

Politicians can of course, have sincere and informed changes of heart from time to time. But Trump’s “evolution” and current lack of substance smacks of political opportunism. This is a man who went from hiring undocumented workers for his various real estate projects to fashioning himself as an immigration hardliner when he felt the political winds necessitated it.

Trump is a celebrity*, and a great entertainer. 

That doesn’t mean he’s suited to be the next president. Nevertheless, Trump won’t be the 2016 Republican nominee, and he won’t be the next president. So, there’s that sobering fact.

*Don't get me wrong, the WWE bits are highly entertaining. 

Obamacare Repeal Vote Attached to Highway Funding Bill Fails

The 3-year highway funding bill up for debate in the Senate today has been surrounded by plenty of controversy. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) very publicly lambasted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for including an amendment to the legislation that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which many conservatives criticize as coporate welfare. Although McConnell also tacked on a vote to repeal Obamacare to somewhat appease his small government-minded colleagues, Cruz scoffed that it was no more than an empty gesture.

Unsurprisingly, the Obamacare repeal vote has failed to reach the 60 votes it needed to progress.

Stay tuned for more updates as the Senate votes on today's highway bill.

Update: In another blow to conservatives, the Senate has voted to reauthorize the Ex-Im bank.

Cruz and other Republicans are incensed not only because McConnell offered the Ex-Im amendment, but also because he rejected their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which they tried to do for obvious reasons.

By the way, Republicans determined to stop the president's health care law are not letting today's defeat slow them down. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has already made clear he will introduce the Obamacare repeal amendment again once the highway funding debate is over.

Update II: Cruz responds. He's not happy.

Shocker: Minimum Wage Hikes Gutted Over 700,000 Jobs In 2013

Are liberals better at economics or are they just more adept at selling ideas that drive purely on emotion? Increasing the minimum wage is a perfect example. Raising it increases the living standards for those who struggle earning such a wage, and those who are against it–Republicans–are just anti-poor cretins who have no heart. The political campaign almost sells itself. Yet, we’re against it not because we hate poor people–that’s unadulterated nonsense. We’re against it because hurts workers, which is something that we’ve been saying ad nauseum, but alas, liberal intransigence and stubbornness on this issue has resulted in over 700,000 jobs being cut over the past couple years.

Piggybacking off Daniel’s post last week, Seattle’s progressives have seen their minimum wage increase blow up in their faces. Workers are now demanding fewer hours. Why? The city’s $15 minimum wage law means that they’re ineligible for other welfare services. So, the burden of the law falls entirely on the employer, with the employees wanting to work less so they can remain on the government programs. It is laziness or just immaturity; that being you have to pay more in taxes and are ineligible for certain programs once you start making more money? That’s a debate for another time.

The American Action Forum has provided an analysis of the minimum wage and other economic policies from the Obama administration, which was supposedly meant to help the middle class. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t:

In 2013 High Minimum Wages Cost 747,700 Jobs: In 2013 a $1 increase in the minimum wage was associated with a 1.48 percent increase in the unemployment rate, which amounted to 747,700 jobs. States with minimum wages above the federal standard are lagging behind their counterparts by a full percentage point. The increases will lead to fewer jobs for those who need them the most.

The jobs lost from minimum wage hikes are almost entirely low-wage jobs.

[…]

According to a study by Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither from the University of California San Diego, the last time the federal minimum wage increased (from $5.15 to $7.25), employment among those earning less than $7.50 decreased by 8% nationally. That amounted to 1.7 million fewer jobs. As a result, average monthly income fell by $100. Read more here for fascinating data on its effect on mobility, poverty, and unpaid work.

[…]

The Affordable Care Act has reshaped American healthcare and affected the middle class, but not in a positive way financially.

Small businesses have been some of the hardest hit. AAF research found that Obamacare has reduced the wages of small business workers (offices with 20-99 employees) by $22.6 billion annually and cost those small businesses 350,000 jobs.

The ACA has also led to workers’ hours being cut. As Nate Silver’s 538 site wrote this past January, “the evidence suggests [the Affordable Care Act] has led some employers to limit the hours of workers who were already part-time, effectively giving a pay cut to some of the most vulnerable Americans.”

Welcome to Obama’s America.