Gowdy To Clinton: Let’s Have That Interview About Your Emails, Madam Secretary

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, has sent a letter to Clinton’s attorney requesting the former secretary of state sit down for a transcribed interview about her private email address and server. Recently, Clinton’s attorney said that they won’t turn over the server, and that it would be a moot point because it had been wiped clean.

Gowdy has said ad nauseum that the committee isn’t interested in any emails relating to Mrs. Clinton’s personal life, or any emails that have nothing to do with Libya or the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012.

“Toward that end and because of the Secretary’s unique arrangement with herself as it relates to public records during and after her tenure as Secretary of State, this Committee is left with no alternative but to request Secretary Clinton appear before this Committee for a transcribed interview to better understand decisions the Secretary made relevant to the creation, maintenance, retention, and ultimately deletion of public records,” wrote Gowdy. “The Committee is willing to schedule the interview at a time convenient for Secretary Clinton, but no later than May 1, 2015.”

We continue to believe Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement with herself is highly unusual, if not unprecedented. The decision to delete these records during the pendency of a congressional investigation only exacerbates our need to better understand what the Secretary did, when she did it, and why she did it. While she has cited a variety of justifications for this arrangement, many questions and details about the arrangement remain unanswered. These questions relate to:

  1. her decision to bypass an official government email account;
  2. whether she affirmatively turned over any relevant records during the pendency of the Accountability Review Board investigation or at any time after Congress first began investigating the Benghazi attack until December 2014;
  3. her decision to retain those records upon separation from the Department of State;
  4. the methodology by which these emails were subsequently searched for evidence of official records; and
  5. her decision to delete certain emails.

White House: We'll Probably Extend Nuke Talks With Iran

Talks surrounding Iran's nuclear program are down to the wire just five hours ahead of the 6 pm eastern deadline today. The White House is admitting a deal may not be reached in time and that talks may be extended to the end of June.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that even if a deal is reached today or tomorrow, experts need time to dig through the details. Earnest also said a military option is on the table and always has been, but that the administration is still working toward a diplomatic solution.

"The military option has been on the table for quite sometime and continues to be on the table today. That being said, the diplomatic approach would be more effective in resolving the international community's concerns than the military approach," Earnest said. "The President is willing to walk away from the negotiating table before signing a bad deal."

Earnest said any deal that is reached would have to include Iran shutting down every path they have to a nuclear weapon.

"Even if we were to reach a good agreement....we're still going to have a long list of concerns about Iran's behavior. I don't want to leave anybody with the impression we're going to solve all of those concerns through nuclear talks," Earnest said.  "The international community is united no this. What's holding up the talks is the specific commitment that we need to see."

Yesterday Iran made unattainable last minute demands as talks continued to fall apart. Iranian nuclear talks with the United States have already been delayed multiple times.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have stressed the importance of approving an agreement if one is reached.

Anti-Gun Hollywood Liberal Accused of Molesting Young Woman

Meet Harvey Weinstein: Hollywood liberal and an anti-gun zealot. One of his latest projects (which will bomb at the box office), is a movie specifically targeting the National Rifle Association. 

They are going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them,” Weinstein told Stern on Wednesday, referring to the NRA’s lobbying and political strength.

Weinstein did not go into specifics about the project, but said that Meryl Streep was involved and that it would not be a documentary but “a big movie like ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'”

“I don’t think we need guns in this country, and I hate it,” Weinstein told Stern. “The NRA is a disaster area.”

But it turns out, Weinstein may have more than an anti-gun political position to blame for his stance against firearms ownership, especially among women. From the Washington Times

A 22-year-old Italian woman has accused Hollywood film producer and Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her Friday night in New York City, police sources told the New York Daily News.

The woman, who wasn’t identified, told police that Mr. Weinstein, 63, touched her private area and her breasts about 6 p.m. Friday at the Tribeca Film Center, the sources reportedly said.

Mr. Weinstein has been questioned by police, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance will decide whether to file charges, the Daily News reported.

“He initiated the contact,” the source said of Mr. Weinstein, the Daily News reported. “He saw her and spoke to her. She didn’t know who he was until he approached her.”

Funny how anti-gun men often turn out to be creeps. It isn't the men who support firearms ownership among women who we should be worried about, instead, it's the men who don't.

H/T @MadStJack

Pence on RFRA: "This Law Does Not Give Anyone A License To Discriminate"

Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) is under intense scrutiny after signing into law a statute that purportedly allows businesses to discriminate against certain classes of Hoosiers. Pushing back against all the misinformation, however, Gov. Pence defended the law in a press conference on Tuesday, thereby hopefully setting the record straight and addressing the controversy head-on.

“Let me say first and foremost I was proud to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week,” he said. “I believe religious liberty, as President Clinton said when he signed the federal law in 1993, [is] our first freedom and it is vital to millions of Americans who cherish faith as I and my family do. But it’s also vital to the framework of freedom in our nation.”

“This legislation was designed to ensure the vitality of religious liberty in the Hoosier State,” he continued. “But clearly, there’s been misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law. And I come before you today to say how we’re going to address that.”

He then dove into the specifics of the widely-pilloried bill.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was about religious liberty, not about discrimination,” he said. “As I said last week, had this law been about legalizing discrimination I would have vetoed it. This law does not give anyone a license to discriminate. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana does not give anyone the right to deny services to anyone.”

“I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians, or anyone else," he added. “But I can appreciate that’s become the perception, not just here in Indiana, but all across this country and we need to confront that."

He also announced, however, that the bill needed to be improved, and therefore would look to the state legislature first and foremost to help clarify and refine the bill’s language.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone,” he said, urging state lawmakers to act as soon as possible. “ We want to make it clear that Indiana is open for business. We want to make it clear that Hoosier hospitality is not a slogan, it’s a way of life.”

“Let me say I believe this is a clarification, but it’s also a fix,” he added. "[The bill] through mischaracterization and confusion, has come to be greatly misunderstood. And I’m determined to address this [problem] this week.”

Not surprisingly, he also characterized the national media’s reporting vis-à-vis the bill as both “reckless” and “irresponsible”—although he conceded in recent days it had “gotten better.”

Krugman: All of These 'Imaginary' Obamacare Horror Stories Are 'Invented'


Here we go again. One of the High Priests of the so-called "reality-based community" has for the umpteenth time pronounced Obamacare a great success, asserting that people who believe otherwise (like, for example, the majority of the American people) have either been deceived, or are liars. Paint-by-numbers acerbic Leftist, reactionary smear artist, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls Obamacare horror stories "imaginary disasters," made up from whole cloth to scare people and undermine a law that's working and helping people.  We've spent quite a lot of time refuting variants of this argument in recent years, producing detailed responses to President ObamaHarry Reid, and two different bloggers at Vox.  Here's Krugman -- in a column declaring Obamacare a success and its opponents discredited, no less -- bemoaning our "post-truth politics:"

In short, when it comes to the facts, the attack on health reform has come up empty-handed...And the favorable experiences of the roughly 16 million Americans who have gained insurance so far have had little effect on public perceptions. Partly that’s because the Affordable Care Act, by design, has had almost no effect on those who already had good health insurance: Before the act, a large majority of Americans were already covered by their employers, by Medicare or by Medicaid, and they have seen no change in their status. At a deeper level, however, what we’re looking at here is the impact of post-truth politics. We live in an era in which politicians and the supposed experts who serve them never feel obliged to acknowledge uncomfortable facts, in which no argument is ever dropped, no matter how overwhelming the evidence that it’s wrong. And the result is that imaginary disasters can overshadow real successes. Obamacare isn’t perfect, but it has dramatically improved the lives of millions. Someone should tell the voters.

Actually, when it comes to the facts, opponents' attacks on the law have been overwhelmingly vindicated. Obamacare has failed to deliver on nearly every major promise upon which it was sold.  Remember, one of the law's chief architects has conceded that its PR team lied about taxing benefits, lied about cost control, and intentionally exploited legislative opacity, which he bragged would help bamboozle "stupid" voters. So the statement that critics have "come up empty-handed" could only come from a cloistered, closed-minded ideologue who admits to shielding himself from uncomfortable data and opposing viewpoints.  Krugman also fails to mention that many of the millions who've "gained insurance" under the law previously had coverage and were forced to sign up through the exchanges when their suddenly-noncompliant plans were unceremoniously canceled.  He writes that the law had "almost no effect" on people who were already happily insured.  That's only true if you willfully ignore the millions of consumers who've received cancellation notices as a direct result of the law, and the millions more who will experience the same upheaval in the years to come.  Finally, poll after poll confirms that Americans who've been directly harmed by Obamacare substantially outnumber those whose lives have been "dramatically improved."  These are people's actual experiences, and no amount of smug, tendentious bloviating can alter people's everyday realities.  These disasters are not "imaginary" -- as Krugman might be aware if he deigned to read his own newspaper from time to time.  Here's the Times last month:

Ms. Pineman, who is self-employed, accepted that she’d have to pay higher premiums for a plan with a narrower provider network and no out-of-network coverage. She accepted that she’d have to pay out of pocket to see her primary care physician, who didn’t participate. She even accepted having co-pays of nearly $1,800 to have a cast put on her ankle in an emergency room after she broke it while playing tennis. But her frustration bubbled over when she tried to arrange a follow-up visit with an orthopedist in her Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield network: The nearest doctor available who treated ankle problems was in Stamford, Conn. When she called to protest, her insurer said that Stamford was 14 miles from her home and 15 was considered a reasonable travel distance. “It was ridiculous — didn’t they notice it was in another state?” said Ms. Pineman, 46, who was on crutches. She instead paid $350 to see a nearby orthopedist and bought a boot on Amazon as he suggested. She has since forked over hundreds of dollars more for a physical therapist that insurance didn’t cover, even though that provider was in-network...For still others, the new fees are so confusing and unsupportable that they just avoid seeing doctors...by endorsing and expanding the complex new policies promoted by the health care industry, the law may in some ways be undermining its signature promise: health care that is accessible and affordable for all.

Would Mr. Krugman care to repeat his "imaginary" rubbish to the faces of this cancer patient, this young mother, this erstwhile Obamacare poster child, or these workers in Pennsylvania?


I'll leave you with this interesting nugget from the Libre Initiative:

As the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2015 ends, analysis by Avalere Health shows that while 76 percent of eligible individuals between 100 and 150 percent of the Poverty level signed up through Healthcare .gov this year, enrollment figures decline dramatically among people earning more. Just 16 percent of those earning between 300 and 400 percent of the federal Poverty level signed up, and just 2 percent of those earning $46,000 or more per year did so. The data shows that for consumers who bear a significant portion of the cost themselves, the federal exchange is simply not a popular option. Only when large taxpayer subsidies are provided are people choosing to enroll in significant numbers. But people are required by the ACA to purchase health insurance or face penalties, and as these penalties increase over time, more Americans will be compelled to comply with the law or face penalties that are simply too onerous.

This is a wealth redistribution scheme that hurts the middle class.  As it turns out, people who are both mandated to buy coverage and handed large subsidies from taxpayers are the most likely group to sign up for Obamacare. Go figure. "Success!"

Reid: Nope, I Have No Regrets Calling Mitt Romney a Tax Cheat

The ends always justify the means.

Asked in a recent interview if he had any “regrets” about accusing 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes for ten years during the homestretch of the campaign, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) essentially shrugged his shoulders.

“He didn’t win, did he?” he intoned.

The Washington Free Beacon captured the video:

We knew he was lying, of course, and the Romney campaign ensured in good time everyone else would, too. But such a smug and remorseless answer astonishes even me.

Or does it?

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Senator.

UPDATE: Watch the full clip here.

Santorum Speech Receives Mixed Reactions from GW Students Over Gay Rights

As former presidential candidate Rick Santorum closed his remarks Monday evening at George Washington University, controversy that’s been brewing for nearly a month at the school was visible: half of the students in the auditorium stood in applause while the other half of the room sat stone-faced.

The speech was hosted by GWU’s chapter of Young America’s Foundation, which has come onto the national media stage in the past month because the group boycotted mandatory “LGBT sensitivity training.” In response, GW YAF was labeled a “hate group,” a “cancer,” and was even compared to ISIS.

“The only sensitivity training we need is to respect every person,” Santorum said Monday, to strong applause from half the audience. “Tolerance is the most misused word in the English language.”

“Tolerance means you can say really horrible nasty things that I hate and offend me,” he added. “That’s how we get along. You have a right to be mean -- a right to be nasty to people. That’s how this country works, because we have thick skins and we aren’t offended.”

In his opening remarks, Santorum explained conservative policy on the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran and the impending nuclear deal, and commented on the recent religious protection law passed in Indiana. Afterward, students queued to throw the former senator some tough questions.

“People aren’t dying in America because of this,” one student said, arguing that business owners should be forced to serve everyone regardless of sexual orientation -- one concept addressed in the Indiana law.

Santorum was quick to respond: “Should a gay or lesbian-owned printshop have to print signs for the Westboro Baptists that say ‘God hates fags’?”

“If they have the money to pay, they should,” the student shot back, to “ooohh” from the audience.

Taking the gloves off, Santorum continued: “Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my -- fill in the blank,’ then I’ve got a problem with that.”

Peppered with other inquiries ranging from follow-ups on Iran policy and immigration to Santorum’s new book “Bella’s Gift,” about his severely disabled daughter, the theme of the Q&A always returned to gay rights.

“I am a proud and confident lesbian woman, and I’m just wondering why are you denying me my rights to marry the love of my life, to adopt my future children -- both of which I will do?” another student asked, to thunderous applause from half the room.

The former senator was ready to point out her fallacy:

“I don’t come in and say ‘because you have a different point of view, you’re denying me my view of marriage,’” he said. “You’re expressing your opinion -- you have a right to do that, and I have a right to do that.”

The overly secure environment of the auditorium added to the obvious clash of ideologies as the members of GW YAF and various liberal and gay pride campus organizations came together: five security guards lined the walls of the auditorium.

Attendees were notified before the event not to bring any book bags or purses with them, and signs carried in protest were also not permitted. A posted message outside the auditorium read “any person who disrupts the event will be removed by the University Police Department.”

“If you intend to participate in the larger conversation about American politics and culture, it’s really important to understand about the 40 percent of Americans that call themselves conservatives,” said GW YAF President Emily Jashinsky after introducing Santorum. “I want to invite everyone to demonstrate their very best sense of inclusivity, tolerance, and respect tonight -- let’s have a great debate.”

Both Santorum and questioners were repeatedly interrupted by approving applause from both divisions of the audience -- yet Santorum coolly and patiently responded to even the most disgruntled students.

“No matter what your passion is on the issues, we need to have a system that says everybody’s allowed in,” Santorum said.

Santorum’s speech came on the eve of Trans Day of Visibility, hosted by the student group Allied in Pride -- a key opponent of GW YAF on campus.

“Their decision to bring Rick Santorum -- a man who has compared homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality -- to campus the day before Trans Day of Visibility underscores their intolerance and pattern of hate,” Allied in Pride posted on Facebook.

Gov Christie Pledges Support for 20-Week Abortion Ban Just Hours After Pro-Life Group Places His Name in Red

His name was the only one in red. Yet, just hours after the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List declared Gov. Chris Christie was the only potential 2016 GOP candidate who hadn’t pledged his support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the outspoken New Jersey governor made his stand much clearer.

2016: Where Do They Stand? is a new resource for pro-life voters heading into next year’s presidential election. Specifically, it provides the candidates’ opinion on the Pain-Capable bill. The legislation has been surrounded by controversy thanks to Congress’ missed opportunity, yet the goal of the bill itself is anything but.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is compassionate legislation that would protect babies from brutal abortions after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy. If enacted into law, it would save approximately 15,000 babies every year from brutal, painful deaths.

Think this sounds like common sense? The majority of Americans would agree with you. Passing the pain-capable bill is the SBA List's main priority in the lead up to the race to the White House. Because it's so important, the organization wanted to make sure their supporters knew where the 2016 candidates stood on the issue. 

The only one they weren't sure of was Gov. Christie. The SBA List explained this to the press in a Monday email, informing them that the New Jersey Governor was the only one had not endorsed the bill. Therefore, while every other candidate's picture was included with a pro-life quote, Gov. Christie's name was simply placed in red with no corresponding quote. Just hours later, however, Christie sent the SBA List this statement:

“I am proud to be a pro-life Republican. I believe that every life is an individual gift from God, and that no life is disposable...I urge Congress to take swift action on this important issue."

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser gladly accepted his announcement:

"There is complete unity on the Republican side around this highly reasonable proposal to protect pain-capable children after five months,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement after Christie's endorsement. “Meanwhile, the national Democratic Party and its leaders remind us almost daily of the abortion lobby’s importance in their policy and politics. We expect this clear difference to be a focal point of the general election debate.”

The pro-life movement should be cheering to know that the SBA List clearly has influence in this election and Christie's wake-up call should be a warning to all presidential wannabes who don't stand up for the unborn. I hope all of them escape the red ink.

Surprise: Hillary Clinton Lied About Using Only One Device For Email

When Hillary Clinton stepped to the microphones three weeks ago to explain why she used a personal email account on a private server hosted in her home to conduct all of her official State Department business, she claimed she did it out of convenience because she didn't want to carry two devices. 

We already knew Clinton didn't simply own just one device capable of sending and receiving email. After all, she said so during a February 2015 event in California when she admitted to using an iPhone, iPad, mini iPad and a Blackberry. 

Now, the Associated Press has confirmed Clinton did in fact use multiple devices to conduct her official State Department business, not the one phone she previously claimed. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton's correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.

While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton's correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.

Meanwhile, Congress is still trying to figure out how to handle new revelations Clinton "wiped her server clean."

Marco Rubio: Future of The Country Depends Strongly on The Next Election

Senator Marco Rubio (R - FL) stopped by Fox News' The Five yesterday to discuss his presidential plans and the state of the country moving forward.

"I strongly believe that the future of this country will depend on the next election and what's at stake in 2016 is not simply what party is going to win or the candidate. The fundamental question in 2016 is what kind of country do we want to be in this new century? Do we want to remain an exceptional country, a land of equality of opportunity, the strongest nation on earth, or are we prepared to diminish and decline? And decline is a choice, it's not our destiny," Rubio said. "The country is really at a hinge point in terms of moving forward into the future. We are really transitioning from out of the 20th century, well into the 21st century, a dramatically different world. Globalization has changed the nature of our economy, technology has changed the nature of work, the entire global order that we've had since the end of World War II is now in flux and I think it's really important we move in the right direction as a country by not just confronting the challenges of this new era, but increasing its opportunities."

As he said in the interview, Rubio will make an announcement about his presidential plans on April 13, 2015.

Yemen Unrest Could Spark Regional War

Ground troops from the Arab League could be moving into Yemen to fight the Shiite Houthi rebels that have forced President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi from the capital Sanaa and the southern city of Aden. Hadi was reportedly trying to rebuild his power base there after escaping house arrest. The embattled president was able to go to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to attend an Arab League summit, according to CNN:

[Arab League] Support is already broad. The coalition nations participating in the bombardments make up about a third of the league's membership.

On Saturday, Hadi called the Houthis out: "You violated the sovereignty (of Yemen), and you bear the responsibility for what happened and what is going to happen."

Airstrikes have hit Houthi militant groups, smashed their big air defense guns and crumbled key infrastructure that links major towns with the capital, Sanaa, a Saudi official has said. The coalition has destroyed Yemeni army weapons caches and military facilities.

Saudi naval special forces have also rescued dozens of diplomats, the official said. And many U.N. representatives have fled the unrest.

Saudi Arabia has set up a blockade, effectively cutting off Houthi supply lines, and its air force controls Yemeni airspace. They have threatened to attack ships that might supply the rebels.

Concerning the strategic situation, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran encapsulates the Sunni-Shiite schism, which often times has led to violence between the competing sects of Islam. Saudi Arabia, which sees the Houthis as being backed by Iran–they did send a delegation to Tehran–can’t have an Iranian satellite state on their border:

Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals. Having Yemen become an Iranian satellite country on its border would be unacceptable to the kingdom.

Iran has sharply denounced the Saudi-dominated armed intervention.

And two Arab League members, Lebanon and Iraq, have voiced opposition to Determination Storm [the current air campaign against the Houthis], Lee reported. Both countries are majority Shiite.

In all, a force of about 40,000 men from the Arab League could be heading into Yemen. The United States has been providing logistical support for the airstrikes as well (via the Hill):

The Arab League on Sunday decided it would build a joint military force featuring combat units from each of its 22 member nations.

It would likely boast 40,000 elite troops backed by light armor and mechanized air and naval power, he added.

The Al Arabiya network said the league declared any member state could request the joint military if its security was threatened. The league would then act if the situation warranted combat, Al Arabiya concluded.

The league’s first potential battleground might be in Yemen, which is currently tangled in a fierce civil war. Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday fled his hometown of Aden as Shiite Houthi rebels advanced on his position.

The embattled leader next retreated to Saudi Arabia, another league member, Wednesday. The Sunni government in Saudi Arabia has since conducted air strikes on the rebels, hoping it will prevent the Houthis from partnering with its Shiite rival, Iran.

The Obama administration revealed on Wednesday it is providing logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi military campaign. It has additionally ruled out direct military intervention, despite its close alliance with Hadi’s former government.

CNN added that Saudi Arabian officials have insisted that if an invasion occurs, they won’t leave Yemen until the rebels’ fighting capabilities are irrevocably crippled. That being said, the publication noted that the Houthis are skilled guerrilla fighters that could turn this incursion into a bloody affair.

Yemen had been used by this administration as a blueprint for future counter-terrorism operations. When the country continued to devolve into chaos, this administration maintained that position. Even Vox knew better, as this post shows, as they pretty much took Obama’s foreign policy to the woodshed.

The Fact-Free Meltdown Over Indiana's New Religious Freedom Law


As you may have gathered via breathless headlines and hyperbolic social media rants, Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed into law a draconian attack on LGBT rights under the guise of "religious liberty." This unprecedented assault on equality, or whatever, has elicited strident condemnations and boycott threats from a number of celebrities and organizations.  Almost all of this hyperventilating is rooted in some brew of abject ignorance, mindless alarmism, and ostentatious moral preening.  The latter, anti-intellectual phenomenon is especially widespread: "Look at me, I'm a good person because I'm outraged about this terrible law, about which I know very little. Those who disagree with me are exposing themselves as bad people who support discrimination against gay people, which offends my tolerant and progressive sensibilities, of which I'm reminding everyone right now."  

In fact, Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) very closely mirrors a federal law cosponsored by Congressional liberals and signed by President Clinton in the early 1990s.  It is also extremely similar to laws enacted in 19 other states over recent decades.  That list of red and blue states includes Illinois, where then-state Senator Barack Obama cast his vote in favor of the legislation, which may help explain why some Democrats are struggling to logically defend their table-pounding over Indiana's law.  In short, the Hoosier State's RFRA isn't remarkable or radical under any fair reading. In a must-read piece today, writer and attorney Gabriel Malor (who is a gay conservative who supports same-sex marriage) sticks to facts in addressing common misconceptions about these laws -- starting with what they are, and the two-pronged balancing test at their core:

This legislation sets the same minimum standard for burdening the exercise of religion. Under the various RFRAs, a state or the federal government—by law or other action—may not substantially burden an individual’s exercise of religion unless the burden is in furtherance of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Twenty states, including Indiana, and the federal government have RFRAs.

This was the same test applied by the Supreme Court in its Hobby Lobby ruling on religious liberty and Obamacare's contraception mandate last year.  Malor answers a series of questions about Indiana's law, making clear that it does not codify discrimination whatsoever, nor does it even mention gays or same-sex marriage.  (Separately, Mollie Hemingway profiles a number of Americans whose rights have been protected by RFRA-style laws, including Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Native Americans, and "spiritists" -- none of these cases pertained to gay rights in any way).  Critics of Indiana's measure largely ignore these cases, opting instead to invent hypothetical victims of anti-gay discrimination -- which is not "permitted" under RFRA. An example of the alarmism:


Malor, again:

This big gay freak-out is purely notional. No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in twenty years of RFRAs nationwide. Why Is Everyone So Mad about Indiana’s RFRA, Then? The fear is that it could be used to deny service to gay people in places of public accommodation like businesses and restaurants. But, as discussed above, no RFRA has ever been used that way before. Also, Indiana does not have a public accommodation law that protects against anti-gay discrimination, meaning there’s no state law in Indiana preventing anti-gay discrimination in businesses even before the state RFRA was enacted. Notably, despite the lack of such a law, nobody can point to any Indiana businesses that were discriminating against gays...It is entirely consistent to favor broad religious freedom protections and also favor gay rights. Many gays are religious, and so themselves benefit from religious freedom protections like RFRA. But even where gay Americans and religious Americans find themselves in conflict, there is ample room in communities to peaceably coexist. That’s the point of a RFRA. No side gets an automatic-victory card. The interests of all sides gets weighed.

So many important points packed into one pull quote: Indiana does not have a public accommodation law on the books that includes sexual orientation as a basis for anti-discrimination protection.  In other words, businesses discriminating against gay customers isn't illegal in the state at present, and yet it isn't happening.  On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of instances of florists, bakers, caterers, etc. getting sued and having their livelihoods threatened for declining to participate in a same-sex wedding.  Malor writes about peaceful coexistence, but that's not what many on the Left really want, even after years of advancing "live and let live" arguments in favor of marriage equality, assuring skeptics that such unions "won't effect you." This coercive shift is a major theme of the book Mary Katharine Ham and I have written, available now for pre-order.  In any case, Malor's distinction is crucial.  RFRAs do not grant blanket immunity for discriminatory behavior rooted in religious faith -- a photographer turning down a job at a gay wedding, for instance.  They simply create a framework in which competing rights and interests can be balanced on a case-by-case basis.  They provide a potential recourse for the party being sanctioned or sued, but no guarantee of victory.

As I've noted in the past, most Americans now favor gay marriage, and an overwhelming majority believe gay people should be treated fairly and with respect.  People are not okay with anti-gay discrimination or bigotry, but a substantial majority also believes that private businesses run by religious people should be able to opt out of actively participating in the weddings of same-sex couples.  These attitudes are not in conflict; indeed, they embrace the very definition of tolerance and coexistence.  RFRA-style laws help codify a specific platform from which people can assert their religious rights in the face of countervailing government interests or legal challenges.  One more big point: Some opponents of Indiana's law say that it's not quite the same as other RFRAs because it applies its protections to businesses (which adheres to SCOTUS' Hobby Lobby precedent), as well as to private lawsuits in which the government isn't directly involved.  A law professor writing at National Review Online points out that "four federal courts of appeals and the Obama Justice Department have all taken the position that RFRA can be used as a defense in private suits involving the enforcement of laws that substantially burden free exercise of religion."  Again, Indiana's law isn't some unprecedented, thinly-veiled effort to trample gay rights.  It's quite 'precedented,' actually -- and nearly identical measures have been in place across the country for decades without touching off an awful carnival of bigotry and discrimination.  The hysteria and absurdity of this whole "debate" was perhaps best encapsulated by Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy's self-righteous executive order banning official state travel to Indiana. Surprise:


Davis explains that assertion in greater detail here, later swatting aside red herring push-back from Lefties trying to excuse Malloy's embarrassing tantrum, and exposing a blatant lie the governor's office is now circulating in his defense.  I'll leave you with video of Bill Clinton signing the federal version of RFRA into law back in 1993.  If you skip ahead to the 14:15 mark, you might notice two liberal heroes standing behind him and smiling as he puts pen to paper.  The same hand-wringers who routinely complain about the Republican Party's supposed rightward lurch never seem to mention that the center of the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left that Hillary Clinton feels compelled to effectively denounce her own husband's law:



Obama Speaks at Dedication of 'Edward M. Kennedy Center' in Boston

On Monday, President Obama traveled to Boston to speak at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Center Institute for the U.S. Senate. Remarkably, the center’s ambitious design will give students -- and the general public alike -- greater understanding and an inside look at an indispensable American institution: the U.S. Senate.

“The centerpiece of the EMK Institute is a full-scale representation of the Senate Chamber,” according to its official website. “Visitors and students participate in experiences and programs giving them insight into, and appreciation, for the role of the Senate in our participatory democracy.”

It was apparently a concept that the late senator devised himself, brought to life by his surviving loved ones and friends six years after his death.

“We live in a time of such great cynicism about all our institutions,” President Obama said at the dedication after making the trip, emphasizing the importance of the new building. “And we are cynical about government and about Washington most of all. It’s hard for our children to see in our noisy, and all too often trivial pursuits of today’s politics the possibilities of our democracy, our capacity together to do great things.”

“This place can help change that,” he continued. “It can help light the fire of imagination, plant the seed of noble ambition in the minds of future generations.”

The president also reminded the audience that the institution's design was fitting, given Kennedy's compassion and willingness to champion bipartisan reforms.

“What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?" he intoned. “He understood that differences of party or philosophy could not become barriers to cooperation or respect. He could howl injustice on the Senate floor like a force of nature…but in his personal [dealings] he answered Edmund Randolph’s call to keep the Senate a place to restrain, if possible, the fury of democracy.”

“I did not know Ted as long as some of the other speakers here today,” he later added, more solemnly. “But he was my friend. I owe him a lot. And insofar as I can tell it was never ideology that compelled him. Except insofar as his ideology said ‘you should help people, you should have a life of purpose.’”

The Institute will be open to the public tomorrow.

Majority Leader and Armed Services Chair Visit Kiev: European Leaders Increasingly For U.S. Arms to Ukraine

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) met with Ukrainian officials in Kiev Monday.

"The United States and international community can and should do more to support Ukraine's efforts to stabilize its economy, build democratic institutions, and defend its territory from ongoing Russian aggression," McCarthy said in a statement Monday.

"I believe this international support should include the provision of defensive weapons, training, and intelligence to the Ukrainian military," he added.

American action to arm Ukrainian forces is a fierce debate: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly requested U.S. assistance with lethal force to defend Ukrainian territory. While U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and many key members of Congress support the measure, President Obama firmly opposes sending arms, instead implementing economic sanctions against Russia.

"Economic sanctions are ill-advised and counter-productive," German MEP Beatrix von Storch told Townhall. "Political behavior cannot be changed by sanctions. Instead, politicians will be even more firmly in power, because they have the ability to put the blame for the suffering on the 'foreigners' who impose the sanctions."

According to Von Storch, there is much sympathy within the European Parliament toward arming the rebels, even though most members consider themselves advocates for peace.

"The European Parliament has, luckily, neither competence nor power to arm the Ukrainians," Von Storch said. "It could only endorse such an armament by some meaningless resolution. The real power is with the European nation states."

Most European states, however, have not taken measures to arm Ukraine.

While McCarthy and Thornberry met with officials in Kiev, Russia announced that it has restored its forces in Crimea to full strength. President Vladimir Putin ordered that a "self-sufficient interdepartmental force" be deployed in the region to defend Russian National Security.

On March 26, Thornberry and several colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to President Obama "with urgency and alarm," warning him of "deep apprehension that Moscow may invade eastern and southern Ukraine…and also seek land grabs in the Baltics."

On the same day, the House voted in overwhelming bipartisan support (348 to 48) of a resolution to urge President Obama to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine to defend territorial integrity, but the legislation has not yet seen further action.

Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov confirmed Monday that 900 Ukrainian troops will participate in a training program with U.S. paratroopers in April.

"It is clear that any effort to support Ukraine must also be accompanied by a strategy to confront Vladimir Putin's regime in Moscow and its systematic violations of the Minsk agreements, its aggression and destabilizing activities abroad, and its repression at home," McCarthy said.

Hypocrisy Alert: That Time Sen. Clinton Said The Bush Administration Might Have ‘Something To Hide’ By Refusing To Turn Over Documents

We all know Hillary Clinton used a private email address and server for official business when she was Secretary of State. She said she turned over her work-related emails to State, and deleted the ones she deemed personal. Her lawyers said they wouldn’t honor the request by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, to turn over the server to an independent arbiter for review, and that it’s been wiped clean, along with any back up systems connected to the server.

This private email scandal has been a nightmare for the Clinton team since it has rehashed all the negative things people associate with them, and elicits questions about transparency. Clinton has said she has gone above and beyond what has been asked over her regarding turning over her work-related emails to the State Department, citing that she used that private email address out of convenience because she didn’t want to use two devices; a claim that Gawker’s John Cook said was “preposterous.” Cook described Clinton’s email setup as “Nixonian.”

This is all the more interesting given that then-Sen. Hillary Clinton criticized the Bush administration in October of 2003 for refusing to turn over documents to the 9/11 Commission chaired by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean.

In her remarks at the Center for American Progress’ New American Strategies for Security and Peace Conference, then-Sen. Clinton touched upon America’s war on terror, criticized the Bush doctrine, and the lack of transparency exuded by the Bush administration during the 9/11 Commission’s investigation into those horrific terror attacks [emphasis mine]:

I feel absolutely without doubt that our citizens, particularly my constituents, deserve to know all the facts of how the government was prepared or not. Yet, over this weekend, we learned that the 9/11 commission, an independent commission, charged with the important task of investigating how 9/11 happened, complains that it is not getting access to all the documents it needs.

This is a hugely important issue. And it’s not just important for this commission, but for these larger questions about access to information and how this government maintains the trust of the American people.

The lack of transparency on the part of the Bush administration has forced Governor King [sic; it’s Kean], former Republican Governor of New Jersey, to threaten subpoenas. This should not be happening.

As bad as it was for Vice President Cheney to keep secret how the administration developed its energy policy, this is far worse. The 9/11 commission is not trying to embarrass this president or any former president or anyone else. It is trying to learn what happened, what went wrong. In hopes that we can be better prepared to protect ourselves from any future attacks.

In taking their action to evade or avoid providing information, the administration unnecessarily raises the suspicion that it has something to hide, that it might use the claim of national security to hide mistakes that are literally questions of life and death for Americans.

As mentioned in her remarks, Gov. Kean was ready to issue subpoenas over documents the commission felt were being withheld. At the time, the Bush administration turned over 2 million pages of documents to the commission, and President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney would have a three-hour session with 10 members of the investigatory board. Critics will certainly mention that Bush and Cheney were not under oath during this session, and that no official record exists since no stenographers were allowed to participate in the meeting. The commission would say the session was “forthcoming and candid;” two things that cannot be said about Clinton and her history of secrecy.  Also, even James Carville mentioned that her email system appears to be set up to avoid congressional oversight, the man who ran point on implementing FOIA throughout the executive branch–Dan Metcalfe–noted that her email was set up to avoid such requests.

As Rep. Gowdy noted in his statement, Hillary decided to wipe her hard drive sometime after October 28, 2014 when the State Department asked for her public record of service. The committee issued the subpoena for the emails relating to Libya on March 4; Clinton’s lawyer sent a letter on the status of the server on March 27.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus aptly noted that even Nixon didn’t destroy the tapes. It appears Hillary destroyed those emails while under a subpoena; a point that threw the Meet The Press roundtable into “chaos” over the weekend.

Yes, Mrs. Clinton turned over emails, which they say was done after reading all of them, despite this statement coming after Time reported that her lawyers only used a keyword search to conduct their review.  If they read every email, then why hit "Control + F?" 

Lastly, in the interests of transparency, a State Department Inspector General might have been able to catch the private email address Clinton was using during her tenure as Secretary of State. The problem is that there wasn't a permanent IG the entire time she was there. 

Congressman’s STREAM Act Seeks to Reign in Anti-Coal Mining Agency

Coal is pretty important to West Virginia. Coal-fired electric power plants accounted for 95 percent of West Virginia's net electricity generation in 2013 and the state produces about 15 percent of all fossil fuel energy in the US. What’s more, the Mountain State leads the nation in underground coal mine production. One government agency seems poised to slow these miners down, but not if Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) can help it.

“West Virginia is blessed to be abundant in natural resources," Mooney said. "Unfortunately, the President is intent on destroying coal as a domestic energy source.”

Rep. Mooney introduced the Supporting Transparent Regulatory and Environmental Actions in Mining (STREAM) Act on Thursday in an attempt to protect a coal industry that is under threat from overbearing environmental regulations demanded by the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM).

A fact sheet provided by Rep. Mooney’s congressional office offered some context for his proposed legislation.

In April of this year the administration is expected to issue Stream Buffer Regulations aimed directly at shutting down surface coal mining operations. The proposed regulations would essentially ban mining operations within 100 feet of anything the Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) defines as a “stream.” Even worse, the proposed new regulations are expected to prohibit mining underneath a stream, making underground coal mining very challenging.

These unnecessary burdens on coal production encouraged Mooney to introduce the STREAM Act, which will do three key things:

1. It will require OSM to use existing funds in their budget to conduct a study of industry impact from them and then the bill specifies that once they’re done with that study, they have to wait a year to actually implement the rule.

2. It will prevent OSM from enforcing regulations that are duplicative from other agencies. Specifically, it can’t enforce anything that’s already being regulated to through the Clean Water Act by the EPA.

3. It will require OSM to publicly release all the data they used with their final version of the rule.

OSM’s latest regulation appears designed to end surface mining. Its anti-coal agenda is just another indicator that the Obama administration is trying to close down the industry for good.

The STREAM act marks the second battle in Mooney’s war against these debilitating environmental regulations. He first charge was successfully getting a provision included in the House budget to defund implementation of the stream buffer zone rules. Mooney is particularly adamant about this bill, for he recognizes the significant blow the OSM rule could have on West Virginia's economy.

“According to industry estimates, the expected rule from OSM would shutter tens of thousands of jobs in West Virginia and hundreds of thousands nationwide," Mooney explained. "The impact of such a serious hit to the coal industry would have the secondary effect of increasing home-energy prices for families and businesses. This bill protects the ability of Americans to seek prosperity from our nation’s natural bounty and is good policy for hardworking families.”

Now that the STREAM Act has been introduced in the House, over the next few weeks it will be debated in subcommittee. It will then move to a full committee vote, where Rep. Mooney’s office expects it to be voted on on the floor. They expect it to be at least a 2-month process.

It’s perhaps superfluous to say that it is unacceptable for a government agency to so closely regulate coal production and regulate anywhere running water can be found.

There’s A ’90 Percent’ Chance Carly Fiorina Will Run In 2016

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has made it official. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are expected to make their 2016 intentions known next month. Now, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is pretty sure she’ll run for president in 2016 as well. Over the weekend, she said the chances of her tossing her hat into the ring are at least 90 percent (via WaPo):

Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, said her chances of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 are “very high.”

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the 2010 California gubernatorial candidate said she is “higher than 90 percent” likely to enter the race, with an announcement coming in late April or early May.

Fiorina said she could appeal to voters with a “deep understanding of how the economy actually works, having started as a secretary and become the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world.”

She added that she has relationships with “many of the world leaders on the stage today” and that she understands executive decision-making, as well as how to change large bureaucracies for the better.

Discussing the economy, Fiorina said the government has “tangled people up from a web of dependence from which they can’t escape.” She also said the government is “crushing small businesses now.”

Yet, Fiorina has never held an elected office. She ran against Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010, and lost by a ten-point margin. Nevertheless, we’re grading on a curve; this is deep blue California. It could’ve been worse. One could make an argument that a ten-point loss isn’t catastrophic in such a liberal state with such an entrenched incumbent; Boxer announced that she would not run in 2016 after serving nearly a quarter century in the Senate. Oh, and she did this while fighting breast cancer, which she beat in that same year.

Still, Fiorina has a great narrative with her rise in the business world.

"I have a deep understanding of how the economy works, having started as a secretary and become the executive of the largest technology company in the world," Fiorina said.

This statement doesn’t come without risks. Democrats will certainly highlight her reportedly controversial tenure at Hewlett-Packard, which began in 1999. It was turbulent due to the dot COM bust, with the board of directors eventually dismissing her Fiorina in 2005.

Nevertheless, Katie interviewed Fiorina at CPAC in February, where the former CEO exuded confidence in her 2016 prospects and took on Hillary Clinton. She said she plans to make an official announcement in April or May.

Here's her full CPAC speech, where she touts her record at HP in growing its net worth and innovation:

Obama To Visit Kenya

President Barack Obama is well-loved in Kenya.

Natives laud his Kenyan heritage, call him “brother” and “cousin,” and claim to know his grandmother, who still lives in the southwest region. Nairobi streets are dotted with passport photo advertisements, emblazoned with Obama’s face.

But despite three trips to sub-Saharan Africa in more than six years of his presidency, Obama has still never visited the land of his father’s birth -- a disappointing truth for Obama fans.

“If in three years and seven months I am not in Kenya, then you can fault me for not following through on my promise,” Obama said at a town hall in South Africa during his 2013 tour.

This morning, the White House made an announcement that Obama will make good on this promise, finally visiting the nation to attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit this July.

The trip will “continue our efforts to work with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security,” according to the White House statement.

This will be President Obama’s fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa during his presidency.

Of Course: Iran Makes Another Last-Minute Demand, West Looking to Achieve 'Narrative'


The 'P5+1' nuclear negotiations with Iran are coming down to the wire, with the Obama administration hellbent on attaining a deal before tomorrow's deadline (which Iran doesn't acknowledge, by the way). As Conn has reported, if an agreement is reached, it likely won't be formalized or written down for a period of months. What Western diplomats are scrambling to "achieve," therefore, is an informal consensus on the principles and outlines of a deal -- struck with an evil, untrustworthy regime. The British Foreign Minister told reporters last week that they're hoping to secure a "narrative," whatever that means:

We envisage being able to deliver a narrative. Whether that is written down or not, I don’t think is the crucial issue,” [British Foreign Minister Philip] Hammond told reporters at the British ambassador’s residence during a visit to Washington. “This will be a political statement, or perhaps political statements from the [negotiating partners] and Iran which create enough momentum to make it clear that we’ve now got this boulder over the hill and we are into the detailed work to produce an agreement.”… Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said he sees no need for a written document describing an interim agreement in advance of the June 30 deadline for a comprehensive deal… “The challenge is: as soon as you write anything down, you’ve got to write everything down,” Hammond said.

Allahpundit notes that (a) Iran and the US have already been wrangling over the terms of the current interim agreement, and (b) just a few days prior to Hammond's comment, other Western diplomats assured the media that of course there was agreement that an oral deal with Iran -- i.e., a "narrative" -- wouldn't cut it, given their history and behavior on the world stage. Leon Panetta, former CIA chief and Obama-era Defense Secretary, agrees: "One thing I’ve learned both at the CIA and as Secretary of Defense is that the Iranians can't be trusted."  Perhaps because they do things like this at the eleventh hour, to exploit Western desperation to extract even more concessions:

With a negotiating deadline just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country. For months, Iran tentatively agreed that it would send a large portion of its stockpile of uranium to Russia, where it would not be accessible for use in any future weapons program. But on Sunday Iran’s deputy foreign minister made a surprise comment to Iranian reporters, ruling out an agreement that involved giving up a stockpile that Iran has spent years and billions of dollars to amass. “The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,” the official, Abbas Araqchi, told the Iranian media, according to Agence France-Presse. “There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.” Western officials confirmed that Iran was balking at shipping the fuel out, but insisted that there were other ways of dealing with the material. Chief among those options, they said, was blending it into a more diluted form.

So in addition to being able to maintain their rogue nuclear program's infrastructure, keep thousands of centrifuges spinning, do nothing to renounce or scale back their support for terrorism/regional power plays/human rights abuses, or give up their long-range missile program, Tehran has insisted that they also be allowed to keep their fortified underground enrichment bunkers in operation, and is now backing away from a previously-stated willingness to remove enriched uranium from the country.  (In addition to asking that sanctions relief begin immediately, based upon no evidence of compliance). The US and partners reportedly acceded to the former late-breaking demand, and are seeking ways to accommodate the latter. Remember that tough sanctions forced Iran to the bargaining table in the first place, with their economy in tatters. This deal would lift those sanctions -- with restrictions on the regime beginning to phase out after just ten years. The Obama administration has basically been lying to the public, repeatedly stating that no deal at all is preferable is a bad one. It's becoming entirely clear that they don't believe that to be true. They are frantic to reach an agreement that they can trot out as a historic Smart Power success, and the mullahs understand this. Short of firing missiles at Tel Aviv or New York, or formally stating their intention to build and use nuclear weapons, Iran knows that there's almost nothing they can say or do to drive the Americans away from the table. This is the textbook definition of a hopelessly weak negotiating position. And Team Obama has placed the United States in this mess because they're obsessed with a very strange notion of presidential legacies:

The official offered a hopeful note, adding that a nuclear deal with Iran — which some reports say could come as soon as Sunday — could be a turning point for the region. “The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region,” the official said.

Pay no heed to the slow-motion implosion of our entire foreign policy posture; think about the magical, "legacy-setting" effects of an Iran deal. This unnamed State Department source is right about one thing: A terrible deal with Tehran would be a game-changer, just not in the way he or she thinks.  Arab powers in the region would move toward building nuclear programs of their own, the rift of distrust between the US and Israel would grow deeper, and some European allies would lose confidence in America's moral clarity and world leadership.  Meanwhile, Iran would get almost every single thing it wants, most especially keeping their nuclear program intact, but with the bonus of added international legitimacy.  The US might get a dubious promise to allow snap inspections, but most important of all, Barack Obama would get his way in the face of intense criticism.  And that's exactly how administration officials are trying to sell support for the deal to wary Democrats on Capitol Hill:


Ignore the merits. Ignore Iran's prior conduct and uniquely sinister role in world politics. Ignore the national security and geopolitical implications. Ignore Iran's ongoing "death to America" refrain. Focus on beating the Republicans. This is breathtakingly petty, partisan and reckless, even for them. Good Lord.

Latest: Reported Shooting at NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade

Early Monday morning, a shooting reportedly broke out at the National Security Agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland after several unauthorized individuals tried to gain access to the military base:

A driver of a vehicle tried to ram a gate at the National Security Agency building in Fort Meade Monday morning, resulting in a shooting, authorities say.

It is not clear if anyone has been injured. There are two vehicles with damage outside the gate.

Developing…

UPDATE: Several people have been injured:

UPDATE: And one has reportedly been killed:

Authorities say one person is dead and two people have been hospitalized following a shooting during which a vehicle tried to ram the gates of the National Security Agency in Fort Meade.

The incident happened at the NSA building off of Route 32 in Fort Meade around 9:30 a.m.

UPDATE: It appears two people were indeed injured.

UPDATE: The suspects were...two cross-dressing men?

Gunfire erupted Monday morning at the gate of the National Security Agency's facility at Fort Meade in Maryland when two men disguised as women in a stolen car tried to enter, sources said.

A guard intervened and shot at least one of the men in the Ford Escape. A search of the vehicle turned up a gun and some drugs.

UPDATE: Here's a photo of the crime scene:

UPDATE: A single fatality has been confirmed:

A senior U.S. official says preliminary reports from the scene at Fort Meade, Md., indicate one person is dead after a car with two people tried to ram a gate at the base.

The official says a firefight ensued after the car tried to crash the gate, and at least one of the two people in the car is dead. Fort Meade is home of the National Security Agency.

UPDATE: For now, at least:

FBI says shooting at NSA gate at Fort Meade not believed to be related to terrorism.

UPDATE: More details:

Video: The Very Worst of Harry Reid


Enthusiasts of honesty, good manners, and functional politics received excellent news on Friday, when Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced his decision not to seek re-election in 2016. Reid was expected to be one of the Senate Democrats' most vulnerable incumbents in the coming cycle, with national Republicans taking aim  at the Nevadan early and often. In light of his forthcoming departure, holding that seat could prove challenging for Reid's party, thus imperiling their chances at regaining an upper chamber majority. Though it's true that the caliber of Senate Democrats' top leadership won't improve drastically after Reid's retirement (this guy and this guy will be left to run the show), his exit from the political stage is an outcome worth celebrating in and of itself.  Let's walk down memory lane together and recall some of the incidents that have secured Harry Reid's spot among the most contemptible members of the United States Congress.  This 'top ten' list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a start:

(1) That time he claimed, with a straight face, that paying taxes is "voluntary:"


(2) That time he completely baselessly accused Mitt Romney of tax evasion on the Senate floor -- with the Obama campaign's blessing:


"The word's out!"  Reid also remarked that Romney had "sullied" the Mormon faith, also opining that the Republican's father would be "embarrassed" by him. These nasty attacks proved too much even for Jon Stewart.

(3) Those approximately 17,000 times he ripped the Koch brothers by name, going so far as to call them "un-American," which usually raises gales of protest from the Civility Police when ideologies are reversed:


(4) That time when Reid -- whose party refused to even propose annual budgets throughout most of his time at the helm -- attacked "mean-spirited" (and minuscule) GOP-offered budget cuts as devastating to, uh, cowboy poets:


(5) That time Reid claimed that every single Obamacare horror story was a lie, prompting a furious rebuttal from yours truly. Public polling continues to show that many more Americans were directly harmed by the law than were helped:


(6) That time Reid, a promiscuous player of the race card, praised Barack Obama for being "light skinned" and lacking a "Negro dialect:"


(7) That time when Reid tipped his hand on 'shutdown theater' in 2013, after being asked why he opposed a Republican proposal to re-open parts of the government on a piecemeal basis.  On the subject of NIH funding, CNN's Dana Bash asked, "if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn't you do it?" To which Reid replied, "why would we want to do that?"


(8) That time Reid got super rich during his tenure as a supposed "public servant" on a government salary, thanks to a series of remarkably successful investments:

Try this thought experiment. Imagine that someone grows up in poverty, works his way through law school by holding the night shift as a Capitol Hill policeman, and spends all but two years of his career as a public servant. Now imagine that this person’s current salary — and he’s at the top of his game — is $193,400. You probably wouldn’t expect him to have millions in stocks, bonds, and real estate. But, surprise, he does, if he’s our Senate majority leader, whose net worth is [now] between 3 and 10 million dollars, according to OpenSecrets.org.

(9) That time Harry Reid wondered how any one with brown skin could be a Republican, echoing President Obama's divisive "punish our enemies" sentiment:


(10) That time when Reid, having detonated the nuclear option on filibuster rules as majority leader, suddenly reclaimed his deep commitment to the practice after being relegated to the minority.  Click through for a fuller accounting of his shamelessness on Senate procedure. 


And as an added bonus, we mustn't forget those times (i.e. right now) when Reid stood in the way of several bipartisan bills, including one designed to combat sex trafficking, in a radical effort to undermine a longstanding precedent against taxpayer-funded abortion -- a practice he claims to oppose. Enjoy spending more time with your beloved pomegranate trees, Senator.

“Ferguson: The Play” Lets Audience Be the Jury

The controversy surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year is now going to be depicted onstage. While a grand jury declared Officer Darren Wilson was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Brown, riots decrying racial injustice ensued not only through the city, but nationwide. Now, for the first time ever, actors will recreate the events of that turbulent night in a verbatim drama, Ferguson: The Play.

The purpose of FERGUSON is to reveal the truth about what really happened on August 9, 2015 in Ferguson, MO and to look at why and how the Grand Jury came to the decision they did. FERGUSON is a staged version of the Grand Jury testimony exactly as they heard it. But this time the audience gets to be the Grand Jury. The performances in Los Angeles will be dramatized staged readings with interactive voting. Every night the audience will decide who's telling the truth, decide who's lying, and decide if they would indict Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. How will you vote?

Ferguson is being produced by journalist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer. You may recognize him as the filmmaker behind Gosnell: The Movie, a TV film currently in production which will expose late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ abortion clinic. He, along with wife and filmmaker Ann McElhinney and journalist Magdalena Segieda, embarked on the campaign because they were dismayed with the lack of media attention devoted to Gosnell’s evil deeds. Their historic project became the most successful crowd funded movie ever on IndieGoGo.com.

McAleer’s passion to provide audiences with the full story has once again inspired his latest project. Too many times did MSNBC, CNN and the like spin the narrative to suggest Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson aimed his gun at Brown because of his racist prejudices. Lost in these headlines, was the fact that Brown robbed a convenience store right before his encounter with Wilson. McAleer is intent on offering an accurate account of the incident in his new play, one that is not preoccupied with setting an agenda.

“I want to bring the truth about what happened that day to the stage,” says McAleer, a celebrated journalist and filmmaker. “I think audience members will be very surprised, even shocked, when they hear the clear and unaltered truth about the events that took place on Aug. 9, 2014. There are a lot of myths and half-truths circulating about the shooting. FERGUSON is a chance to dispel these once and for all.”

One of those myths was that Michael Brown pleaded, “Hands up, don’t shoot!" before Officer Wilson fired the fatal blow. That turned out to be a flat out lie. In reality, eyewitness accounts report that Brown punched the policeman and tried to grab his firearm.

The incident has left national tension in its wake and therefore this play is already destined to be controversial. Yet, kudos to McAleer for doing the mainstream media’s job and giving audiences the facts, not just “everything that’s fit to print.”

Ferguson will be performed at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, California from April 26-29. The crowd funding campaign expires May 2.

If the play is successful, McAleer said they may try to bring the play to New York - and even Ferguson itself.

NBC Sued For Libel And Slander After Comparing Tannerite Target Company to Terrorists, Killing Americans

Last week NBC reporter Jeff Rossen aired a report on The Today Show and Today.com claiming the company Tannerite, a small business that sells rifle targets, is a threat to national security and that "bombs" are for sale at your local sporting goods store. Rossen added to the drama by telling Twitter followers he was in intense pain ahead of the air date, but implied he was sucking it up because the report was just too important.  

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But it wasn't just Rossen's back pain that was intense, the lies in his report were too. Rossen's claims about bombs being for sale at your local sporting goods store aren't true. Despite his claims, Tannerite only goes off when struck by a high velocity rifle round moving at more than 2,000 feet-per-second. It isn't comparable to the bomb used in Oklahoma City or those used by terrorists overseas to kill Americans. 

Tannerite cannot be set off with a lit fuse, open flame, or electricity. It cannot be set off by dropping it or striking it. It will not go off if shot with a .22LR rifle, or any common handgun caliber.

It is not a “bomb” as Rossen and Today Show anchors claimed and Tannerite is suing over it. Bob Owens over at Bearing Arms has the exclusive

NBC News and a local affiliate have being slapped with a libel and slander lawsuit for March, 23, 2015 report that aired on Today (also known as The Today Show) entitled, “Bombs for Sale? Popular Stores Sell ‘Dangerous Explosives.'”

Attorneys representing Tannerite Sports filed suit against NBC Universal News Group (NBCU) and Lexington, KY-based WLEX Communications for libel and slander for allegedly defamatory print and video reports from NBC News national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen.
Mendelsohn, Drucker, & Dunleavy, P.C. is the firm representing Tannerite Sports in the case, and alleges the following defamatory claims (PDF) were made by NBC News:

-On March 23, 2015, Defendant NBCU released a defamatory “report” that falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s rifle targets are “bombs for sale.”
-In a related video, Defendant NBCU’s investigative reporter falsely asserted that “I am basically holding a bomb in my hand.”
-NBCU’s report contains one or more written false statements that were intended to impugn Plaintiff’s rifle targets and Plaintiff’s reputation in the hunting industry.
-Plaintiff’s rifle targets are not bombs and are not well-suited for use as weapons.
-A bomb is a weapon that is illegal to make. In the United States, manufacturing a bomb requires numerous federal licenses.

Federal guidelines allow consumers to mix and shoot Tannerite®-brand rifle targets for personal, non-commercial use as targets.

The suit alleges that the NBC report constitutes statements that “were made maliciously, intentionally, and with reckless disregard for the truth,” that NBC News published “defamatory statements with malice,” and that the video and print reports ” have, in fact, directly and proximately harmed,” Tannerite Sports.

Be sure to also check out Owens' post thoroughly debunking Rossen's claims and the NBC report here.

It Sounds Like Martin O’Malley Is Going To Run For President

UPDATE: Via Mediaite: Pardon the omission; O'Malley gave a really awkward answer to a question about the threats facing the United States.  After trying to dodge the question from host George Stephanopoulos, O'Malley finally said it was nuclear Iran and related "extremist violence," but his delivery didn't exude any confidence. 

Original post below:

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley pretty much announced he was running for president on ABC News’ This Week, saying “Let's be honest here, the presidency is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people.” He also said we needed new perspectives and new leadership, leaving host George Stephanopoulos commenting if this was his 2016 announcement.

Right now, O’Malley has zero percent of the vote in Iowa. Yet, if you look at his record, he’s someone who can potentially siphon votes from Hillary, specifically from the progressive wing. Some say he should be taken seriously, though it’s unknown if he has the political infrastructure and fundraising capability to stay competitive with the Clintons. Yet, his middle class upbringing could resonate with Democratic voters turned off by Hillary’s perceived limousine liberal personality. In 2013, the National Journal  wrote that he wanted to be part of the “2016 conversation;” his interview on ABC News this morning confirms that:

He was a middle-class, suburban Washington kid who chose to build a political career in one of the grittiest, most troubled cities in America, with all the challenges and risks that entailed. He spent eight years on the Baltimore City Council and seven as mayor before moving to Annapolis to begin two terms as governor in January 2007. O’Malley has been closely identified with statistics-based governing in both of his executive positions: CitiStat to improve management and services in Baltimore; StateStat to do the same across Maryland; even BayStat to revive the Chesapeake Bay. Fusing passion with dispassion, he has deployed numbers to fight crime and pollution, to win approval for gambling casinos and gun restrictions, to pass tuition breaks for illegal immigrant students, and even to repeal the death penalty.

At the same time, over the past few years, he has steadily ascended in national politics—as a key supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton and later Barack Obama in 2008, as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in 2011 and 2012, and as a prominent media spokesman for Obama and Democrats during the 2012 presidential campaign. He continues in a DGA leadership role as finance chairman, an ideal job for someone who might need to raise a lot of money for a presidential campaign in a year or two.

Whether O’Malley has the charisma and fundraising prowess to make a serious bid is unclear at this point. He does have some noteworthy assets. Maryland is at the top of numerous lists rating metrics such as education and innovation. O’Malley has been on many lists of rising stars over the past decade. In 2009, Governing magazine cited his data-based management style in naming him a public official of the year. This year, in its May/June issue, Washington Monthly called him “arguably the best manager in government today.”

Over at the Daily Beast, Jonathan Miller also touted O’Malley’s record of accomplishment, which should surely please liberals:

O’Malley’s record as governor of Maryland, and before that mayor of Baltimore, provides plenty of manna to nourish starving progressives. Long before his immigration comments, the Governor punched through a succession of liberal hot-buttons: Marriage equality? Check. Gun control? Check. Death penalty repeal? Check. Decriminalizing pot and legalizing medical marijuana? Check and check. Some might argue that he’s even been too liberal for solid blue Maryland. In fact, some do, and vociferously: Discontented residents of four western counties have been pushing an initiative for months to secede from the rest of the state.

O’Malley has ticked off plenty of liberals as well. Inheriting a $1.7 billion structural deficit and then plunging into the headwinds of the Great Recession, the Governor pushed through more than $9.5 billion in budget cuts, requiring sizable state employee layoffs, and the downsizing of critical health and transportation programs. And the state’s largest public employee unions expressed considerable displeasure with O’Malley’s signature pension reform efforts

Overall, however, O’Malley can point to a fiscal track record that most progressives would embrace: investing record sums in education to produce the nation’s top ranked public schools five years in a row and lowest college tuition hikes since 2007; expanding the earned income tax credit and increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; and recovering all of the jobs lost in the national recession.

He also has been known to criticize his own party. O’Malley has been hailed as one of immigration’s biggest allies by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), a vocal supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. He disagreed with the Obama White House’s decision to fast track the deportation process for unaccompanied minors that arrived in droves at the U.S. border last year.

Yet, while O’Malley might sound good with Democrats souring on Clinton and how feel the administration hasn’t delivered on immigration, the general electorate might be weary of a hard core liberal record dotted with higher taxes. Oh, and a plurality of Americans felt that those unaccompanied minors should be deported as soon as possible.

Yet, O’Malley could pivot by citing that he’s shrunk the state government workforce to its lowest levels (per capita) since 1973. Still, O’Malley, like Hillary, is a polarizing figure when it comes to his record. As the Baltimore Sun wrote, “O'Malley has either been a charismatic, national leader who pulled Maryland through an economic recession or a tax-and-spend liberal who went too far.”

The latter seems to have been on the minds of Maryland voters last year when they decided to elect Republican Larry Hogan as O’Malley’s successor, who has begun, according to Alec MacGillis of Slate, to dismantle the governor’s legacy:

Hogan is now hard at work seeking to undermine O’Malley’s legacy on any number of fronts—reversing his cleanup policies for the Chesapeake Bay, steering transportation money into highways instead of public transit, and, most of all, proposing deep cuts to the state’s K–12 schools, whose high performance O’Malley invoked in the very first line of his lackluster speech at the 2012 Democratic convention.

O’Malley’s legacy is also at risk in Baltimore in a more particular way. His proudest accomplishment there was the implementation of “CitiStat,” an attempt to bring to all municipal services the kind of data-heavy accountability that transformed policing in New York City and other cities, including Baltimore.

As the Baltimore Sun reported last weekend, CitiStat has seriously atrophied under the city’s current mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. She has had her own successes as mayor, and Baltimore is by many measures doing even better than it was under O’Malley, but CitiStat has not been a priority for her as it was under him—while he may have raised expectations for city services in a lasting way, his institutional transformation has been less durable.

O’Malley is hardly the first person to run for president when the state or city he once led is under a regime that is leading it in a different direction (Gov. Deval Patrick was running Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was on the ballot in 2012; Gov. Rick Scott, while of the same party as Jeb Bush, is challenging his legacy in Florida.) But the cost of the dismantled legacy is potentially greater for O’Malley, precisely because he is planning to run almost exclusively as a manager-who-gets-results. He won’t be pointing national campaign reporters to his dazzling speeches, his vision for the country, or his inspiring life story (he comes from a solidly middle-class background in the Washington suburbs); rather, he’ll be pointing them to his managerial legacy in the city and state that he led. And if those legacies take a hit—if, say, there is no bona fide CitiStat meeting for the national media to attend in Baltimore—that is a problem.

We shall see what happens, but delivering “dazzling speeches” surely isn’t one of Mr. O’Malley strengths.

Nevertheless, decision time for O'Malley is coming soon.

The Deal: Iran Nuclear Talks Approaching The March 31 Deadline

The March 31 deadline for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program is approaching, and the best the parties involved could do in 18 months is draft an outline, according to Reuters. Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that all sides involved have exhibited “flexibility,” but the divides are still deep amongst the negotiating parties. Politico cited British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond saying a deal with Iran would be a “vague, unwritten” agreement. The White House even admitted that the deal probably won't be in writing. Additionally, the United States says it has put the burden of compromise on the Iranians. The Iranians made it clear that the last few hurdles in this developing deal isn’t just for them to resolve alone (via CNN):

“We have come here with very clear decisions that we have made, and we have expectations that our partners also would be deciding likewise on the key issues," said Hamid Baeedinejad, a senior member of the Iranian delegation. "Now basically it is out [sic] partners that should makes those tough decisions that are necessary for concluding this part of the negotiations."

The Hill has a pretty good rundown of the talks that began 18 months ago. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia (P5+1) want Iran to accept caveats to their nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions that have damaged its economy. Iran says the program is for civilian purposes, the other nations think that it’s for building nuclear weapons. Iran would agree to a 10-year freeze to their program if sanctions were lifted immediately; Ayatollah “Death to America” Ali Khameni has agreed to this if the latter is honored. Yet, the other nations want a gradual lifting of the sanctions.

Here are the things to consider:

Iranian leaders face domestic pressure to push for quick sanctions relief. Restrictions on the nation’s energy and financial sectors caused Iran’s gross domestic product to shrink by 5 percent in 2013, the first time its economy contracted in two decades.

But Western nations want sanctions relief to happen slowly. Sanctions are the greatest leverage they have in the negotiations, and experts believe once they are lifted, it won’t be easy to reimpose them if Iran violates terms of the agreement.

Undoing the complex system of sanctions will not be easy. President Obama has the power to lift a limited number of sanctions on Iran on his own. But an act of Congress would be required to lift all of them.

In addition, there are United Nations and European Union sanctions that would need to be waived.

The inspections would last indefinitely, even after the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity expire, national security adviser Susan Rice said earlier this month.

But critics of the deal fear that the inspections are a toothless method to ensure Iran does not build a bomb. In the past, Iran has refused to allow inspectors to examine its nuclear sites.

As Guy mentioned, the U.S. is considering allowing Iran to maintain centrifuges in an underground bunker, which wasn’t the original P5+1 position:

A draft version of the deal obtained by the Associated Press last week would limit Iran to 6,000 centrifuges, the machines that produce enriched uranium, at its main enrichment site at Natanz.

In addition, the U.S. is considering allowing Iran to operate hundreds more at a fortified, underground bunker at Fordo as long as they are not used to enrich uranium, according to the AP. The P5+1 nations initially wanted all centrifuges eliminated from that facility.

Iran currently operates 10,000 centrifuges at Natanz alone.

Oh, and they’ve rejected the U.N. Atomic Energy Agency’s request for snap inspections of its nuclear sites.

We shall see what happens next week, but House Speaker John Boehner isn’t optimistic about the outcome of these negotiations, and said that Congress will move “very” quickly to impose new sanctions on Iran if things fall through:

"I just don't understand why we would sign an agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of keeping their word," Boehner said.

Asked how quickly the House would move to further sanctions against Iran if no deal is reached, Boehner responded: "Very."

"Listen, the sanctions were working," he said. "They would have never come to the table -- and frankly, we should have kept the sanctions in place so that we could have gotten to a real agreement. And the sanctions are going to come and they're going to come quick."

Boehner is set to travel to Israel this week, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's been skeptical of the Iran nuclear negotiations, just won re-election.

As Conn wrote earlier last week, the Obama administration has caved to a multitude of Iranian demands, which has some scratching their heads as to who has leverage in these talks; Obama or Iran?

Over the past week alone, U.S. negotiators reportedly have conceded to Iran: 1) the need for a written agreement; 2) the ability of Iran to use nuclear centrifuges underground; and 3) the need for Iran to disclose the full range of its current nuclear capabilities.

Obama's Middle East strategy is premised on "transforming" the current Iranian government by ending sanctions on Iran. This means that Obama wants the sanctions on Iran lifted just as badly as Ayatollah Khamenei.

Now, granted, Obama and Khamenei have very different ideas about what the outcome of the end of sanctions will be. Obama believes an Iran without economic sanctions will lead to if not Kamanei's demise, than it least the marginalization of him and his followers. Khamenei, on the other hand, believes an Iran without sanctions will allow his regime to strengthen their control over not just Iran, but also the entire Middle East.

Who has a better understanding of Iran, its politics, its people, and the impact of ending economic sanctions? Is it Khamenei, who has ruled his country for over two decades? Or is it Obama, who honestly thought the power of his own celebrity could save Democrats from crushing defeat in 2010? We'll see.

The answer to that question is ultimately irrelevant though when judging who currently has more leverage in the nuclear weapons talks. Since both Obama and Iran want sanctions on Iran to be lifted, Obama has no way to force any real concessions from Iran on nuclear issues. His threat to continue the current sanctions, or enact new ones, are hollow. Everyone knows he wants the sanctions lifted anyway. Why should Iran concede anything?

That's why they are not.

Obama has cleared his schedule next week in preparation of a deal.  

Over at the New York Times, Ross Douthat elaborates more on Obama’s mess in the Middle East:

This administration has been persistently surprised by Middle East developments, and its self-justifications alternate between the exasperated (why don’t you try it if you’re so smart?) and the delusional (as soon as we get the Iran deal, game changer, baby!).

In a Pax Americana system, the United States enjoys a dominant position within a network of allies and clients; actors outside that network are considered rogues and threats, to be restrained and coerced by our overwhelming military might. Ideally, over time our clients become more prosperous and more democratic, the benefits of joining the network become obvious, and the military canopy both expands and becomes less necessary.

Our withdrawal from Iraq and light-footprint approach to counterterrorism, our strange dance with Bashar al-Assad, our limited intervention against ISIS — they all aim at a more “offshore” approach to the Middle East’s problems. Likewise, the long-sought détente with Iran, which assumes that once the nuclear issue is resolved, Tehran can gradually join Riyadh, Cairo and Tel Aviv in a multipolar order.

There are two problems. First, offshore balancing offers the most benefits when your entanglements are truly minimal, but it’s very hard for a hegemon to simply sidle offstage, shedding expectations and leaving allies in the lurch. And when you’re still effectively involved everywhere, trying to tip the balance of power this way and that with occasional airstrikes, it’s easy to end up in a contradictory, six-degrees-of-enmity scenario, with no clear goal in mind.

Second, multipolar environments are often more unstable and violent, period, than unipolar ones.

But in the world as it exists, what we have is an administration that wants to believe it’s getting us out, but a region that’s inexorably, inevitably pulling us back in.

Adding to the sentiment is the fact that Saudi Arabia, Turkey,and–at the time–Mubarak's Egypt would probably start their own nuclear weapons programs if Iran gets the bomb. This means the collapse the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and a renewed arms race in ISIS' neighborhood. That's frightening.

UPDATE: Iranian negotiators say deal is "doable." Two or three things still need to be revolved.