CPAC Boos Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, Cheer Walker

CPAC Interview: Carly Fiorina Talks 2016

I had the opportunity to sit down with former Hewlett-Packard CEO, American Conservative Union Foundation Chairwoman and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina at CPAC Thursday afternoon. We discussed Fiorina's rise to CEO, her pursuit of the American dream, her plans to run for the White House, how to beat Hillary Clinton and more. 

Photo credit: Ed Morrissey Filming: Sarah Jean Seman.

Perry Shames Washington on Immigration: They Talk and People Die

"At no time has the world been more dangerous," former Texas Governor Rick Perry said not long after he took the stage at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Perry, who is rumored to run for president next year, had some bold words for the Obama administration and a Congress that has done little to secure not only our foreign security, but our own borders.

Perry, who served as Texas governor for 14 years, provided unwelcome news for the CPAC audience regarding America's shaky standing in the world, thanks to our weak leadership in Washington.

"We have entered a time of testing...we are failing," he said. The president, he continued, bows to political correctness and offers grave miscalculations in regards to the scope of our enemies.

"His incompetence in Iraq and Syria have allowed the rise of ISIS."

Perry said it is time for the American people to hear the truth, bluntly telling the CPAC crowd that ISIS wants an apocalypse and that we are not responding as we should.

"We didn't start this war, nor did we choose it," he said. "But we will have the will to finish it."

Just as dangerous, is how our enemies view us.

This Russian president, he said, has watched President Obama neglect to enforce his own red lines. It was conditions like those that allowed Putin to boldly enter Ukraine.


"Here's the simple truth: Our allies doubt us, and our adversaries are all too willing to test us."

No one, he added, should be surprised that dictators defy us. Why?

"Our president won't even defend the line that separates our border from Mexico," said Perry.

For America to be safer, our border must be secure, he declared. Washington is dangerously behind on this process. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are showing up on the border, he said, many of those being unaccompanied minors.

"They talk and people literally die," he said. "I had to make a decision on how to deal with that - the country was being impacted."

Perry met with President Obama to speak about the need to secure to border, but his warnings seemed to fall on deaf ears: "It became abundantly clear to me he was not going to address this issue."

That's when Texas took matters into its own hands. The governor increased law enforcement presence on the border, including deploying the National Guard. Since then, Texas has had a 74 percent decrease in apprehensions.


In other words, give Texas the resources, and it can secure the border.

Perry also touched on the growing national debt and uncertainty of millennials' future with the overbearing amount of student loans, yet ended with a positive message.

"I've never been more certain that America's best days remain in front of us," he said, with ingenuity and idealism of the American people being "too durable to be confused by this administration."


"We had a Great Depression - we even survived Jimmy Carter," he said. "We will survive the Obama years too."

Congress Chooses Conservative To Head Congressional Budget Office

House and Senate Budget Committee Chairmen Tom Price (R-GA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) announced today that Mercatus Center Senior Fellow Keith Hall will be the next director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Hall, who was appointed to be commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics by President Bush, will replace the current director Doug Elmendorf, who served at the left-leaning Brookings Institution before coming to CBO.

Hall ran the BLS from 2008 through 2012 and served as Chief Economist on President Bush's White House Council of Economic Advisors before that.

While at Mercatus, Hall authored numerous papers on the United States labor market including a 2013 working paper titled, "The Employment Costs of Regulation." "[T]here is evidence that high levels of regulation can affect the economy dynamically and at the macro level," Hall wrote. "With respect to labor markets, this means that regulations can affect job creation, wage growth, and workforce skill mismatching with available jobs."

As the official scorekeeper of legislative proposals, the CBO is a key Washington institution whose cost estimates have a significant impact on how laws are drafted.

“[Dr. Hall] has dedicated his career to managing teams focused on strengthening the economy by providing policy makers and the public with superior economic analysis and information," Enzi said in a statement. "I thank Mr. Elmendorf for his service and look forward to working with Dr. Hall as Congress begins the difficult task of addressing our nation’s chronic overspending, which threatens America’s future.”

Rubio at CPAC: "I Have a Debt to America"

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is reportedly jumping on the 2016 bandwagon. Time and again, however, he has said that he will not run for the presidency and re-election -- he will pick one or the other -- and thus unsurprisingly recommitted to that pledge at CPAC on Friday. Nevertheless, his speech struck all the familiar chords, blending his own personal story with his deep and abiding love for a country that saved his parents from the scourge of communism.

“The question before us in November of 2016 is what kind of country are we going to be,” he began. “For over two centuries, we’ve been an exceptional country. A place founded on the belief that the every man, woman, and child is born with a God-given right to life and liberty and to pursue happiness. Sometimes you wouldn’t know we’re an exceptional nation by listening to the Left. They describe us as a people divided on lines of gender and ethnicity and race and class. Sometimes you wouldn’t know we’re an exceptional nation by listening to the president, who has described our nation as sometimes being arrogant or dictating terms to others.”

“But Americans know we’re exceptional,” he continued. “And you know who else knows we’re exceptional? The world does. After all, when was the last time you heard of a boatload of American refugees arriving on the shores of another country?”

And yet there is, he went on to say, a prevailing sense among Americans that the country has totally lost its way.

“The bad news is that today our nation is on the road to decline,” he plainly stated. “[But] here’s the good news: We are one election away from triggering another American century.”

And that American century, he continued, is something he feels both obligated and determined to secure.

“I have a debt to America that I will never be able to repay,” he said. “For me America isn’t just a country, for me it’s a place that literally changed the history of my family.”

“This is the America that you and I are now called to leave behind,” he continued. “Let us now move forward to cease our destiny [as] the single greatest nation man has ever known.”

Boehner's DHS Gambit

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will try to pass a three week extension for Department of Homeland Security funding Friday, claiming the extra time will be needed to conference the House-passed amnesty defunding bill with a Senate bill that is expected to pass later today.

DHS funding is set to expire at midnight Friday and the Senate is scheduled to act first at 10 AM by voting for cloture on the House-passed DHS funding bill.

At that point the Senate would need to first pass an amendment funding Obama's amnesty (that would need 50 votes) and then another vote on final passage (another 50 vote threshold).

At that point the ball would be in Boehner's court.

As of Thursday night, Boehner's new plan is to pass a three week extension of current DHS funding and then request a conference committee with the Senate on the two long-term DHS funding bills.

If the Senate agreed to go to conference, Senate Democrats would then not be able to stop the conference-approved DHS bill from being debated and they would not be able to offer amendments. But they would be able to filibuster final passage.

Boehner will need to convince most conservatives that his new plan is sincere and has a real chance of success since Democrats are planning to vote en masse against the short-term extension. Boehner also will reportedly tell members that three more weeks will allow members to find out if the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold Judge Andrew Hanen's injunction preventing Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program from going forward.

However, there is no guarantee the 5th Circuit will rule in that timeframe.

The House is not scheduled to vote on Boehner's new short-term DHS funding plan till later today.

Attendees Pack The Ballroom For Gov. Walker’s Address At CPAC

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, addressed a packed room at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. He entered the Potomac Ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention relaxed, no jacket on, and delivered a red meat address to the soldiers of the Republican base.

The governor was adamant that freedom and prosperity isn’t conjured from the machinations of big government, but from the people who control and decide their own destinies. Walker stressed that success should be measured by how many people are no longer dependent on the government

He also slammed Obama for drawing lines in the sand and not taking action, for his failure in Yemen, and his inability to recognize the threat of ISIS. The governor also criticized the administration for their lack of respect for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We need a leader who will stand with Israel,” he told the crowd.

Walker asserted that America should stand for what’s right and wrong. That declaration segued into an anecdote about how he and his prayed before entering the Wisconsin gubernatorial race in 2010. They decided to jump into the political endeavor that would make him a national star amongst the right for a simple reason: he and his wife, Tonette, were worried about their sons’ future.

“As parents, that was unacceptable,” he said.

The governor mentioned how he became public enemy number one amongst Washington’s entrenched interests and that of the political left. Nevertheless, he emerged victorious, winning the 2010 gubernatorial, the 2012 recall attempt, and his 2014 re-election bid. He proudly said, “We showed we could fight and win for the hard-working taxpayers.”

On other issues, like education, Walker cited that Wisconsin’s graduation rates are up, as are their students’ reading scores. With the budget, Walker said, “after four years, we’ve reduced the burden on hard-working taxpayers by $2 billion.”

On the life issues, Walker prided in his effort to push through pro-life legislation and defund Planned Parenthood. Regarding the Second Amendment, he said, “we enacted concealed carry and passed Castle Doctrine.”

Oh, and to combat voter fraud, Walker mentioned, “You need a photo ID to vote in the state of Wisconsin.”

He also mentioned that the Republican-controlled legislature is poised to make Wisconsin the 25th right to work state in the country.

In closing, he said that we don’t go back in time to rejuvenate the American spirit. We cannot relive or replicate the conditions that spurred the birth of the ideals our society is built upon. That’s impossible. Instead, Walker said that we must use the principles of our Founding Fathers as a guide to find the way forward to a brighter, more prosperous future.

It was a "red meat" address, which the audience thoroughly enjoyed.

Walker was heckled during his speech, albeit for a quick second, before he, along with the rest of attendees, pretty much shut it down.

IRS Being Investigated For Criminal Misconduct Surrounding Lois Lerner's 'Missing' Emails

Last night Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Timothy Camus updated the House Oversight Committee on the status of Lois Lerner's "missing" emails surrounding the IRS targeting of conservatives.

In an exchange with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Camus revealed there is "potential criminal activity" involved in the disappearance and hiding of emails belonging to IRS officials involved in the targeting of conservatives between 2010 and 2012.

“There is potential criminal activity," Camus said.

Not surprisingly, in order to stonewall the congressional investigation into the targeting of conservative groups, IRS officials never asked IT professionals to look into gathering back-up tapes or recovering emails requested by Congress.

Despite IRS Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly saying under oath in previous hearings that Lerner's emails could not be recovered, Camus and investigators have been successful in recovering nearly 33,000 emails relevant to the IRS investigation.

"To date we have found 32,774 unique e-mails that were backed up from Lois Lerner's e-mail box. We are in the process of comparing these e-mails to what the IRS has already produced to Congress to determine if we did in fact recover any new emails. We are also in the process of having the e-mail server hard drives analyzed if there are any readable e-mails that can be recovered from these hard drives. And finally, we are continuing to determine if there are any other sources that may contain Lois Lerner's e-mails," Camus said during testimony.


“The IRS was apparently given instruction to do whatever necessary to silence those who spoke out against the Obama Administration. It became a West Wing weapon of choice. As the nation’s only pro-liberty election integrity organization, True the Vote was marked for takedown by the IRS early in 2010, along with hundreds of other organizations that spoke openly about government corruption. It took a long time, too long, for the pieces to be put together, but Americans are beginning to understand that the politics of ‘hope and change’ has an enforcement arm that operates like an organized crime syndicate. The time for choosing is now,” True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht, who was targeted by the IRS and other government agencies, said in a statement about the new revelations. “Our elected officials need to stop playing politics and use the powers we’ve entrusted to them to restore the rule of law in Washington. Stop handing out bonuses and start sending law-breaking bureaucrats to jail. If Congress doesn’t have conviction enough to get the job done, then just turn out the lights, get off the payroll, go home, and get out of the way. Enough is enough. The American people will not be silenced.” 

The investigation into the IRS by Congress and the Inspectors General is ongoing.

Chicago Police Allegedly Have A Domestic 'Black Site'

It sounds like a story you would hear from a former Soviet state. The Chicago Police Department has reportedly been holding suspects at an off-the-grid location called Homan Square. Here, Americans, some as young as 15, have been denied counsel, held anywhere from 12-24 hours, and subject to beatings, according to the Guardian.

For those sent to Horman, they aren’t booked. Their records aren’t even entered in the public databases. This location is said to have been operational for years, since the late 1990s. One person is said to have died in one of Horman’s “interview rooms.” The article also discussed the arrest of Brian Jacob Church, who was arrested by Chicago police in 2012 on terrorism charges. Church is part of the “NATO Three,” who were arrested after police infiltrated their protest of the organization’s Chicago summit. The Guardian reported that Church was subject to an interrogation without being read his Miranda rights and detained for about 17 hours:

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.

Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

A former Chicago police superintendent and a more recently retired detective, both of whom have been inside Homan Square in the last few years in a post-police capacity, said the police department did not operate out of the warehouse until the late 1990s.

Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed.

In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody,” Church told the Guardian, in contradiction of a police guidance on permitting phone calls and legal counsel to arrestees.

Church’s left wrist was cuffed to a bar behind a bench in windowless cinderblock cell, with his ankles cuffed together. He remained in those restraints for about 17 hours.

After serving two and a half years in prison, Church is currently on parole after he and his co-defendants were found not guilty in 2014 of terrorism-related offenses but guilty of lesser charges of possessing an incendiary device and the misdemeanor of “mob action”.

The access that Nato Three attorneys received to Homan Square was an exception to the rule, even if Jacob Church’s experience there was not.

Some were not so lucky. On February 2, 2013, John Hubbard was taken to Homan Square, where he died due to heroin intoxication in one of the interrogation rooms.

Regardless of the crimes, in this country, even the worst of humanity deserves a fair trial, access to counsel, and other rights associated with the due process of law. Of course, we’re all for law and order and fighting terrorism, but having what appears to be a black site on American soil poses a serious constitutional question, especially when this facility allegedly neglects to book their suspects and add their information into the database. We should be wary of institutions that engage in practices that prevent accountability under the law. To safeguard the Constitution, even the lowest of the low need their day in court–at the very minimum.

TSA Worried About 'Greatest Potential Incendiary Threat to Aviation'

A new day, a new security threat. 

According to an FBI report, the use of Thermite on an aircraft is the “greatest potential incendiary threat to aviation.” Worse yet, the Transportation Security Administration said it would be extremely hard to detect during security screenings and once ignited, there’s no way to extinguish it using conventional methods without making the reaction worse.

The Intercept, which obtained the classified documents, has the details:

Thermite — a mixture of rust and aluminum powder — could be used against a commercial aircraft, TSA warned in a Dec. 2014 document, marked secret[PDF here]. “The ignition of a thermite-based incendiary device on an aircraft at altitude could result in catastrophic damage and the death of every person onboard,” the advisory said.

TSA said it is unlikely to spot an easy-to-assemble thermite-based incendiary device during security screening procedures, and the use of currently available extinguishers carried on aircrafts would create a violent reaction. The TSA warning is based on FBI testing done in 2011, and a subsequent report.

A thermite device, though difficult to ignite, would “produce toxic gasses, which can act as nerve poison, as well as a thick black smoke that will significantly inhibit any potential for in-flight safety officers to address the burn.”

TSA warned federal air marshals not to use customary methods of extinguishing fires — the water or halon fire extinguishers currently found on most aircraft — which would make the reaction worse, creating toxic fumes. Instead, air marshals are told to “recognize a thermite ignition” — but TSA has provided no training or guidance on how to do so, according to multiple sources familiar with the issue.

TSA officers who spoke with The Intercept expressed frustrations over the security reports because they’ve been given no follow-up instructions or training on what to do if they are presented with such a threat onboard.

“We’re supposed to brief our [federal air marshals] to identify a thermite ignition — but they tell us nothing,” one TSA official told The Intercept. “So our guys are Googling, ‘What does thermite look like? How do you extinguish thermite fires?’ This is not at all helpful.”

Other aviation officials who spoke with the news site, also anonymously because they are not authorized to speak to the press, said much the same: “They say to identify something we don’t know how to identify and say there is nothing we can do,” a federal air marshal told The Intercept. “So basically, we hope it’s placed somewhere it does minimal damage, but basically we’re [screwed].”

OK, so we may all be “screwed” if terrorists can get this stuff past security and onto the plane, but explosives experts are saying the operative word is “if.”

Jimmie Oxley, a professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, and an expert in explosives and explosives detection, said thermite — though a theoretical threat — seemed an unlikely candidate to slip through security, particularly since the would-be terrorist would also have to carry an igniter. “You’ve got to get a pound of something that is a really thick mass through security without anyone noticing,” she said. “I find that hard to believe.”

The problem is one of practicalities, said Oxley, who has worked with the FBI and other federal agencies on explosives testing, but was not aware of the specific TSA or FBI reports on thermite obtained by The Intercept. If the hope were to burn a hole through the aircraft, then the thermite would have to be placed on the floor, and then there’s still no guarantee it would take down the aircraft.

Setting off thermite is also impractical, according to Oxley. “Somebody has to give you time to play on the plane,” she said. “Like with the shoe bomber, people do notice if you’re doing something weird in this day and age.”

The FBI did point out in its report, however, that just because the agency has presented information about the threat doesn’t mean terrorists are necessarily interested in it. It turns out they may be more interested in “other types of incendiary materials.”

Great.

Palin: "This Bureaucracy Is Killing Our Vets"

It's always a booming full house when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin takes the CPAC stage. This year, however, the applause was saved for her son Track and his fellow soldiers and veterans who have bravely served our country.

When the country's most famous Mama Grizzly spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday afternoon, she used her remarks to honor our nation's finest.

As a military mom, Palin knows a thing or two about the sacrifices our young men and women make every day fighting for our freedom overseas. Unfortunately, she somberly noted, our veterans face a whole new set of challenges when they return home. Be it PTSD, unemployment, or staggering divorce and suicide rates, our soldiers are in danger just as much off the battlefield as they were in combat. You only have to consider this one statistic Palin provided to understand the threats they face:

"The suicide rate among our best and our brightest is 23 a day. In these four days, 92 vets will have taken their lives."

Palin, however, knows our vets are not "charity causes," as Dakota Meyer, a former Marine Corps corporal who introduced her, noted. She knows first hand how those first deployments feel - that moment when he goes from a "son" to a "sir," as she put it.

After honoring her son and the rest of our nation's soldiers, Palin spent time shaming our bureaucrats.

"They're promised no one is left behind on battlefield...We're here to collect on the promises made. This bureaucracy is killing our vets."

With revelations that the Veterans Administration put our veterans on secret waiting lists and even dared to withhold benefits from them, that statement may be truer than we may like to believe.

As to why these scandals only recently broke, Palin knows the answer.

"The reason you don't hear about these scandals, is because our vets don't complain."

The former governor offered a few solutions as to how America could better serve our returning soldiers.

1. Offer vets treatment outside of the VA. Vets deserve the same freedom as their fellow Americans when it comes to treatment. What's more, Palin said, we must ensure that illegal immigrants don't jump in front. "We demand that the vets are first in line."

2. Let them use skills they learned in the military. She called this "common sense."

3. Secure their well earned benefits. Almost unbelievably, Congress voted to cut vets retirement benefits last year. They only relented, Palin recalled, when the American people spoke up. Notably, she added, these same legislators didn't vote to cut their own.

"We must provide our vets the political will to win."

Palin couldn't speak about our vets and national security without calling attention to the very real threat of the Islamic caliphate that our president continues to dangerously minimalize. Because terrorism is "on the march" all over the world, there is but one solution, Palin said.

"The only thing standing between us and savages, is the red, white and blue - the United States military."

Palin ended her speech by asking veterans in the crowd to stand so the audience could salute them, proclaiming, "We love you!"

Our soldiers are our suited protectors. In summary, I have to echo Mrs. Palin: "Our vets deserve better."

Cruz: "The Next 20 Months Are Going to Be Very Dangerous"

Prior to his speech at CPAC Thursday afternoon, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) didn’t mince words. He bluntly told reporters how nervous he is about the president’s final 20 months in office.

“The next 20 months are going to be very dangerous,” he said. “They are going to be dangerous at home. President Obama has reacted to this last election in a way that’s unprecedented. You know, prior presidents have been repudiated [and] they’ve reacted with contrition. [P]resident Obama, instead, reacted with anger and defiance.”

“I believe the next 20 months we are going to see a degree of lawlessness that will exceed anything we’ve seen in the previous six years,” he continued. “I think we’re going to see executive order after executive order. I think we’re going to see the abuse of regulations in a way that crushes small businesses, destroys jobs. I think we are going to see the continued weaponization of the IRS in the federal government, and it is going to be dangerous.”

He expressed hope, however, that Congressional Republicans will fulfill their constitutional duties and, as he put it, “rein in that abuse of power and provide meaningful oversight.” But unfortunately, he said, there are other concerns to be worried about as well.

“And I’ll tell you as dangerous as it’s going to be at home, it’s going to be even more dangerous aboard,” he emphasized. “Every bad actor on the face of the globe, from Putin to Khomeini in Iran to ISIS, has every incentive possible to do as much damage as they can in [the next] 20 months."

Why?

Because, he argued, "the tyrants of the world believe there is no credible threat or deterrent from this president.”

Rep. Mia Love: Government Has Made it Impossible for Legal Immigrants to Start Their Own Lives

Rep. Mia Love's (R-Utah) parents came to America from Haiti with $10 in their pocket in the 1970s. After holding down several jobs, they eventually earned their own way to success. Their daughter, however, said that could probably not happen today, thanks to an overbearing federal government. Love shared her personal story with attendees today at the Conservative Political Action Conference to demonstrate how important it is to take advantage of opportunities just like her parents did and work to achieve the American Dream on their own individual efforts, before it's threatened by Washington.

Love has an impressive resume. She is the first black female Republican elected to Congress, as well as the first black Republican ever elected from Utah. More impressively, she did it without relying on the nanny state. Her own personal story is why she rejects the notion that government should run our lives.

"Too many in Washington don't trust the American people. They don't want us to have opportunities to rise to the occasion."

Love has a better vision for America.

"I think it's time we need to look within. I think it's time for Washington to trust the American people."

The Utah representative can now say that the same principles that propelled her parents' success have also offered her a way forward.

"Conservative policies work. I've seen them work as a mother, as a mayor, and I use them now as a member of Congress...The American people deserve the opportunity to rise to the occasion."

Speaking of rising, Rep. Love shared a poignant and relevant story about a hot air balloon ride she took last year. As she was getting ready to board the balloon, she asked her son to join. He declined, so her daughter jumped in instead. High in the air, they enjoyed the beauty of Utah's landscape. Then, the weather changed, and the wind took them into the backyard of a neighbor. After witnessing the exciting spectacle, Love's son felt a hint of jealousy.

"Peyton watched the excitement from the ground. He runs over and says, 'I'm ready, it's my turn! But, the opportunity for him to soar and rise to the sky had come and gone. I said, 'remember this experience, remember today...If you do not take opportunities that come today, you'll never know if they'll come back." 

This is especially true, she said, thanks to a ballooning federal government."

"The federal government has made it impossible for people to save. It's difficult for someone to start their own lives - we've got to change that."

Even just 52 days in Congress, Love recognizes how harmful the government's nanny programs can be.

"I see all these programs that are meant to help the poor, hurt those they vow to protect."

Love said that government has its own interests in mind, not those of the American people. Her solutions? We have to trust ourselves and hit government agencies where they hurt.

"Independent people are the ones that give back. Washington can't do that. Washington needs to get smaller so people are bigger...Their job is to keep their job. We have to cut the bloodline to these bureaucracies, which is the funding."

It is this positive belief in America that encouraged Love's consituents to give her a seat in Washinton to try and change the selfish status quo.

"I was elected because of the policies and the principles that belive in American exceptionalism. I believe in this country."

Preserve your right to make your own decisions, she added. 

"Unlike Washington, I believe you're capable of doing that."

I had the opportunity to interview Rep. Love Thursday morning. She expanded on how Big Government has made it extremely difficult for immigrants to legally enter and succeed in America. Below is our full conversation:

Illegal Immigrants Amnestied By Obama Eligible For Up To $9,182 In Cash Benefits Every Year

Illegal immigrants who are given work permits and Social Security Numbers through President Obama's amnesty programs could get up to $9,182 in cash benefits from the federal government every year, according to a new later from the Congressional Research Service.

Requested by an unnamed Senator, the CRS letter details the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit and and Child Tax Credit payments a family could receive from the Internal Revenue Service without paying any income taxes to the federal government.

Families with four children who earned $23,260 would owe zero income taxes in 2014 and would be eligible for a $9,182 check from the government since both the EITC and CTC are refundable benefit programs which pay recipients benefits above and beyond any tax liability they night have.

Families with incomes above $23,260 would still receive EITC and CTC payments from the federal government, but those payments would decrease as the families income rose.

Illegal immigrants who filed tax returns using Taxpayer Identification Numbers from the IRS have been receiving billions in CTC payments from the federal government for years. Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program would make it easier for millions more illegal immigrants to receive tax benefits by giving the SSNs.

With a SSN, illegal immigrants become eligible for both CTC and EITC payments. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that if Obama's executive amnesties are kept for the next ten years, illegal immigrants will receive more than $20 billion in EITC patients over that time.

According to the CBO, under Obama's amnesty programs, illegal immigrants would also get $3 billion in health care benefits, $2 billion in Supplemental Security Income, and $1.6 billion in food stamps.

When Obama first introduced his DAPA program to the American people, he claimed it would not "offer the same benefits that citizens receive."

These official CRS and CBO letters directly contradict that statement.

Phyllis Schlafly Honored at Annual Weyrich Awards

Marking the 50th Anniversary of her book, A Choice, Not an Echo, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum received the Paul Weyrich Award for her life of service to the conservative movement on Wednesday evening at the Annual Weyrich Awards Dinner.

“Paul Weyrich was a tremendous figure in the early conservative movement, and I am proud to have called him my friend,” Schlafly said in a statement. “It is truly an honor to receive an award that bears his name and I am thrilled that the dinner has chosen to highlight my updated A Choice, Not An Echo for a new generation of conservatives to see. We are facing the very same battles today that Paul and I faced in the last 50 years.”

Numerous members of Congress and conservative VIPs attended the dinner, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and former Hewlett-Packard CEO and potential 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

During dinner, guests viewed videos featuring tribute to Schlafly by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, among others.

Schlafly first self-published A Choice, Not An Echo in 1964. The book exposes Republican “kingmakers” – who picked Republican candidates and drove them to victory by funding media and staff support, feining public acclaim. More than 3.5 million copies of the book have been sold.

“She fought battles most lacked the courage to fight, and time and again she won," Dr. Ben Carson wrote in a Washington Times tribute published Wednesday.

Others awarded for their contributions to the conservative movement included FOX News host Megyn Kelly, author and former CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, and Live Action President Lila Rose.

Joni Ernst Honors Military Veterans at CPAC

The lights rose in the dimly lit auditorium at CPAC on Thursday afternoon, and the camera shot turned from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to the audience.

“At this time, if you are able, I would like to ask all of our military men and women to please rise and allow us to show our deep gratitude and appreciation,” Ernst had just said.

Across the room some three dozen veterans rose, and applause broke out.

“As we gather together for the next few days to celebrate our values, our beliefs, and our great freedom, I encourage all of you to take a moment and reach out, and thank a veteran and their family,” Ernst said, “because they help to protect those rights.”

Ernst commended America’s military for defending the “ideals, values, and freedoms that make this the greatest nation in the history of mankind.”

The newly elected senator has served in the military and is married to a retired command sergeant major.

“For more than 20 years, I had the great privilege of serving my state and my country while working alongside some of our finest soldiers,” Ernst explained. “Today I serve as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, and I’ve been privileged to have commanded many levels from company to battalion.”

Ernst served as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her unit was tasked with running convoys throughout Kuwait and Southern Iraq. 

“Because of the fearless men and women like these...I will always remain optimistic about the bright future of America.”

These experiences have made Ernst a fitting addition to the Senate Armed Services Committee, where she now sits.

“We are already working on a wide range of issues, including threats from ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and others who are being radicalized by them. Congress must hold President Obama accountable to ensure that he and his administration finally develop a cohesive and strong strategy to confront these and the many other threats that we face.”

The nation must do everything possible to give veterans the quality care they were promised and deserve, Ernst stated.

FCC Approves 'Net Neutrality' Regulations

If you like what Obamacare has done to health care, you are going to love what the Federal Communications Commission is about to do to the internet.

The FCC voted by a slim 3-2 margin Thursday to pass new "net neutrality" regulations that give the federal government unprecedented control over how the internet is managed.

Just as Obamacare was supposed to make health care cheaper for all Americans, net neutrality is supposed to guarantee "free and open access to the internet," according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Wheeler's new regulations essentially turn internet service providers into public utilities the same way Obamacare turned health insurance companies into heavily regulated wards of the state. And just as Obamacare has expanded paper health coverage to millions of Americans, while making it much harder for most people to actually see a doctor, net neutrality will also bring uncertainty and stagnation to the internet in the name of providing equal access to all. 

Technology entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently explained his opposition to net neutrality regulations to The Washington Post:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. ...  Things have worked well. There is no better platform in the world to start a new business than the Internet in the United States. ... I want there to be fast lanes because there will be applications that need fast lanes. We are just now entering a period where we are seeing new ways to create and use high bitrate applications.

People like to use movies and TV shows as a reference to issues that could occur on the Internet. [But] the real issue is that there will be many applications that we can't foresee today. [And] we need those applications to not just have priority, but guaranteed quality of service.

I want certain medical apps that need the Internet to be able to get the bandwidth they need. There will be apps that doctors will carry on 5G networks that allow them to get live video from accident scenes and provide guidance. There will be machine vision apps that usage huge amounts of bandwidth. I want them to have fast lanes.

You can read the Mercatus Centers' 5 Myths About Net Neutrality here and The Heritage Foundation's 8 Myths About Net Neutrality here.

Also like Obamacare, the FCC is expected to be sued almost immediately, causing uncertainty in the industry for years. Already in 2014, a federal court struck down a 2010 FCC regulation on this same issue.

CPAC 2015: Cruz Builds Case for 2016 Run

On Thursday at CPAC, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke privately to a room full of reporters on a range of issues, most crucially about how grassroots conservatives should choose the next Republican presidential nominee. He suggested that every rumored presidential candidate at CPAC will attempt to assure the base "they're the most conservative person who ever lived." For this reason, he said, grassroots conservatives should be very wary of candidates who are well spoken and inspiring, but aren't necessarily conservatives at heart.

“We’ve been burned before,” he said. “We’ve supported candidates who sound great, got into office, and didn’t stand for principles. What I would suggest to every Republican primary voter – what I’m going to suggest at CPAC this afternoon – is we say to every candidate ‘don’t tell me, show me.’” 

“So if a candidate says they oppose Obamacare, great,” he continued. “Show me where you’ve stood up and fought to stop it. If a candidate says they oppose President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, wonderful, show me where you’ve stood up and fought to stop it.”

And so on and so forth. He argued that candidates should not just be fluent spokesmen and women for conservative principles, but have a real and genuine record to run on. In other words, someone like him.

“If we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney—and let me be clear, those are good and honorable men [who] love their country—[we won't win because] what they did didn’t work. It’s a losing strategy and if we nominate another candidate in that mold, the same voters who stayed home in ’08 and ’12 will stay home in ’16. And Hillary Clinton will be the next president.”

“So how do we win?” he asked. “We need to look for a candidate who can energize and mobilize those millions of conservatives and bring them back."

Cruz never said explicitly that he was running for president. But he implied as much. Speaking without notes for roughly 36 minutes, he built the case for why a candidate like him—who challenges the establishment, appeals to the base, and is a proven conservative—is best qualified to carry the Republican banner in 2016. We'll see.

BREAKING: Senate Committee Approves AG Nominee Loretta Lynch

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to approve Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch. Her full confirmation vote is now headed to the full Senate. During her confirmation hearing earlier this month, Lynch expressed support for President Obama's executive amnesty. She also said she believes illegal immigrants have a right to work in the United States. 

"Senator, I think the right and obligation to work is one that is shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here and certainly if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the work place than not be participating," Lynch said during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

Earlier this week, more than 50 House Republicans sent a letter to the Committee urging a vote to block her confirmation.

Chairman Chuck Grassley voted against Lynch's nomination. 

“As I’ve said many times throughout the nomination process, what we need from our next Attorney General – more than anything else – is independence. The current Attorney General has permitted politics to drive decision making far too often. For that reason, the question for me has been whether Ms. Lynch will make a clean break and take the Department of Justice in a new direction. After thoroughly reviewing Ms. Lynch’s testimony, both before the committee and in written follow-up questions, I remain unconvinced she will lead the department in a different direction," Grassley said in a statement after the vote. “I sincerely hope Ms. Lynch proves me wrong and is willing to stand up to the President and say ‘No’ when the duty of the office demands it. But based on my review of the record, I cannot support the nomination.”

This post has been updated with additional information.

Stacey Dash Signs Book Deal With Regnery Publishing: "There Goes My Social Life" Out This Summer

Hollywood conservative Stacey Dash has signed a deal with Regnery Publishing to release her memoir titled There Goes My Social Life, Regnery announced today.

Best known for her role as Dionne in the 90s teen classic Clueless, Dash “came out” as a conservative when she tweeted in support of then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

“It made me furious that [Obama] was the first black president,” Dash said in a 2013 interview with Sean Hannity. “That should be a wonderful thing, right? He had an opportunity to unite us in such a profound way. And he did the exact opposite. … He took advantage of the disenfranchised, the uninformed. He knew that they would vote for him because of the color of his skin. And he used that. He used that. That to me is immoral. It’s wrong.”

Her tweet in 2012 made waves in Hollywood, and made her the target of extensive criticism both from colleagues in her field and from the left. The memoir will describe Dash’s conversion to conservatism, telling the story of her childhood in the South Bronx through her acting career.

A rare example of a successful conservative celebrity, Dash joined Fox and Friends last year. She regularly speaks on such topics from modern day feminism to second amendment issues, and earlier this week criticized Patricia Arquette’s “equality for women” Oscars speech.

“We need to become more on the offense,” Dash said. “We need to get out there, like the Democrats do. We need to get more celebrities to talk.”

Dash’s memoir will be released in the summer 2015 season.

NSA Chief Contradicts Obama: Terror Threat is Expanding, 2014 Deadliest Year on Record

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in front of a Senate Armed Services Committee today that the terror threat against the United States is expanding and revealed 2014 as the deadliest year on record for attacks around the world. 

"When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled," Clapper said, detailing thousands of attacks throughout the year. 

Just yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry said in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the world is safer than ever from terror. 

"We are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally; less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century," Kerry said. 

Last summer, President Obama echoed that by saying the world is "less violent" than ever.

"[T]he truth of the matter is that for all the challenges we face, all the problems that we have, if you had to be — if you had to choose any moment to be born in human history, not knowing what your position was going to be, who you were going to be, you’d choose this time," Obama said. "The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been. It is better fed then it’s ever been. It is more educated than it’s ever been."

According to an NBC/WSJ survey released in September 2014, 47 percent of Americans now feel less safe than they did before 9/11.

Editor's note: The previous headline of this post listed James Clapper as the DNI chief. He is the NSA chief.

Martin O'Malley Comes In At Zero Percent In Iowa

On the Democratic side, the road to 2016 is quite vanilla. Hillary Clinton is just dominating the field, but it hasn’t dissuaded former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is “very seriously” considering mounting a presidential run of his own. Yet, a new Quinnipiac poll of 619 likely Iowa Caucus goers aren’t showing him any love, according to Politico. He registered a whopping zero percent in the poll. Only three percent of caucus goers said he was their second choice. On the other hand, if Hillary decides not to run in 2016, Vice President Joe Biden’s support jumps to 30 percent:

Among 619 likely caucus-goers surveyed by Quinnipiac University, zero percent responded that they would support the former governor of Maryland in 2016. And only 3 percent say he would be their second choice.

O’Malley drew low numbers from Quinnipiac surveys in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida earlier this month, garnering just 2 percent in the Keystone State and only 1 percent in the other two swing states.

Hillary Clinton leads all other potential opponents by a wide margin, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren coming in second at 19 percent, followed by Vice President Joe Biden at 7 percent, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 5 percent and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb at 2 percent.

If Clinton does not run, 30 percent of caucus-goers responded that they would back Biden.

Still, zero percent; that hurts.

No, Obamacare Isn't Proving Its Critics Wrong


It would be a genuine challenge to identify more obsequious water-carriers for the Obama agenda than the (hilariously inept) propaganda "explanatory journalism" team at Vox. One of their ongoing projects is "Voxplaining" to Americans how Obamacare is, in fact, working quite well -- regardless of what the vulgar right-wing liars might say. Though I spent a great deal of time refuting one such effort last fall, I again feel compelled to rise on behalf of Obamacare opponents to puncture Vox's latest pseudo-factual exercise in ideological self-congratulation.  Last week, blogger Sarah Kliff, who has done some good work as a journalist on the healthcare beat, published a piece crowing that the so-called "Affordable" Care Act has been vindicated by outcomes, effectively exposing its critics as ignorant hacks.  Setting aside problems with her approach -- selecting uniquely hyperbolic predictions to "rebut," and treating shorthand critiques as granular objections, for instance -- let's examine the eight "myths" she purports to refute:

(1) Nobody wants to buy Obamacare:  Of course it's true that many people wanted to, and did, obtain coverage through Obamacare -- both on the exchanges, and through the law's Medicaid expansion.  Millions of those who enrolled through the exchanges, however, had little choice in the matter.  They have been stripped of their existing, preferred coverage, and forced to purchase new, compliant plans.  This represents an enormous violation of one of the law's central pledges.  The fact that these people were legally required to buy Obamacare is not evidence that they wanted to do so.  Kliff also asserts that it's "much worse" to be uninsured than insured. Empirical data shows that this is tragically and counter-intuitively not necessarily true, at least for those who are now covered under Medicaid.

(2) Obamacare will "never" meet its enrollment goal:  The administration's shortfall in sign-ups has, indeed, been a familiar refrain among the law's critics.  Perhaps that's because the Obamacare sign-ups did fail to meet the White House's public projections during the 2013-2014 open enrollment period.  The administration significantly inflated their stats in several ways to hide this fact. (Kliff acknowledges one recently-revealed form of malfeasance, moving the goalposts to celebrate how Obamacare "didn't completely miss" its targets). The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office also downgraded enrollment projections for 2015 by millions of people.  At the behest of Democrats on the Hill, the White House has now added an unscheduled, on-the-fly enrollment period later this year.  Finally on this point, I repeat: It's very strange to boast that millions of people have signed up for insurance due to a law that legally requires them to sign up for insurance.

(3) Obamacare will wreak havoc on the economy: Silly conservatives insisted that Obamacare would hurt the economy and kill jobs, Kliff sighs, eagerly noting that job and economic growth has continued on an upward trajectory since the law passed.  She concedes that the healthcare law does not deserve "all" of the credit for this great news, but look at all these charts showing job growth since 2010!  The US economy's historically slow, plodding recovery has most arrows pointed in the right direction, but a strong case can be made that these positive trends have emerged despite Obamacare's impact -- and have likely been slowed down by it.  CBO's 2014 assessment determined that the ACA will reduce overall full time American employment by the equivalent of 2.5 million workers over the next ten years.  The report stated that employment gains will "be smaller than [they] would have in the absence of the ACA."  CBO cited the law's work disincentives as a "central factor in slowing economic growth," both now and in the future.

(4) The website will never work: In an especially unfortunate bit of timing for Kliff (and the president, who'd just assured his nodding supporters at Vox that Healthcare.gov was working "flawlessly"), her football spike was quickly exposed as...premature.  Within days, a spate of errors and glitches caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of Obamacare consumers.  It was also revealed that bugs in the system are blocking newborn infants from being added to coverage.  Furthermore, H&R block estimates that a majority of Obamacare subsidy recipients will be forced to pay back at least a portion of their taxpayer-funded assistance, due to miscalculations and incorrect income estimates.  These problems are so widespread because Healthcare.gov's so-called "back end," which is supposed to streamline the process of reconciling this type of data, is still incomplete.  It was supposed to be fully built by late 2013.  It's now 2015.  It's also worth pointing out that taxpayers have spent more than $2 billion on the federal website.  For $2 billion, that site really should be working "flawlessly."  It's not.  Still.

(5) Only people who had coverage are signing up:  Yes, some of Obamacare's enrollees were previously uninsured.  But millions of them were not.  There's a debate over how many "new enrollees" touted by the Obama administration already had coverage prior to their plans getting canceled, but every estimate shows it's a substantial percentage.  The White House cannot reasonably celebrate as "new" these millions of coerced enrollments.  Conservative healthcare wonk Avik Roy runs the numbers and concludes that only about five million of the administration's claimed 11.4 million exchange enrollees previously lacked coverage.  Kliff offers an array of estimates on this front, the best of which (by far) comes from...the Obama administration, which she's already acknowledged has been caught cooking the books.

(6) Obamacare would cause a net-loss of insurance: This "prediction" only applied to very limited period of time, in the midst of the infamous 2013-2014 enrollment meltdown.  Most people conceded that eventually, more people would have insurance than would not.  Once again, the law mandates that people get insurance.  Interestingly, two comprehensive government studies released late last year suggested that the ranks of the uninsured had either slightly increased (US Census Bureau), or had been reduced by far fewer people than Obamacare supporters have claimed (Centers for Disease Control).  Even on this slam dunk outcome, Obamacare is not an unvarnished success.

(7) Premiums will skyrocket: Americans were promised, over and over again, that Obamacare would substantially reduce everyone's rates.  Instead, premiums have continued to tick up overall, and they have skyrocketed by double digits for many consumers.  Kliff and others are reduced to arguing that aggregate premium increases are less steep than they have been in the past, as if that proves critics wrong.  Unless the average family is paying less in premiums ($2,500 less per year, in fact), critics are not wrong.  Various healthcare experts also argue that premium hikes have been superficially and temporarily held down by certain price control provisions within the law that will expire in the next few years.  They anticipate an additional bout of major rate increases when that happens.  Another way Obamacare plans have staved off major premium increases is by severely limiting provider and coverage networks, resulting in major frustration and "access shock" for many "beneficiaries."  Finally, the fixation on premiums also distracts from the biggest cost-related challenge facing Obamacare consumers: Unaffordable out of-pocket-costs, including huge deductibles and expensive co-pays.  Among the tens of millions of Americans who remain uninsured under Obamacare, the number one reason they cite for declining to participate in the new law is lack of affordability.

(8) Obamacare just can't work: This is a subjective statement, but it's basically correct.  Far more Americans say the law has directly harmed their families than helped, Obamacare's popularity remains significantly underwater, and the law is objectively not working the way it was marketed.  Not even close.  Kliff cites a study showing that "most" Obamacare consumers have been able to get doctors appointments within two weeks.  Even if we take this study at face value, a large minority of consumers also say they've had to wait weeks or months -- or haven't been able to see a doctor at all.  This is nevertheless presented as evidence of the law "working."  Kliff also admits that there isn't a lot of data yet on Obamacare's promise of cost-curve bending, though many supporters have misleadingly credited the law with the recent slowdown in the rate of over spending increases (which is accurately attributed to the sluggish economy).

Some Obamacare opponents overstated and exaggerated predictions about the law's deleterious effects.  Critics were virtually unanimous, however, in stating that Democrats' hugely expensive and disruptive policy experiment would fail to deliver on many of the core pledges upon which it was sold to the public.  They were unambiguously correct on the whole, and the American people know it.  Far from being "debunked," the anti-Obamacare case has been exonerated by actual outcomes, in remarkable detail and breadth -- and no tendentious Voxplanation can change that reality.

Editor's Note: A version of this item is cross-posted at HotAir.com

Epilepsy Foundation Head Urges Nationwide Medical Marijuana Availability

In 2013, a six-year-old epilepsy patient named Charlotte Figi was featured in a CNN documentary about medical marijuana following a dramatic improvement in her condition after she began ingesting a low-THC strain of marijuana named "Charlotte's Web." Figi's parents turned to medical marijuana (in the form of cannabis oil) as a last resort to treat their daughter's seizure disorder, which was causing about 300 grand mal seizures per week. Figi's seizures were reduced from 1,200 a month to just three in eight months following the beginning of her treatment. Now, the head of Epilepsy Foundation is urging for nationwide availability of the strain, saying that parents of sick children shouldn't be forced to move to Colorado to treat their children.

“There is enough evidence to suggest we should really try and study this,” said father Warren Lammert.

His daughter, Sylvie, had her first seizure at 9 months old.

“She had an implanted medical device, she’s tried the ketogenic diet but we haven’t found anything that will control her seizures,” said Lammert.

Sylvie is now 16 and despite numerous treatments still lives with daily seizures.

“She’s delayed and she’s in a special school,” said Lammert.

Lammert is chairman of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation and has enrolled Sylvie in a clinical trial of CBD at New York University.

“I feel blessed to at least have the hope of this new therapy and I feel other fathers other mothers, other families should have that hope and have that option,” said Lammert.

The Charlotte's Web strain does not result in a "high" due to its low THC content. It is distributed through oil placed under the tongue.

Epilepsy is not an easy illness to treat, and each patient will respond differently to different forms of treatment. While this particular strain of marijuana may not help every patient, it's clear that it is effective at improving the quality of life of at least some epileptics. Why should the government have the power to deny a sick child access to potentially life-changing medication?

Marijuana is currently classified as a "Schedule I" drug, which is the same level as heroin and ecstasy. Being a Schedule I drug means that there is "no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S." This clearly isn't true, as evidenced by the thousands of people who use marijuana to treat everything from anorexia nervosa to glaucoma. If a politician proposed banning a form of chemotherapy in some states, but not others, they'd be laughed out of the room and rightfully called a quack. Politics shouldn't get in the way of helping those who need it, and medications should be available nationwide.

Surprise: ISIS Beheader Jihadi John Came From an Affluent London Neighborhood

Jihadi John, the masked ISIS fighter shown speaking in an English accent before beheading American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley on video last year, came from an affluent London neighborhood according to a new report in the Washington Post.

According to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.

Just last week, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf argued jobs were the way to defeat ISIS fighters.

"We cannot kill our way out of this war," Harf said. "We can help them [Muslim countries] build their economy so they can have job opportunities for these people."

Thousands of fighters are pouring into Iraq and Syria from economically sound countries like Great Britain and even the United States. There are now more British volunteers for ISIS than there are for the British armed forces. It isn't poverty that is causing Muslim men to flock to ISIS, it's a dedication to radical Islamic ideology.