tipsheet
Sarah Jean Seman - Optimism to Win War on Terror Hits Decade Low
Posted: 7/30/2014 5:11:00 PM EST

The number of Americans who believe the United States is winning the War on Terror is waning fast. According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, confidence has deteriorated to its lowest point in ten years.

Just 27% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That’s down eight points from 35% in April and 47% a year ago. This figure hit a high of 62% in February 2009 just after President Obama’s inauguration, then steadily deteriorated until the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when it rebounded into the 50s.

Thirty-six percent (36%) think the terrorists are winning that war, the highest level of doubt since the late Bush years in 2007. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say neither side is winning.

The poll additionally found that 59 percent of likely voters think a global conflict exists between the Muslim and Western worlds. President Obama stated in his 2009 inaugural address that he would seek to soothe the contention and seek “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”

Kenneth Timmerman, a journalist who worked in the Middle East and the author of “Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi,” told Townhall that the Obama administration’s policy shifts have only abated Islamic countries:

The shift goes to essentially enhance radical Islamist regimes around the world, or to create them, as happened in Egypt and later in Libya. And that, I think, is what led directly to the Benghazi attacks. It showed weakness, and in the Middle East and the Muslim world, where I’ve been reporting from for the past 35 years, weakness invites attack.

The unrest in the Middle East coupled with Obama's weak foreign policy tactics hardly bode well for the future security of the United States.

Guy Benson - Lerner Emails: Conservative 'Crazies' and 'A--holes' will 'Take Down' America
Posted: 7/30/2014 4:35:00 PM EST


Lois Lerner -- faithful, impartial public servant:



That screen grab comes from an email exchange between retired IRS official Lois Lerner and a colleague just after the 2012 election. Ms. Lerner describes overhearing some women discussing the state of the nation in dire terms, prompting her correspondent to blast "whacko" and "scary" right-wing radio shows. Lerner posits that America may be "through" if "that many a--holes" exist, later adding that the US shouldn't worry about foreign terrorists because "our own crazies" will "take us down." Granted, certain quarters of the conservative radio universe are too conspiratorial and apocalyptic for many people's taste. But the same holds true at the other end of the ideological spectrum. Lerner and her friend weren't talking about the Left, though. They were hand-wringing over, and insulting, conservatives -- whom Lerner clearly despises. A virtuosic juxtaposition from T. Becket Adams:



Lerner was slandering the Right as a bunch of nutty paranoiacs while she was personally presiding over a targeting operation that basically validated conservatives' most febrile persecution complex. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, drawing this newly-released document to the DOJ's attention. He concludes:


While the Committee has not seen any evidence of a serious investigation by your Department, it is my sincere hope that in light of this new, strong evidence that you immediately begin aggressively investigating this matter or appoint a special counsel. The failure to do so will only further erode public trust in not only the IRS, but the Department as well.


I'm sure Eric Holder -- who put an Obama donor in charge of the inquiry, and who loathes conservatives as least as much as Lerner -- will get right on that. Two thoughts on this email chain: First, nobody should be surprised by its contents. Lois Lerner is a committed Statist ideologue, and has been throughout her career. She's pontificated about using government agencies to combat adverse Supreme Court decisions, she was eager to investigate a Republican Senator even when there was no legitimate cause to do so, and she's "joked" about joining left-wing organizations. Her motives for managing the anti-conservative targeting regime (which she initially lied about) aren't mysterious. These new comments merely confirm her aggressive biases in explicit and vulgar terms. Second, I'd wager that Ms. Lerner wishes she'd "scratched" another hard drive or two. One can only imagine what might lurk within the trove of "accidentally" deleted/lost/recoverable/missing emails sent by this contemptible woman of a two-year span.

Guy Benson - CA Insurance Commissioner: Individual Premiums 'Skyrocketed' in 2014
Posted: 7/30/2014 2:02:00 PM EST


Why is a partisan California Democrat making a 'statement against interest' by sounding the alarm over soaring Obamacare premiums? In order to arrogate more price-control power for himself, of course. He wants voters to approve a ballot measure that would hand the government -- and him, specifically -- the power to reject proposed rate increases deemed to be 'excessive.' Insurers oppose the measure, which they (understandably) argue would not solve the problem of higher costs -- not to mention the significant risk of providers pulling out of the market. Nevertheless, state health commissioner Dave Jones' statistics paint a picture of steep 2014 premium hikes in California. Obamacare at work:


The cost of health insurance for individuals skyrocketed this year in California, with some paying almost twice what they did last year, the state's insurance commissioner said...For 2014, consumers purchasing individual policies paid between 22% and 88% more for health insurance than they did last year, depending on age, gender, type of policy and where they lived, Jones said Tuesday. He said he has authorized a study of health insurance rates after receiving numerous complaints about rising costs. "The rate increase from 2013 to 2014, on average, was significantly higher than rate increases in the past," Jones said in a news conference in Sacramento. The hardest-hit were young people, he said. In one region of Los Angeles County, people age 25 paid 52% more for a silver plan than they had for a similar plan the year before, while someone age 55 paid 38% more, according to a report that Jones released Tuesday.


Jones cautions that the 2015 rate bumps will likely be artificially "modest," as insurance companies try to avoid a backlash at the ballot box. Keep in mind that those relatively less painful increases will come on top of 2014's "significantly higher" than usual spikes, caused by Obamacare's costly mandates. Another reason behind the hikes are the law's problematic risk pools, which are sicker and older (and therefore more expensive to cover) than the administration projected. Aetna's CEO spelled this out on CNBC, calling the demographics "worse than we expected:"



He also says that his company is experiencing "some attrition" when it comes to premium payments, meaning that some percentage of enrollees' coverage is lapsing. We've discussed premium non-payment among Obamacare's sign-ups over many months, so that isn't new. But Bertolini isn't talking about people who selected coverage but never initiated it by paying an initial premium; he's talking about people who began by paying premiums, then dropped off. One of the CNBC anchors speculates that young, healthy people have the strongest incentive to kick their plans to the curb. Let's see how this fluidity and instability impacts 2016 premiums. Bertolini also reminds viewers that the "back end operating system of the exchanges is not yet up and running." Recent reports suggest that task isn't even close to completion. Down in Louisiana, the bad news continues to roll in:


The state's largest insurer says close to 45,000 Louisiana policyholders could see the rates for their health coverage jump anywhere from 10 percent to nearly 20 percent next year, and the Affordable Care Act is a major reason. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana accounts for the bulk of those individual policies, which people buy directly from an insurance company rather than through their employer. Blue Cross spokesman John Maginnis said the Affordable Care Act expanded access to health insurance to millions of Americans, regardless of age or health status, and guaranteed richer benefits. He says those things come at a cost.


Of course they do, but that's not what the president and his Congressional foot soldiers told the American people. They claimed that Obamacare would lower everybody's rates, with reductions saving the average family $2,500. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, slammed conservatives' predictions of higher costs as "a pathetic lie" during the pre-passage debate. Now tens of thousands of her constituents are experiencing that "lie" first hand. The nationwide "summer drumbeat" isn't slowing down. Florida: "State insurance officials are preparing to release figures next week on how much health plans will cost under the Affordable Care Act for 2015, and rate increases seem inevitable as insurers say their new consumers are older and sicker than anticipated. Top executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Cigna said rate increases are likely, but declined specifics." I'll leave you with a link to Peter Suderman's definitive piece on the wonky Halbig controversy that's been raging for days. We covered the court decision when it broke last week, as well as the humiliating evidence subsequently unearthed against one of Obamacare's most prominent defenders and architects. The Left has been working like mad to recover from this embarrassment, but some of their flailing has inadvertently weakened their case.

Conn Carroll - The Conservative Case Against Boehner's Border Bill
Posted: 7/30/2014 1:25:00 PM EST

Capitol Hill conservatives are not happy with Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) $659 million response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis at the Texas-Mexico border. They are circulating a series of memos, including the one pasted below, detailing why the Boehner bill will fail to solve the problem.

From the memo:

  • The bill does not address the cause of the problem – the president’s unlawful policies, particularly DACA.
  • The bill does not actually require the president to do anything – the only thing it guarantees is that the president will get the money he requested.
  • The bill appropriates money through 2015, creating a built-in budget cliff that might require Congress to reauthorize this bill, and tracks the amount of spending ($3.7B) in the president’s request.

Further Complicates Trafficking Law

  • The bill appears to abolish voluntary return for UACs.
  • Under current law, UACs from contiguous countries are subject to voluntary return, which can be accomplished by Border Patrol in as little as one day.
  • Thus, the bill appears to put the majority – if not all – in the new court proceedings, where they are permitted to withdraw their application for admission to the U.S. at any time “in the discretion of the Attorney General.”
  • The bill creates a new seven-day court proceeding for all UACs in which an immigration judge determines whether a UAC has a claim for immigration relief.
  • If the judge determines there is a claim, then the UAC is placed in removal proceedings (issued a Notice to Appear before another immigration judge) or ordered removed – unless the UAC claims asylum.
  • However, the majority of these UACs, who we know have been coached to claim asylum, will claim a fear of persecution or state their intent to apply for asylum. At this point, the immigration judge (in the new proceeding) will simply refer the UAC to an asylum officer in the current flawed asylum system, which remains unchanged by this bill, because the bill fails to strike the initial jurisdiction provisions of the TVPRA. In fact, a UAC could potentially circumvent this entire new process by claiming asylum and going straight to a USCIS asylum officer.
  • This also allows UACs to go before an asylum officer even if an immigration judge (in the new proceeding) did not find that the UAC had a likely claim for immigration relief.
  • In addition, the bill allows UACs to take advantage of the credible fear determination process, which they are not subject to under current law because they are protected by the initial jurisdiction provisions of the TVPRA. In other words, in addition to going to an asylum adjudicator to have their case heard on the merits in a non-adversarial setting (pursuant to the initial jurisdiction provisions), they can claim asylum in another setting.
  • Perhaps most troubling, the House bill states that the DHS Secretary “shall permit” UACs who have received Notices to Appear (issued since Jan. 1, 2013) to appear before an immigration judge in the new proceeding created by the bill, move to have the NTA “replaced,” and apply for admission to the U.S. While the language is not entirely clear, it very well could result in UACs who have been ordered removed or who have failed to appear for removal proceedings and thus are fugitives to get another bite at the apple to remain in the U.S.

Creates More Loopholes in Asylum Law

  • The House bill allows five bites at the apple for those claiming asylum:
  • UACs are screened for credible fear by the Border Patrol;
  • UACs go before an immigration judge in the new court proceeding to determine if they have a claim for relief;
  • UACs are screened by an asylum officer for a credible fear of persecution;
  • UACs then have their asylum case adjudicated by any asylum officer who can only grant relief or refer the case to immigration court; and
  • If a UAC’s case is referred, the immigration judge will hear their case on the merits de novo.
  • The House bill subjects all UACs to credible fear determinations, which is not the case under current law.
  • It should be noted that as soon as a UAC claims credible fear or applies for asylum (which they have been coached to do), they can game the existing loose credible fear and asylum standards.
  • In addition to UACs, as of July 8, 2014, 55,398 family units and 268,493 single adults have been apprehended in the Rio Grande sector alone. Many family units and adults claim a credible fear of persecution to circumvent expedited removal. According to DOJ statistics, in FY13, 74% of all affirmative asylum claims were approved by immigration judges, and 65% of all UAC asylum claims were approved by USCIS asylum officers (the remainder were referred to judges to hear de novo). According to USCIS, in 2013, 92% of credible fear claims were approved on the merits and the number of credible fear claims have increased 586% since 2007.

Does Not Mandate Detention

  • The House bill does not use the word “detention” but rather “custody.” This is an important distinction because “custody” can be satisfied by transferring a UAC to HHS, which places the UAC in a non-secure setting.
  • The bill does not strike the language in current law that requires DHS to transfer custody of UACs to HHS within 72 hours; or that provides that a UAC shall be placed in “the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child;” or that a UAC “shall not be placed in a secure facility absent a determination that the child poses a danger.”
  • The bill does not change current law that requires that USCIS adjudicate claims of asylum for OTM UACs. In practice, individuals who claim asylum are released pending adjudication of their claim. This bill does not change that.
  • Importantly, the bill does not address administration policies that would require ICE to release many of these individuals from custody.
  • In reality, under the bill, those not claiming asylum will be in custody, and even then, only for seven days until the new proceeding created by the bill takes place.

Does Not Deploy the National Guard to the Border

  • The House bill does not deploy the National Guard to the border and does not require the Secretary of Defense to do so. Rather, the bill merely makes funds available for a potential deployment and states that the Guard may “provide assistance with operations on the southern border.”

The House is scheduled to vote on Boehner's border bill this Thursday. With House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) whipping hard against the bill, it is highly uncertain whether it will pass.

Greg Hengler - Obama Spends 8-Minutes Mocking and Taunting Republicans For "Not Working With Him"
Posted: 7/30/2014 1:24:00 PM EST

The President was speaking in Kansas City today and outdid his usual self with GOP mockery and taunting, and then asking them to work with him...as long as they agree with his solutions. Here's just a sampling of quotes from this 7-minute clip:

  • "Stop hatin' all the time!"
  • "Stop bein' mad all the time!"
  • "C'mon and help out a little bit!"
  • "C'mon, let's get some work done together!"
  • "I know they're not that happy that I'm president but that's okay. C'mon! HaHa! I only got a couple years left. C'mon! Let's get some work done! Then you can be mad at the next president!"
  • "We act when congress won't."
  • They're trying to sue me! "Don't boo, VOTE!"
  • "They're mad cause I'm doing my job."

Matt Vespa - Grimes: Uh, Iron Dome Protects Israelis From Underground Tunnels
Posted: 7/30/2014 12:35:00 PM EST

Senator Mitch McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has no clue what Israel’s Iron Dome is, or what it does to protect their civilians from Hamas rocket attacks. Apparently, she thinks that it prevents Hamas from attacking Israel from underground (via Lexington Herald-Ledger):

As foreign policy inches its way into a debate that has largely focused on the economy, Grimes was asked about congressional efforts to aid Israel's missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.

"Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself," Grimes said. "But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.

Well, in case you missed it, Ms. Grimes, the Iron Dome is Israel’s missile defense system that intercepts incoming rockets, specifically those coming from Hamas.

Grimes said defeating McConnell is her “number one priority.”

While vulnerable, McConnell is leading Grimes, but within the margin of error according to a new Bluegrass poll. Nevertheless, he’s virtually tied with Grimes concerning likely women voters, with forty-six percent of Kentucky women siding with him, while forty-seven percent are backing Grimes. He’s also winning the 18-34 demographic at forty-nine percent to Grimes’ forty-four percent.

Cortney O'Brien - Congressman Calls Planned Parenthood What it Is: 'Criminal'
Posted: 7/30/2014 12:30:00 PM EST

You may recall the disturbing revelation that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was rewarded for exceeding abortion expectations. Now, a similar discovery in Texas suggests these abortion quotas are more than just rumors and that Planned Parenthood is more than just "women's health care."

Abby Johnson is the former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. She claims the clinic needed to perform at least 1,135 in the 2010 fiscal year, which would generate over $350,000 in revenue.

Representative Bill Flores (R-TX) is incensed over her report and is now telling it like it is:

“While the murder of any unborn child is appalling,” said Republican Rep. Bill Flores, “even more criminal is the establishment of a target to kill over 1,100 innocent Texas children in order to meet financial targets.”

With reports like these, how can Planned Parenthood continue to call itself a "women's health" organization? Flores provided a more accurate description:

“Someday, somehow the leadership of Planned Parenthood will have to answer for their callous disregard of the sanctity of human life,” said Flores. “In the meantime, I am relieved that the Bryan abortion facility has gone out of business.”

In fact, this clinic is one of many that has closed in Texas since Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) signed sweeping pro-life legislation into law last summer.

Rep. Flores and Gov. Perry aren't alone in their fight for life. Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Diane Black (R-TN) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) are just a few Congress members willing to promote lifesaving bills and to speak up for the unborn.

I hope more politicians will take their bold lead in defeating the most misleading business in America.

Greg Hengler - Palestinian Spokesman on CNN: It's Israel vs. Palestinian Civilians--Israel Violated Ceasefire and Massacred Civilians
Posted: 7/30/2014 12:18:00 PM EST

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the founder of the Palestinian National Initiative and member of the Palestinian Parliament appeared on CNN's "This Hour" with hosts John Berman and Michaela Pereira Wednesday morning to lie distort the facts regarding the Hamas/Israeli situation. One solution he offers for fixing the problem: let the UN take care of it. Of course, the CNN hosts play the "who knows who's to blame? It's a push" card.

Katie Pavlich - History Professor: Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Should Be Celebrated Like Martin Luther King Jr. in Schools
Posted: 7/30/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

Last night on the Kelly File Baruch College History Professor Joanna Fernandez argued that unrepentant convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 by shooting him five times in the face, should be celebrated in schools just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She also argued using words like "militant" and "convicted cop killer" to describe Mumia, is racist. Another nice nugget? A California teacher's union feels the same way.

If you don't want to listen to Fernandez yell through her re-litigation of the case (as she always does when given the opportunity), you'll find her comparison of MLK to Mumia at 5:04. Also be sure you get to the 6:00 minute mark to hear the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley's entire response to the asinine comparison.

"Essentially by the end of his life, Martin Luther King like Mumia Abu Jamal, was a radical," she said.

"It's bad enough that some people on the Left want to celebrate this guy as a hero, turn him into some sort of celebrity, but I think it's even sadder, or just as sad, that they want to introduce this man to a curriculum for school children, hold him out as some kind of role model or hero for black children. That is the wrong message to send to black children. The worst kind of message to send to black children," Riley responded. "Comparing him to Martin Luther King who preached non-violence. This guy was a Black Panther, a separatist, King preached integration. There's just no comparison."

Christine Rousselle - #BornIn88: Healthcare.Gov's Creepy New Campaign for Youth Enrollment
Posted: 7/30/2014 11:12:00 AM EST

The official Facebook and Twitter accounts for Healthcare.gov have shared a series of semi-unsettling images meant to inspire parents to remind their adult children to sign up for health insurance immediately after they turn 26. As people born in 1988 will be turning the magical age of 26 (and forced to cut the cord from mommy and daddy's insurance plan) this year, the campaign is using the hashtag #BornIn88 to promote new signups.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


And the creepy, "serial killer"-esque girl version:


It should be noted that the man in the first ad picture is wearing a wedding ring, meaning he's married and still on his parents' insurance plan.

Healthcare.gov also posted a list of "26 Life Skills Every Person #BornIn88 Should Know By Now" on Buzzfeed. The eloquently-written listicle included three mentions of "cooking," among other "skills" that one would have expected the average child to have mastered by the age of seven, such as dressing oneself.

As someone who was #BornIn91, I am technically still eligible to be on my father's plan for a few more years. However, as I #GotAJob last year and #MovedOut, my father told me he was taking me off of his plan as I was now a #RealAdult. The actions of this administration have made it crystal clear that they believe my generation is a bunch of adult babies (or knuckleheads, to borrow a term from Michelle Obama) in desperate need of the comforting hand of a parent—either in the biological or governmental sense.

With large majorities of millennials disapproving of Obamacare, along with dismal sign-up rates, it's going to take more than a series of hashtags to get young people to buy into the farce that is health care reform.