Another State Democrat Group Drops "Jefferson-Jackson" From Annual Dinner Title

The Maine Democratic Party will no longer dub their annual dinner celebration the "Jefferson-Jackson" dinner, following a recent trend of other state groups dropping the third and seventh president from the celebration.

My colleague Matt Vespa wrote in June about the potential controversy around honoring Thomas Jefferson (who owned slaves and possibly sired a child with one) and Andrew Jackson (who, uh, did the whole Indian Removal Act thing). A large percentage of Democrats surveyed in the video Matt's post said they were perfectly fine with the name change, given that the presidents don't represent modern Democrats.

From the Bangor Daily News:

“Over the last year, the conversation has gained some more seriousness and depth and several other states have led the way,” said Kennedy. “It is an event where we honor our party, our values and our leaders, and the name of that event and everything it signifies should reflect those things as well. We have realized that the name Jefferson-Jackson does not adequately do that.”

Democratic parties around the country have long titled their annual dinners “Jefferson-Jackson,” but there has been a recent move away from that name. According to an article in The Atlantic and other news reports, at least four states — New Hampshire, Connecticut, Missouri and Georgia — have changed the name of their dinners. Party leaders in South Carolina, Iowa and Tennessee are also considering changes.

There hasn't been a replacement name announced just yet, but it's likely that it will include former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, who represented the state in the Senate from 1980 until 1995.

GOPers Prepare for Thursday's Debate

Many of us are anticipating this Thursday’s GOP debate, particularly Donald Trump’s whimsical touch. Fortunately, Fox News debate moderator Chris Wallace has devised many opportunities for Trump to shine.

Only 10 out of the declared 17 candidates will be given the opportunity to debate based on who ranks highest in the polls. Trump surely will be one of them.

America will watch in anticipation as many issues such as economy, foreign policy, electability, spending/national debt, health care and even “for fun” questions will be addressed.

As GOPers are preparing for the debate, all have one thing in mind: averting Trump.

Jeb Bush is spending hours in sessions from Florida to Maine preparing policy answers for Thursday’s first Republican debate — but he is also being mindful to avert any display of disdain for the man he will stand beside, Donald J. Trump, who has infuriated Mr. Bush by criticizing Mexican immigrants. (Mr. Bush is married to one.) 

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is crafting one-minute answers and 30-second rebuttals in case Mr. Trump or others continue attacking him as a flip-flopper on Common Core education standards and as a weak jobs creator, testing lines in mock debates with advisers playing Mr. Trump and other candidates. 

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ben Carson are determined not to let the debate on Fox News become about Mr. Trump, practicing to steer the conversation to national security, entitlement reform and health care — which might implicitly plant doubts about Mr. Trump’s knowledge on those issues.

These candidates are given the opportunity to make their very first impression on a national level, and when it comes to becoming president of the United States, having the attention on Donald Trump is not on their agenda. They hope to appeal to this larger audience and Wallace hopes to aid in the “unlocking of the politicians' minds.” 

With most candidates, Wallace has an idea of what they would like to accomplish on the debate stage. “If you’re Jeb Bush, you pretty much want to stay out of any clinches,” Wallace said. “There’s nothing to be gained by him to punch down on somebody below him. What he’s going to want to do is establish his conservative bona fides, to say: ‘I’m not Bush III, I’m the former conservative governor of a state.’ .?.?. There are other people who are going to want to make a statement on the stage, who are going to want to push at somebody, and to a certain degree, you’d like those fireworks.”

With each candidate getting around 8 to 10 minutes to answer each question and a rebuttal, they know that each minute holds a high responsibility to appeal to America in a tense and high pressure environment. 

Grab your popcorn, everyone, as this debate is estimated to hold some of the highest ratings in all of national television. Donald Trump’s flavorful touch will certainly be a commodity to watch, but so will the reactions, and aversions of the other candidates.

The debate will take place Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on Fox News.

Video: Watch Donald Trump Bash People for Hours on End

The perfect compilation video to get you in the right mindset for Thursday’s festivities: Donald Trump bashing people he dislikes for 10 straight hours. What more could you ask for?

Finally, this video exists — although it appears the reel only plays the same clips on repeat. Still, kudos to IJReview for putting this masterpiece together.

Watch as The Donald scolds President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Kerry, Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. John McCain and even Rosie O’Donnell. (I only watched for six minutes before calling it quits). In effect, Trump is an equal opportunity offender, and thus has no qualms whatsoever about offending anyone. And while some of the clips are indeed a bit on the older side, they're very much worth watching.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2016 Republican frontrunner.

For what it's worth, Trump has hinted recently he won’t actually throw verbal “punches” when the curtains open and the lights come on Thursday evening. We’ll see.

Puerto Rico Has Defaulted

U.S. commonwealth Puerto Rico defaulted on its debt for the first time Monday, paying just $628,000 of its $58 million scheduled payment. Moody's "views this event as a default."

Puerto Rico has an outstanding debt of $72 billion.

Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank paid only $628,000 of the $58 million due creditors, the agency said. It said the decision "reflects the serious concerns about the Commonwealth's liquidity" and the need to ensure "essential services (residents) deserve are maintained."

Given the tiny payout, "Moody's views this event as a default," said Emily Raimes, vice president at the U.S. credit giant.

Puerto Rico's outstanding debt of $72 billion is far bigger than Detroit's $20 billion bankruptcy two years ago but a fraction of Greece's $350 billion in obligations. But unlike Detroit, there's no law allowing Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy. And Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the federal government won't bail out the island, as institutions such as the International Monetary Fund rescued Greece.

Puerto Rico has seen its population plummet since the recession began, and despite attempts to raise sales taxes to raise revenue, the economy has not recovered. People born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens, although they do not pay federal income tax nor vote in presidential elections.

Iran: US Has No Right to Know Details of Secret Nuclear Side Deals


In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees penned an op/ed demanding that the Obama administration release the full text of two secret "side deals" lurking within the controversial Iranian nuclear accord.  The lawmakers say they only discovered the existence of these private provisions on a recent trip to Vienna, and that US law -- signed by President Obama -- explicitly requires every single word of the finalized agreement to be provided to Congress for review:

For those of us who are elected officials, few votes will be more consequential than whether to approve or disapprove the nuclear agreement President Obama has reached with Iran. Yet the president expects Congress to cast this vote without the administration’s fully disclosing the contents of the deal to the American people. This is unacceptable and plainly violates the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act—a law the president signed only weeks ago. During a recent trip to Vienna to meet with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization charged with verifying Iran’s compliance, we learned that certain elements of this deal are—and will remain—secret. According to the IAEA, those involved with the negotiations, including the Obama administration, agreed to allow Iran to forge the secret side deals with the IAEA on two issues. The first governs the IAEA’s inspection of the Parchin military complex, the facility long suspected as the site of Iran’s long-range ballistic-missile and nuclear-weapons development. The second addresses what—if anything—Iran will be required to disclose about the past military dimensions of its nuclear program.

The Parchin issue is concerning because Western powers have reportedly agreed to allow Iran to submit their own soil samples for tests -- hardly a rigorous "inspection."  The so-called 'past military dimensions' issue is important because it's yet another supposedly solid red line on which Obama's negotiators crumbled.  Both snags have been "resolved" in non-public pacts struck between Iran and the IAEA, about which US officials have been squirrelly and evasive:

The response from the administration to questions about the side deals has brought little reassurance. At first the administration refrained from acknowledging their existence. Unable to sustain that position, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on July 22 during a White House press briefing that the administration “knows” the “content” of the arrangements and would brief Congress on it. Yet the same day Secretary of State John Kerry, in a closed-door briefing with members of Congress, said he had not read the side deals. And on July 29 when pressed in a Senate hearing, Mr. Kerry admitted that a member of his negotiating team “may” have read the arrangements but he was not sure. That person, Undersecretary of State and lead negotiator Wendy Sherman, on July 30 said in an interview on MSNBC, “I saw the pieces of paper but wasn’t allowed to keep them. All of the members of the P5+1 did in Vienna, and so did some of my experts who certainly understand this even better than I do.” A game of nuclear telephone and hearsay is simply not good enough, not for a decision as grave as this one. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act says Congress must have full access to all nuclear-agreement documents—not unverifiable ?accounts from Ms. Sherman or others of what may or may not be in the secret side deals.?How else can Congress, in good conscience, vote on the overall deal?

This mini-drama represents another reason why Americans are right to reject this disastrous agreement. For its part, the Iranian regime -- which never misses an opportunity to antagonize and inflame the United States -- is extending a big middle finger on these questions, of course.  The Free Beacon's Adam Kredo reports:

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports. Recent disclosures by Iran indicate that the recently inked nuclear accord includes a series of side deals on critical inspections regimes that are neither public nor subject to review by the United States. Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent envoy to the IAEA, stated over the weekend that no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA. In addition, no U.S. inspectors will be permitted to enter Iran’s nuclear sites.

That last bit is a new one to me, aside from one unconfirmed Twitter report I saw over the weekend. Iran is claiming that this deal bars any Americans from participating in the inspection teams -- which will have to wait up to 24 days to access suspicious sites, you'll recall.  That Twitter report, from a guy with solid sources at State, now appears to be confirmed.  Will the media follow-up on this?



The Donald Turns the Tables on Gawker After Site Releases His Phone Number

Politics in general and elections specifically tend to bring out the worst in people, and the 2016 election cycle has been no different. Candidates have already resorted to name-calling, finger pointing, and sometimes downright low moves, like when Donald Trump gave out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s personal cell phone number because Graham called him a “jackass” (which he did after Trump’s comments about McCain’s war hero status).

On Monday, Gawker decided to level the playing field.

“In the spirit of open and fair political debate, we now bring you Trump’s number,” the site writes. “Since Trump, in his considered political judgment, has decided that opening up a direct, personal channel of communications between his supporters and his primary opponents is a noble campaign tactic, we think it’s only fair and right that Republican primary voters be able to reach out to Trump himself.”

While Graham responded to Trump giving out his number by making a comical video showing all the ways one can destroy a phone, Trump reacted quite differently.

Rather than destroy his phone, Trump simply turned the voicemail into a campaign ad.

“Hi, this is Donald Trump and I’m running for the presidency of the United States of America,” he says on the recording. “With your help and support, together we can make America truly great again! Visit me at twitter @realDonaldTrump and check out my campaign website at www.donaldtrump.com Hope to see you on the campaign trail, we’re going to do it!”

Regardless of what you think of Trump, he turned Gawker’s attempt to retaliate into a positive. Lindsey Graham’s number, which I just called, has been disconnected. All that’s left is a video of him destroying his phone, which is already forgotten news. Many people, who will likely get a thrill out of dialing up the business mogul, will hear a campaign message—forever, or at least as long as he decides to keep the line up and running.

As one Twitter user commented, this is precisely the difference between an entrepreneur and a “government slug,” and the reason The Donald will not go down without a fight.

Liberal Hypocrisy Over Mandela Game Hunting

Nothing in recent memory has excited the global animal liberation smellies quite as much as the killing of Cecil the lion last month. His death, at the hands of the American dentist Walter Palmer, is undoubtedly the greatest coup these campaigners have had in years, but does it also show the hypocrisy of the liberal twittocracy?

I have no idea why anyone spends their hard earned money chasing wild animals around with the purpose of killing them, but then again I am as unfit as I am unable to shoot straight. What I do know is there is almost complete consensus in countries like Zimbabwe that hunting is a vital part of conservation.

In fact hunting is seen as so integral to the protection of the natural environment that in April 1991 the South African newspaper The Weekly News ran a front page article about Nelson Mandela going hunting. The headline was “Mandela Goes Green” with a photo of him holding a rifle and one of the game animals he had personally shot.

The byline stated “A hunting trip converts the ANC leader to conservation”, and the article goes on to talk about the ANC leader taking a “two-week holiday at a Lowveld nature reserve hunting”. For the avoidance of doubt the paper explains he spent his time with the KaNgwane Parks Board which is “renowned for its methods - including hunting and culling of overpopulated species”.

Mandela was lorded for being “green” on his trip to Lowveld not in spite of hunting but because of his embrace of the sport. The article makes it clear Mandela recognized the need to make the park sustainable by foreign tourists, including hunters. These hunters pay a fortune for what they do (Palmer handed over $55k), and that is the only thing that pays for park rangers and all the conservation work they do.

Whatever Mandela thought he was never really challenged by the left, they loved him blindly. When Mandela hunts and poses with a rifle next to an animal he has himself shot, it is lauded as a paragon of Green, progressive virtues.

When an American healthcare professional engages in precisely the same activity for the same reason he is turned by the liberal left into a global pariah. The same people who are calling for the murder of Walter Palmer, also see Mandela as some sort of man god who could do nothing wrong.

Where was the campaign to have him prosecuted? You didn't miss it, it didn't happen, because the liberals don't care. They want to attack little guys like Palmer, but care little for criticism of leaders they like.

Mandela was right to hunt, it is part of the economy of Africa and a long-standing tradition. Those who disagree with Palmer ought to condemn everyone who hunts in Africa rather than picking out a few Americans to scapegoat. And if they do not object to Mandela's actions they should not be harassing Palmer.

Today American, United and Delta Airlines all buckled to the global liberal twittocracy and announced they will no longer ship lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters.

This is yet another example of how Cecil the lion is being used to marginalize the legitimate hunting industry. Perhaps it will be illegal soon, and the media circus that demanded the ban will do nothing to repay African conservationists for the money they lose.

Mandela is seen as a saint by liberals, perhaps they need to accept that saints hunt. Dry your crocodile tears kids, conservation demands hunting!

Oh, by the way, Mandela bagged an impala and a large blesbok roan. The park director, Jeremy Anderson, told The Weekly News that Mandela shot the roan “through the heart” which he assured them was “a perfect hunter's shot." 

Planned Parenthood Affiliate on Undercover Videos: “Medical Procedures are Difficult to Watch”

Planned Parenthood and its nationwide affiliates have really had to stretch to try and defend their organization in the wake of five very damning videos. The Center for Medical Progress has thus far released a handful of clips from their three-year investigation into Planned Parenthood which has exposed several of the organization’s employees negotiating the sale of aborted babies’ organs and, in the latest disturbing video, even whole babies’ bodies.

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards attempted to justify her organization's immorality by instead pointing an accusatory finger at the “militant wing of the anti-abortion movement” and referring to the videos in question as “highly doctored.” The words escaped her in desperation.

Her "non-profit's" affiliates have similarly failed in their far fetched explanations for what is seen on these tapes. In perhaps the strangest "defense" yet, the Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast had this to say:

"The video released today will be difficult for many people to see. Medical procedures and medical research are often difficult to watch. The video shows a Planned Parenthood staff member with an actor posing as a medical researcher handling fetal tissue in a lab. It is standard medical practice to review tissue to ensure the health and safety of patients, and this tissue was being examined and handled under the false pretense of a standard laboratory site visit for people purportedly conducting qualified medical research.”

That’s all they can say? The selling of babies’ body parts is just part of a “medical procedure” that is “difficult to watch?” Such a casually callous response is perhaps more disturbing than the footage itself. If the scenes in these videos are common practices behind Planned Parenthood's doors, a full scale investigation into their clinics should be demanded in every state.

The Gulf Coast branch goes on to assert that the “real agenda” of the CMP is to ban abortion and limit women's access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood and that most Americans don’t support their efforts. Yet, the pro-life movement has only grown more vocal in its effort to halt taxpayer funding to the organization, even dedicating a day of national protests to expose its harmful treatment of women.

After the first four videos were released, the Senate still could not garner enough votes to defund the organization. Two Democrats voted in favor of the bill, however, leaving some room for hope that more will join as more footage from the CMP is released.

Soon, Planned Parenthood's meaningless justifications will no longer be tolerated.

‘The 33’ to Portray How Chilean Miners Relied on Faith Before Miraculous Rescue

Five years ago, 33 Chilean miners working in the San Jose mine heard a boom. Then they were trapped 2,300 feet underground. For two months, they rationed food and water and prayed that they’d see once again see the light of day and the families they left above ground. 

They lived to talk about it.

No one is soon to forget the image of those 33 miners being raised one by one in a capsule that propelled them to freedom. Now, five years after the miraculous rescue, Warner Brothers is releasing “The 33” for moviegoers to witness the incredible tale on the big screen.

One of the trapped miners’ greatest sources of strength during those 69 days underground was their faith in God. A new trailer made exclusively for Christian outlets puts the spotlight on this particular part of the miners’ ordeal. Watch below. I got chills.

The most powerful moment in the trailer, I think, is this exchange between two of the trapped miners:

“We can say a prayer together.”

“I don’t know the words.”

“God doesn’t care.”

CNN is airing a special tonight at 9 p.m. on how these miners’ religious convictions propelled them back to the surface. The men kept looking up, even when darkness loomed, resources were scant, and time was running out. Jorge Galleguillos, a trapped miner from Copiapo, Chile, described how they refused to give up:

"You have to have faith," Galleguillos said. "You can never lose your faith. Faith is nourishment ... Faith is life."

Antonio Banderas stars in “The 33” as miner Mario Sepulveda. Sepulveda is remembered as the second man to be lifted to safety and who joyously led his rescue team in a cheer.

“The 33” comes to US theaters Nov. 13.

Trump: Yes, I'd Shut Down the Government to End Planned Parenthood's Subsidies

Donald Trump has watched the Planned Parenthood videos. There are now five of them. And unsurprisingly, he finds them “disgraceful.” But as a newly converted pro-life advocate, he went a step further on Monday than merely denigrating the organization's stomach-churning and unethical profit-making practices. He wants the abortion giant totally defunded and therefore stripped of all taxpayer subsidies, telling interviewer Hugh Hewitt he'd even support bringing the US government to its knees to make it happen:

HH: Alright now let me talk to you about the other big story that happened to you when you were in Great Britain the Planed Parenthood videos. Have you watched them, Donald Trump?

DT: I have. I think it was disgraceful. I have watched them, yes. …

HH: …The only way to get rid of Planned Parenthood money for selling off baby parts is to shut the government down in September. Would you support that?

DT: Well I can tell you this. I would and I was also in support if the Republicans stuck together you could have done it with Obamacare also, but the Republicans decided not to stick together and they left a few people out there like Ted Cruz. You know, they left a lot of the people who really went in and wanted to do the job and you know what? If they had stuck together they would have won that battle. I think you have to in this case also, yes.

Parting question: Would he really support shutting down the government or is he just saying that? Hmmm.

Watch the full clip below:

POLL: Highly Dissatisfied Obamacare Enrollees Find Out Health Insurance Isn't Healthcare

Don't say we didn't warn you. 

According to a new poll conducted by Deloitte, the vast majority of people enrolled in Obamacare are dissatisfied with their insurance coverage and do not believe they will be able to receive care when they need it. Just 30 percent of people enrolled in Obamacare are satisfied with their insurance plan, which is significantly worse than any other available form of healthcare coverage. Even worse, despite being subsidized by the taxpayer Obamacare enrollees still don't feel they are financially stable enough to cover remaining health costs or high deductibles. 

This is just the beginning. Obamacare and healthcare costs overall are

expected to rise exponentially despite promises the healthcare overhaul would make health insurance and care more affordable.

The cost of Obamacare could rise for millions of Americans next year, with one insurer proposing a 50 percent hike in premiums, fueling the controversy about just how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act really is.

The eye-popping 50 percent hike by New Mexico insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield is an outlier, and state officials may not allow it to go through. But health insurance experts are predicting that premiums will rise more significantly in 2016 than in the first two years of Obamacare exchange coverage. In 2015, for example, premiums increased by an average of 5.4 percent, according to PwC’s Health Research Institute.

Finally, remember when the White House argued those who were forced onto the Obamacare system due to the law eliminating their private individual or employer based healthcare plan were better off because those plans were "crappy" or "sub par?" Good times.

NBC/WSJ Poll: Hillary Favorability In Free Fall


Between Quinnipiac's Iran deal survey and the new NBC/WSJ poll, the week is not off to an auspicious start for national Democrats. Hillary Clinton's ratings have been on the wane for weeks, and now she's scraped a new low on personal favorability. You'd better believe Team Biden is paying attention to these numbers:


NBC's write-up notes that Hillary's favorability is now worse than President Obama's has ever been.  As I noted on Twitter as the data was released, Hillary's campaign must be worried not only about the direction of her trajectory, but also about the timing of this slide:


After her post-announcement "listening tour" failed to accomplish much, Hillary re-introduced her candidacy in a splashy New York City speech. Aides told reporters that she'd be much more aggressive and focused as a campaigner -- the time had come to really kick things into the next gear. Since that reboot, her favorables have tanked by double digits. And as we saw in a recent swing state poll, her honesty ratings are in terrible shape (for good reason), as are her empathy/caring marks (also understandable). This swirl of negativity apparently prompted her campaign to roll out a $2 million ad campaign that they'd originally intended to introduce months from now. Facing a polling emergency, they broke the glass and rushed gauzy bio spots to air, once again introducing this household name to the American people.  Other nuggets from the NBC/WSJ poll:


That last data point must be uniquely alarming to a campaign counting on the First! Woman! President! narrative to sweep their gal to victory.  It may well be an outlier, and there's a very long way to go -- but if Hillary's numbers among women aren't much, much stronger next November, she's doomed.  The latest Fox News poll also contains unsettling news for Mrs. Clinton, albeit less dramatic.  Her dominant lead in the Democratic primary has slid to its lowest point yet:

Clinton is still the favorite among self-identified Democratic primary voters. She receives 51 percent while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders comes in at 22 percent. Yet that is Clinton’s worst showing -- and Sanders’ best. Support for Clinton was 59 percent two weeks ago, 61 percent a month ago -- and has been as high as 63 percent in the months since Sanders entered the race. Vice President Joe Biden, who is said to be considering a run, sits at 13 percent support.

A twelve point erosion among her own party in recent months.  She's still the Democrats' dominant frontrunner, but her arrow is pointed in the wrong direction.

BREAKING: Fifth Video Shows Planned Parenthood Official Willing to Sell Whole Baby Bodies For Intact Parts

A fifth undercover video just released by the Center for Medical Progress shows Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Melissa Farrell discussing how abortionists "adjust" abortion procedures to keep entire baby bodies [cadavers] intact in order to best provide, and sell, wanted body parts.

"We can get creative about when and where, and under what conditions we can um, interject something that is specific to the tissue procurement needs," Farrell says. "If we alter our process, we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens in different shipments in this. I mean, that's, it's all just a matter of line items." 

"Take whatever they want," Farrell added about the benefits of selling whole baby bodies, preferably at 22 weeks of age [5 1/2 months]. 

An undercover journalist posing as a representative from a tissue procurement company is shown asking, "Could you adjust the procedure if you knew, okay they need, high volume of this...could you match that in 18-22 week [gestation] neural [brain] specimens..." 

Farrell is seen saying "mhmm" multiple times. She is also seen discussing higher prices for certain specimens outside of the cost of transfer and procurement. 

"When I'm working with our clinical trials and all of our specimen collection, additional specimen collection needs, I'm pretty bullish about getting as much information as I can prior to budgeting," she said. 

Undercover investigators were given a tour of the abortion facility and show freshly procured baby parts that could be sold.

"We've had a really long day and they're all mixed up in a bag," an lab worker is seen saying while laughing out loud.

Yesterday the Senate failed to defund Planned Parenthood when Republican fell short of needed votes, but lawmakers say the fight is far from over.

This post has been updated with additional information.

Police Investigated Over Prime Minister Child Sex Abuse Cover-up

WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – Wiltshire Police will to be investigated over its handing of allegations of child sex abuse against a former British Prime Minister. The constabulary stand accused of deliberately dropping a case against an alleged child abuser after he claimed to have evidence against Sir Edward Heath.

The case referred to was due to go to court in the 1990s, long before Heath's death in 2005. The Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCC) will now look at the circumstances surrounding the case to see if Police acted to protect the former Prime Minister. It is believed the case was dropped at an early procedural stage, for reasons that are not yet clear.

In a statement the IPCC said: "It is alleged that a criminal prosecution was not pursued, when a person threatened to expose that Sir Edward Heath may have been involved in offences concerning children. In addition to this allegation, the IPCC will examine whether Wiltshire Police subsequently took any steps to investigate these claims.

"The allegations were referred to the IPCC by Wiltshire Police following allegations made by a retired senior officer."

As a result of the IPCC investigation Wiltshire Police announced yesterday it would be looking at the case again. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children also launched a hotline for alleged victims of Heath to call.

Sir Edward was Prime Minister from 1970 until 1974, he remained Conservative Party leader until he was successfully challenged by Margaret Thatcher. The two went on to loathe each other for the rest of their lives.

Heath was always rumored to be gay as a result of being single his entire life. His love of sailing and the piano were the only elements of his private life he ever talked about in public. He remained single his entire life, choosing to spend time with his mother rather than marrying.

After his death the then-London Assembly member, Brian Coleman, claimed Heath had been warned against “cottaging” to solicit gay sex before becoming Prime Minister. Coleman was unable to offer any evidence for claims but he did say homosexuals “ran” the London Conservative Party.

At the time Coleman told the Daily Telegraph: "The late Ted Heath obtained the highest Office of State after he was supposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the 1950s."

This is not the first time the Police have been accused of protecting pedophiles in Westminster. One former Police Officer, Paul Foulston, claimed to have been investigating a murder when he was intercepted by a Special Branch outside a youth prison. The former detective said the officers threatened him, and a standoff ensued.

Foulston claimed he was only allowed to enter the prison and speak to the suspect as long as he agreed not to ask about Cyril Smith, a liberal MP at the time. Smith was later exposed as a serial sex offender, who continually escaped justice when cases against him were mysteriously dropped.

The large number of allegations in Westminster have led to some mistakes being made. Lord McAlpine was widely reported to be a child sex offender, until it was discovered his 'victims' had confused him with another person with a similar name.

Q-Poll: Americans Oppose Iran Deal By Nearly 30 Points


Public opinion on a prospective Iran deal was generally positive, if skeptical, while talks were still underway. Since the details of the agreement were unveiled, however, three consecutive national polls have shown most Americans turning against the Obama administration's terrible deal with the terroristic, anti-American regime in Tehran. Initial reviews were slightly negative, with a plurality rejecting the accord in a Pew survey, followed by bare majority opposition in a CNN poll. After several weeks of intense salesmanship by the White House and its allies -- characterizing critics as bad-faith, talking points-driven fear-mongers -- public support for the nuclear agreement has cratered:

American voters oppose 57 - 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters, the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Voters say 58 - 30 percent the nuclear pact will make the world less safe, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. Opposing the Iran deal are Republicans 86 - 3 percent and independent voters 55 - 29 percent, while Democrats support it 52 - 32 percent. There is little gender gap as men oppose the deal 59 - 30 percent and women oppose it 56 - 27 percent.

Americans' approval of President Obama's job performance on foreign policy is deep underwater (39/55), and even worse on Iran specifically (35/56). Obama and his team have been all over the media arguing that the accord they've championed is both a good deal for America, and will make the world a safer place. Voters have accepted neither argument. The president has claimed, dubiously, that "99 percent" of the world supports the deal, to which an overwhelming majority of Americans have effectively responded, "count us out."  By a two-to-one margin, the public says this nuclear agreement will make the world less safe -- which is almost certainly true.  This deal leaves Iran's nuclear infrastructure fully intact, conferring international legitimacy upon the program for the first time.  It does not force Iran to shut down a single nuclear facility, including a previously-secret bunker built inside a mountain, in violation of numerous international embargoes and laws.  Its restrictions automatically begin to expire after just one decade, permitting Iran to continue research and development on advanced centrifuges throughout.  It pours tens of billions into the regime's coffers, allowing them to step up their direct aid to international terrorists. It eases restrictions on Iran's ability to purchase banned weapons, and lifts sanctions on their illicit ballistic missile program.  Its inspections regime is weak; a far cry from the "anytime, anywhere" standard the White House repeatedly described.  And it does not require Iran to improve its malignant conduct vis-a-vis terrorism sponsorship, regional meddling, or human rights.  By Obama's own admission, Iran will emerge from this deal much richer, and on the brink of virtually immediate nuclearized status once the limitations sunset -- even if they don't cheat, which they alwaysalways do.  Feeling safer yet?

The new poll, released yesterday, drops with a thud on Washington, DC, where fence-sitting Democrats are determining whether to cross the White House on a disapproval vote following the August recess.  One important House Democrat cast his lot with Obama on Monday, amidst reports that the influential Sen. Chuck Schumer may be leaning "no."  Ugly, crooked numbers like the ones published my Quinnipiac cannot be  encouraging to undecided Democrats, who no doubt have noticed the utter failure of the administration to sell Americans on its priorities.  A few final notes from the expanded Q-poll:

(1) A majority of Americans continue to oppose Obamacare, with a narrow plurality still encouraging Congress to repeal the unpopular, failing law.

(2) A majority of respondents disapprove of Obama's overall job performance, with fully 73 percent of voters expressing dissatisfaction over the direction of the country.

(3) Congressional Republicans' job approval rating is lower than either Obama's or Congressional Democrats', fueled by the phenomenon of GOP voters being far more critical of their own party than Democrats.  And yet:>

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.42.11 PM


I'll leave you with John Kerry pretty much conceding that the administration refused to submit this international treaty to Congress as such...because they knew they didn't have the votes. "Physically impossible," via Ed Morrissey:



Fournier: The RedState Gathering is More Important than the GOP Debate

The first GOP presidential debate, hosted by Fox News, takes place this Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio. Pundits have been buzzing that it will be the most exciting debate in primary history. Yet, National Journal’s Ron Fournier believes the real party will be in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend:

For seven years, the RedState Gathering has brought leading conservatives together to voice and promote the values that have made this country flourish. Because of the approaching 2016 election, this year’s conference is especially important to voters who are concerned about the progressive direction the current president has forged.

In March, Fournier applauded RedState Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson’s chosen theme for the Gathering. Instead of harping on how President Obama’s policies have affected the country, Erickson challenged the candidates to offer their own 2020 vision for America:

Though I am loathe to ever suggest a topic for speakers, I have asked each of the 2016 candidates to focus on one thing: if they become President, their re-election would be in 2020. I’d like them to present their 2020 vision for what the nation should look like after their first four years. We do not need Obama bashing. We need to know what they would do differently and how they would shape the nation. They should be elected not on their ability to bash the opposition, but their ability to sell a vision for the future that resonances with the base and the nation as a whole. We do not, right now, need a 50 point plan. We need to know what they see as the areas that need fixing and how their fixes will reshape the country.

It’s a positive theme that is sure to please voters. The conference is also building anticipation because the candidates will be free from those limited 90-second answers and will have more opportunities to stray from dusty talking points, especially with vibrant question and answer sessions following their speeches.

The RedState Gathering takes place this Friday and Saturday. Stay right here at Townhall for live coverage of the event!

While Hillary Clinton Strongly Supports Death Tax on Middle Class, She Evades It Herself

Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been a long time advocate of the death tax, or what her campaign likes to call "revenue enhancements." But a close look at Hillary's financial statements, which were released last week in an effort to distract away from newly released State Department emails, shows efforts to evade the death tax by locking up money and assets in trusts. More from Americans for Tax Reform

Newly released tax returns from Hillary Clinton, disclosed in a Friday evening news dump last week, suggest she has been using a Death Tax avoidance strategy. Through the creation of a trust account, the Clintons appear to be engaging in legal but hypocritical measures to avoid paying the Death Tax Hillary Clinton has spent a career defending.

Clinton has consistently voted for the Death Tax throughout her time in public office and forcefully condemned attempts to lower it. But when it comes to her own finances, it is a different story. The newly released tax returns buttress earlier reports outlining the ways Clinton uses financial planning strategies that shield her Death Tax liability.

More on her death tax record

-In 2001, Clinton voted no on H.R. 1836, “the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act,” which contained a series of tax cuts, one of which increased the Death Tax exemption level to $3.5 million.
-In 2005, Clinton voted no on H.R. 8, “the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005,” which fully repealed the Death Tax.
-In 2006, Clinton voted no on H.R. 5970, “the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006,” which increased the Death Tax exemption level to $5 million.
-In 2008, Clinton voted no on S.Amdt.4191, legislation to increase the Death Tax exemption level to $5 million.

This is just another example of Clinton exempting herself from a policy she advocates for the rest of the country, further proving she is out of touch with the reality of government burden on those who need relief the most. Apparently protecting her own wealth is more important than protecting the wealth of Americans she claims to care about. The death tax is especially burdensome on middle class families in the farming and ranching businesses.

Tennessee farmer Brandon Whitt told the House Ways and Means Committee this past March that the estate tax–often called the death tax by opponents–is crippling his and other family farm operations across the country.

In public testimony, Whitt said his father-in-law was forced to sell off a large portion of farm land in 1998 to pay the estate tax when he inherited the operation. What’s left, Whitt said, is a seventh-generation farm with little liquid assets and an inability to expand.

During the Bush administration, the death tax was eliminated. President Obama brought it back during his first term. 

Fox News Poll: Trump Dominating GOP Field Ahead of First Debate

A new Fox News poll released just three days ahead of the first GOP debate in Cleveland shows Donald Trump is not only leading the Republican field, but that he's been gaining ground despite a series of controversial comments. 

Trump receives the backing of 26 percent of self-identified Republican primary voters -- up from 18 percent in mid-July and 11 percent a month ago. That’s not only the highest level of support for Trump, but it’s also the highest any GOP candidate has received since the Fox poll began asking the question in December 2013.

What’s more, the number of GOP primary voters saying they would at least consider backing Trump has more than doubled in the last two months.

Behind Trump and Bush, it’s Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 7 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 6 percent each, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent a piece, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich get 3 percent each.

That group is followed by businesswoman Carly Fiorina and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tied at 2 percent, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tied at 1 percent and former New York Gov. George Pataki, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore receive less than 1 percent support.

Trumpmentum indeed.

Trump will be at the debate and Cleveland and then at the Red State Gathering in Atlanta for a speech on Saturday night. 

Since announcing his candidacy last month, Trump hasn't minced words when it comes to how he feels about other Republicans running for president. For now, his bold and brash attitude has taken him to the top of the polls. We'll see if Trump can stay at the top after opponents point out his less-than conservative record on everything from single-payer healthcare advocacy to crony capitalism.

ICYMI: Hillary's Really Not 'Dead Broke'

Yeah, I know this isn’t a shock, but Hillary Clinton isn’t “dead broke.” Those infamous words uttered during her interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer in June of 2014 seem to plague the campaign, though it’s hardly enough to shift any Clintonites away from her. It nevertheless provides Republicans and Hillary’s Democratic opponents with some nice ammunition to use against her.

In all–and to no one’s surprise–the Clintons are loaded; they’re rolling in it; and they made $141 million between 2007 and 2014 (via CNN):

Hillary and Bill Clinton earned nearly $141 million over the course of eight years and paid $43 million in federal taxes, according to tax returns her campaign released Friday.

In a lengthy statement and on her campaign website, Clinton detailed that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, paid more than $43 million in federal taxes from 2007 to 2014, over $13 million in state taxes and donated nearly $15 million to charity over the same period.

The couple earned a total of $140.9 million, with an adjusted gross income of $139.1 million, the returns show.

Clinton said she and her husband paid an effective federal tax rate of 35.7 percent and a combined federal, state, and local effective rate of 45.8 percent last year.

We've come a long way from my days going door-to-door for the Children's Defense Fund and earning $16,450 as a young law professor in Arkansas -- and we owe it to the opportunities America provides," Clinton wrote in the release.

Hey, I like the something out of nothing narrative too. It’s indelibly American, but the donors who stuff her war chests are hardly stalwarts of the proverbial little guy.

That eight-year period, we know that she wasn’t on her way to the poor house; we all knew this. Moreover, then-former President Bill Clinton was making–on average–$24,000 a day within the first few months of leaving officer in 2001. It’s beyond patently false, which is why many Clinton supporters described the remarks as disastrous. Her little tidbit about her meager salary from her Arkansas lawyer days will probably do little to improve her favorability, trust, and competence numbers, which are appalling.

Nevertheless, the weekend document dump also said the former first lady is in excellent health. At the same time, after a year since the “dead broke” comments, it may be the one that might cause Clinton the most grief, as it’s still fresh in most people’s minds, according to the NYT’s Maggie Haberman. Let’s see how this turns out; we still have a long way to go before 2016 is over.

Hillary and Bill's income from speeches for 2013 are also included. It's quite massive as well. 

Jeb Bush’s Campaign Fundraising Haul Leaves Him PACked With The Most Cash

Last Friday, political action committees (PACs) had to file their mid-year reports, and Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC is doing quite well. In all, the Wall Street Journal  reports that the super PACs backing 17 presidential candidates for 2016 raised more than $250 million, nearly doubling the $125 million raised by candidates for their respective campaigns. The publication also noted that out of the $250 million that went to the super PACs, at least 40 of the richest Americans in the country doled out $60 million for the PACs supporting the top-tier candidates. Oh, and Jeb Bush and his campaign apparatus garnered the lion's share of their donations:

The committee backing Jeb Bush was the most aggressive in adapting to the less regulated political environment. Half of the 40 billionaires identified by The Wall Street Journal donated a combined $17.4 million to Right to Rise USA while it was on the way to raising an unprecedented $103 million. That super PAC far surpassed its rivals in a crowded GOP field as well as Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.

“Billionaires and millionaires have become the dominant players in financing the 2016 presidential campaigns,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group that has filed complaints against Mr. Bush with the FEC and the Justice Department. The complaints say Mr. Bush avoided campaign donation limits for candidates by starting a super PAC in January and delaying the official announcement of his campaign until mid-June. Right to Rise USA officials say they have complied with election law.

Wealthy benefactors helped close the gap in June when the Bush super PAC was more than $9 million shy of reaching the much-talked-about goal of $100 million before the end of the reporting period, setting off a last-minute scramble for cash. In the last two weeks of the month, Right to Rise saw an infusion of $12.7 million.

The group’s fundraising report showed 23 individuals and companies wrote checks of $1 million or more; another two dozen gave between $500,000 and $1 million.

The Bush campaign also revised the definition of a small donor, reporting 3,300 checks of $25,000 or less. Most campaigns identify a small donor as giving less than $200.

Among the billionaires who wrote million-dollar checks to the Bush-aligned committee: hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, and Texas oil tycoon Trevor Rees-Jones. His wife, Jan Rees-Jones, also gave $1 million.

The super PAC had asked donors not to give more than $1 million but abandoned that cap on the day Mr. Bush formally entered the primary and could no longer solicit unlimited contributions.

At the same time, Hillary Clinton's PACs received some big cash from the one percent as well, including George Soros (of course):

Priorities USA Action, the primary super PAC backing Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, raised $15.6 million in the first half of the year from 33 donors, a filing with the Federal Election Commission on Friday showed.

The super PAC, run by political strategist Guy Cecil, received eight checks for $1 million, all of which came in during the final week of June; the last day for super PACs to report donations was June 30. Mr. Cecil noted earlier this month that $12.5 million of the super PAC’s haul came in the month of June, following a shakeup that included replacing Buffy Wicks, a veteran field organizer for President Barack Obama, with Mr. Cecil, a who worked for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign and is seen by donors as closer to the Clinton campaign.

Among the top donors to the super PAC were billionaires financier Donald Sussman, global investor George Soros and media magnate Haim Saban. Mr. Soros gave $1 million to Priorities and another $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, a second super PAC backing Mrs. Clinton. That super PAC has not yet filed its disclosure with the FEC, but said earlier this month it had raised $7.7 million. That brings the total super PAC haul for Mrs. Clinton to $24 million.

The PACs for New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieMike Huckabee, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also got some help from the one percent.

Obviously, there will be some people who will be unnerved by this influx of money into politics since Citizens United. Yet, we should all be reminded that a) the rich have First Amendment rights too (as do corporations) b) Americans spend more on yogurt than they do trying to invest in politicians that they entrust with keeping their best interests protected in Washington (or so they say on the campaign trail).

Before the 2010 elections, George Will wrote:

Total spending, by all parties, campaigns and issue-advocacy groups, concerning every office from county clerks to U.S. senators, may reach a record $4.2 billion in this two-year cycle. That is about what Americans spend in one year on yogurt but less than they spend on candy in two Halloween seasons. Procter & Gamble spent $8.6 billion on advertising in its most recent fiscal year.

So, let’s not get crazy about campaign finance just yet. This was as expected, especially with Bush’s campaign haul. The war chests are filling up, some more than others. Yet, at the end of the day, the debate that we should be having is not the wealthy buying elections, but whether a confederation of super PACs or a national party’s committee is more efficient at winning elections. Which is king: soft or hard money?

Surely, the seasoned campaign operatives know the answer to this question. 

Last Note: Hillary's Foundation donors (shocker!) also give big bucks to her campaign:

The Clinton Foundation saw a significant increase in donations this year from fundraisers who also have volunteered to steer at least $100,000 each to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, a review of a list of the donors made public Thursday shows.

At least 14 of the fundraisers, called Hillblazers, donated to the foundation in the first half of 2015 and have cumulatively given between $22 million and $55 million since the organization started in 1999, according to a comparison of the foundation and campaign disclosures. At the end of 2014, those 14 fundraisers had given between $16 million and $38 million. Eight of these donors stepped up their foundation donations enough to be pushed into a higher bracket in the first six months.

The uptick came as the Clintons sought to fund a $250 million endowment for the foundation before she entered the Democratic primary. If she wins the presidency, Mrs. Clinton and potentially her husband would have to suspend fundraising while she is in office. Mrs. Clinton already has quit doing so during the campaign.

Defund Planned Parenthood Bill Defeated in Senate

Despite the grisly revelations of the past few weeks, which caught Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the sale of fetal body parts as if they were goods and services, the Senate today voted to keep Planned Parenthood funding "intact" (here's some context behind that word.)

The Democrats who voted against the measure are of course recycling an old argument:

Yet, as Katie explained this morning, the defund bill would not just halt funding for Planned Parenthood - it would redirect the money to other community clinics that offer important health services and don't provide abortions.

Today's outcome was expected. Sixty votes is a challenging threshold, especially with only 54 Republican senators. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) received justified criticism from the pro-life movement when he rejected the opportunity to include the legislation on last week's highway funding bill as an amendment, which had a better chance of passing.

Despite the failed bill, there's no doubt that the outrage against Planned Parenthood is growing and the vote was an important symbol in the fight to expose the abortion giant's agenda. Americans are becoming increasingly aware that Planned Parenthood is not exactly the "women's health" organization it claims to be and their representatives' strange and unconvincing defenses are only further damaging their reputation. 

Update: As least one brave Democrat voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Update II: The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List has released a statement following the vote, noting the positive pro-life trend in the Senate, despite the legislation's abrupt halt.

“When the Senate last voted to defund Planned Parenthood, only 42 voted for it. Since that 2011 effort, things have only gotten worse for the nation’s largest abortion provider. The Center for Medical Progress has released less than half of its damning evidence of brutality and callousness at Planned Parenthood and, as more videos are made public, outrage will surely grow,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Update III: The final tally was 53-46.

Updated IV: Make that two brave Democrats. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana also voted pro-life.

Monmouth Poll: 52 Percent View Trump Favorably

Donald Trump is, of course, the GOP frontrunner. This explains why, like other polls before it, a brand new Monmouth University survey shows him in first place, ahead of Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), Scott Walker (R-WI), and everyone else. (Only these two candidates, by the way, registered double-digit support with Trump in the race). And while many of us expect The Donald’s reign of relevance to end or implode eventually, there’s no denying the fact he's sittin' pretty heading into Thursday night’s primetime debate:


Republicans worried about Trump’s rise -- and sustained popularity -- often cite the fact that it’s early in the primary season, and therefore his days in contention are numbered. That is to say, while poll after poll clearly shows him winning handily, his favorability ratings are too low for him to be taken seriously over the long run. And yet, this poll completely flips that explanation on its head. It appears Republican primary voters are, in fact, warming up to him:

The Monmouth University Poll also found that GOP voter opinion of Donald Trump continues to improve. It now stands at 52% favorable to 35% unfavorable. It was 40% favorable to 41% unfavorable three weeks ago. Before he announced in June, it stood at a significantly negative 20% favorable to 55% unfavorable.

Impressive. A 12-point boost in popularity over such a short period of time is no small feat -- and a major departure from what previous polls have found. Two weeks ago, for instance, a Suffolk University/USA Today survey discovered that 61 percent of respondents viewed Donald Trump unfavorably. So, unless this poll is an outlier, slowly but surely Republicans are beginning to view Mr. Trump less harshly than they once did. Simply stated, they appear to be coming 'round.

Good News: Boehner Probably Won’t Golf With Obama Again

Speaker of the House John Boehner probably won’t ever golf with President Obama in the foreseeable future because some folks get “bent out of shape” about it, according to the Hill. Last week, Speaker Boehner did an interview on the Golf Channel where he detailed his golfing outings with the president. Both Boehner and Obama like the sport to relieve stress.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he is unlikely to hit the golf links any time soon with President Obama because people get “bent out of shape."

“The President has suggested, ‘Hey, do you think it is too much trouble to play golf again?’ ” he said in excerpts of an interview on the Golf Channel airing Monday.

“I have to look at him and say, ‘Yes, because everybody gets bent out of shape worried about what we are up to, when all we are really going to do is just play golf.’ ”

The avid golfer dished on his 2011 round of golf with Obama, when the two defeated Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), who is now running for the GOP presidential nomination.

Obama invited the speaker to golf with himself and the vice president, giving Boehner the choice to pick a fourth. When he brought along Kasich, Obama decided to split up the Ohioans.

“The President and I whipped up on them pretty good and they paid up,” he said.

“As soon as we got in the cart I said, Mr. President, just remember something, this is just golf.”

At the same time, the president has been criticized for the amount of time he’s been on the fairway, especially after he made his way back onto the course once he delivered his remarks condemning ISIS for murdering American journalist James Foley while vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard last summer.

Aurora Shooting Trial Allows Death Penalty as Possible Punishment

The jury in James Holmes’ trial took a step toward giving him the death penalty today, determining that none of the factors in Holmes’ personal life outweighed the evil of his crimes. Two weeks ago, the jury convicted him on all 24 counts of first-degree murder, as well as 141 other counts.

This moves the sentencing trial into its third stage, during which time family members will be able to speak directly to Holmes and tell them how the attack has affected their lives. At the end of that stage, each of the jury members will decide whether to give Holmes the death penalty. They must vote unanimously in order to give him the death penalty.

The judge read through each count of first-degree murder today, reading the question: "Does the jury unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt that the mitigating factors that exist do not outweigh the aggravating factors proven by the prosecution in phase one of the sentencing hearing?"

Each question preceded the same answer: "Yes."

NYT: Damn These Republicans For Dishonoring Their Commander-in-Chief on the Iran Deal


The tiresome, partisan New York Times editorial board is terribly unhappy with Republicans, which means it's a day ending in 'y.'  This time, they're upset over vigorous, substantive opposition to the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran, which they cast as borderline treasonous:

The exaggerations and half-truths that some Republicans are using to derail President Obama‘s important and necessary nuclear deal with Iran are beyond ugly. Invoking the Holocaust, Mike Huckabee, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has accused Mr. Obama of marching Israelis “to the door of the oven.” Tom Cotton, a senator from Arkansas, has compared Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped negotiate the deal, to Pontius Pilate. What should be a thoughtful debate has been turned into a vicious battle against Mr. Obama, involving not just the Republicans but Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The unseemly spectacle of lawmakers siding with a foreign leader against their own commander in chief has widened an already dangerous breach between two old allies. Policy considerations aside, what is most striking about the demagoguery is how ahistorical, if not downright hypocritical, it is. Negotiating with adversaries to advance a more stable world has long been a necessity, and Republican presidents have been among its most eager practitioners.

Because the Times' editors and Democratic lawmakers were famously loyal to the previous Commander-in-Chief, right?  Benjamin Netanyahu believes the accord profoundly endangers his country's safety; many Republicans agree, and have also concluded that the deal imperils the United States.  President Obama likes to tout other foreign leaders' support for the agreement, even pressing British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby the Senate on its behalf.  Is this an "unseemly spectacle," too?  An American politician siding with foreign leaders over his own Congress?  It's a nonsense argument, designed to re-imagine principled opposition on a crucial issue as illegitimate and unpatriotic nihilism.  End of Discussion.  It's also amusing that the Times editorial explicitly sets aside "policy considerations," which are the entire basis for most opponents' critiques, in order to showcase the brilliant insight that past Republican presidents have engaged in diplomacy with US adversaries.  They present this as a "gotcha."  It's nothing of the sort.  Republicans aren't opposed to fruitful and productive negotiations that advance American interests and make the world safer and more stable.  They're opposed to lopsided agreements that give away the store to fanatical terrorist regimes while actively destabilizing the world.  The editorial also ignores the substantial cohort of Democrats who are assailing the accord as weak and unacceptable.  The Times would like its readers to believe that opposition to the deal is just another partisan project from wild-eyed know-nothing Republicans.  In fact, it's serious, informed and bipartisan.

The Times concludes that the "preponderance of responsible opinion" supports the agreement as "the best way to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon."  This assertion ignores the bipartisan group of foreign policy heavyweights -- including multiple former Obama administration officials -- who've laid out 'red line' Western demands that must never be conceded to Iran.  The White House crossed every one of them.  It ignores nuclear experts who've spoken out against inspections loopholes, and who've debunked Obama's central defense of the deal.  And it ignores the overriding point, effectively admitted by the president himself, that at best, this agreement delays Iran's nuclearization by a number of years.  It does not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; it virtually guarantees it, while bestowing the West's blessing on Iran's rogue program, breathing life into the regime's economy, funding their international terrorism, and easing restrictions on other illicit endeavors.  The administration has given Iran almost everything it could have dreamed of, secured precious little in return, and moved its own goalposts dramatically.  Republicans are treacherous for noticing, it seems.  One wonders what the Times editors think of Iran's cheating, Obama's previous false assurances --  or this:

Amano's trip comes amid Iranian accusations that Washington is violating the deal by suggesting that that the enhanced IAEA surveillance would bring the benefit of making any potential attack on Tehran's atomic program more potent. Reza Najafi, the IAEA's chief Iranian delegate, quoted White House spokesman Josh Earnest as saying that would result in more pinpointed U.S. or Israeli military action against Iran — if needed — "because we'd been spending the intervening number of years gathering significantly more detail about Iran's nuclear program."

When in doubt, blame the Israelis. The Times editors can't be pleased with these numbers, which we'll explore in further detail later:


"Traitors" everywhere.