tipsheet
Matt Vespa - Oh Great! A Protestor Waving Hezbollah's Flag Outside Israeli Embassy
Posted: 7/12/2014 4:20:00 PM EST

On July 11, Stephen Gutowski of the Capitol City Project covered an anti-Israel rally, where he spotted man waving a Hezbollah flag.

They decided to ask him about it and got a rather disturbing response (via Capitol City Project):

When the Capitol City Project asked why he was carrying the flag the protester responded that “in 2006 Hezbollah did something which no other resistance group was able to do against Israel. And that was defeat an Israeli Zionist army”. “At this point the only Israel, unfortunately, is able to understand is armed resistance,” he continued.

I don’t have a Hamas flag but I would’ve been waving a Hamas flag, Islamic Jihad flag” the man said. “Because these are people that, just like the IRA before them, just like the Russians against the Nazis, just like the Americans here in this country, it was armed resistance that gave them their freedom,” he contended.

He said that armed resistance is “just one aspect of achieving the freedom.” “BDS [Boycott, Disinvestment, and Sanctions] is also something that will be able to achieve that” the activist claimed.

So, I take it this guy isn’t a fan of Sodastream either.

Cortney O'Brien - Walking For Life
Posted: 7/12/2014 3:26:00 PM EST

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the July issue of Townhall Magazine.

After months of studying and cramming, most college students spend their summers going to the beach, taking road trips, or catching up on naps. But, for the young adults who take part in Crossroads Walk, vacations are dedicated to marching for unborn babies. James Nolan is the current president of Crossroads and he is ecstatic that the pro-life organization is entering its 20th year. He shared their backstory with Townhall Magazine.

“We started in 1995. Some students from Franciscan University in Steuben- ville, Ohio got together after St. John Paul II challenged the world to spread the gospel of life. They decided to take that call, literally. For some of them, that was their primary goal.”

Fifteen of those inspired young people started a walk from San Francisco to the nation’s capital. Now, 15 has become several hundred thousand, and one walk has expanded to three. Every May through August, participants lead pro-life pilgrimages from Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, passing through 36 states before all ending in Washington, D.C. Dozens of colleges throughout the country take part in these lifesaving events and Nolan estimates that each group covers about 10,000-15,000 miles. But, they don’t just do it for the exercise. On weekends, the groups pray and counsel in front of abortion clinics and speak at churches.

Nolan deems it important to combat the culture of death, which he says is becoming prevalent in Western society. But, he is still hopeful based on some promising statistics.

“One thing we like to say, is there’s a big increase in support for pro-life issues. Polls over the last few years are indicating that the majority of Americans are pro-life, over 50 per- cent. We’ve been seeing that trend. Now, we run into very little resistance. We have an overwhelming amount of support.”

Nolan insists this is significant, for his groups are “not shy” about where they stand on the abortion issue.

“If you see the t-shirts, they say in huge letters that cover your entire chest: ‘Pro-Life.’ People can see it from like a quarter of a mile away. It’s hard to miss.”

He then stressed what he considers Crossroads’ ultimate identity.

“We’re not an anti-abortion organization, we’re a pro-life organization. There’s a big distinction. Because if you’re pro- life, you’re for the culture of life, standing up for the value and dignity of each person without exceptions, from the beginning all the way until their actual death. We’re seeing the culture of death beginning to wane, but breathing its last heavy breath coming out more in the open as the desperation sets in.”

That’s where Crossroads comes in. Nolan explained how the organization is helping to bring more people into the pro-life movement.

“We’ve seen amazing conversions on the issue of life, some almost instantaneous. Especially because it’s young people, it’s very attractive. Even pro-choice people are intrigued, drawn in by it. After that, you see a change of mind, they’re able to look at the issue differently.”

He then shared a couple of moving examples to prove how these walks are working in action.

“We were walking in the middle of a desert and a vehicle drove out of nowhere in Nevada. No gas station in 50 miles either direction. The mother was taking her daughter to Los Angeles for an abortion. They saw us walking with the pro-life t-shirts. They pulled over and asked what we were doing. After a half hour discussion, they changed their mind.”

The Crossroads president revealed another encouraging testimony from someone who approached the pro-life walkers after a church service.

“He said the day before he had been driving a relative to get an abortion and saw us praying in front of [the] clinic. He said they couldn’t go in. They changed their mind and decided to go to the hospital and get an ultrasound. They found out she was pregnant with twins.”

Nolan assured Townhall that the pro-life efforts of Crossroads participants don’t end when the walks do.

“We have a lot of people we know, one of our former staff members adopted two or three Down syndrome babies, just to bring awareness to that and to protect these children, let people know that they’re wanted. A lot of former walkers move on to other pro-life efforts, such as in politics.”

The organization also conducts walks in Ireland, Australia, and Canada. So, you could say they are literally walking across the globe to save precious children from the horrors of abortion. Crossroads offers young people the opportunity to make much more of an impact than just spending their summers on the couch. Who needs to save energy when you can save lives? •

Matt Vespa - Gun Control Is Just One Of The Many Problems With Chris Christie
Posted: 7/12/2014 2:52:00 PM EST

There’s some talk about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie becoming a viable contender for the 2016 Republican nomination. That is until you look at his record on Second Amendment rights. Yes, many in the base know Gov. Christie is a squish on gun rights. And, that might be why his candidacy could end before it begins.

We already nominated a moderate, Northeastern Republican in 2012. Let’s not make the same mistake twice.

Like defending life, support for the Second Amendment makes up one off the cornerstones of American conservatism. Earlier this month, Gov. Christie vetoed a magazine reduction bill, which is a good thing.

But, last week the Daily Beast published a piece that showed how Mr. Christie really feels about gun rights:

Christie’s first two campaigns were run on his support of New Jersey’s assault weapons ban, in place since 1990, which includes the 15-round magazine cap.

In April 1993, the future governor (then just a lawyer) announced he would run for the State Senate. He told the Star-Ledger, “The issue which has motivated me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal New Jersey’s ban on assault weapons...In today’s society no one needs a semiautomatic assault weapon...We already have too many firearms in our communities.” Christie said that while he absolutely supported the right to bear arms, he would prevent any “weakening” of existing gun laws. The campaign only lasted a week.

In 1995, Christie, while serving as a county Freeholder, mounted a campaign for the State Assembly. He teamed up with Richard Merkt, then a legislative aide, to give running on assault weapons another go. Today, Merkt says that he just “went along” with Christie on the issue. Team Christie, he told The Daily Beast, “took control of that whole process.” The process including distributing mailers attacking the duo’s two main opponents, the vulnerable incumbent, Anthony Bucco, and a prominent conservative voice in the district, Michael Patrick Carroll. The mailers deemed repealing the ban on automatic assault weapons “dangerous,” “crazy,” and “radical.”

“He was basically kind of mocking the Second Amendment people,” Merkt said. “I think he thought the Second Amendment issue was kind of a joke, and was not significant.”

Christie and Merkt lost, with Christie coming in fourth place.

On top his abysmal record on the Second Amendment, there’s the fact that New Jersey is one of the worst states for business; its property taxes have continued to rise; and its tax projections left the state budget with a $800 million dollar shortfall. These are hardly accomplishments to be running on a national ticket.

So, it seems that while being for gun control, which is anathema to the base (and rightfully so) could derail Christie’s presidential ambitions; his economic record isn’t much to write home about either.

Greg Hengler - MSNBC Guest on Immigration: Catholic Help is Good as Long as They Don't Talk Jesus
Posted: 7/11/2014 5:53:00 PM EST

Another way to say what Lehigh University Professor, Dr. Monica Miller said is, "You're free to believe what you want as long as you don't share or live-out your beliefs in any way."

This is one of the Left's favorite mantras.

Greg Hengler - Would Burger King Make A Wrapper Celebrating Husbands and Wives?
Posted: 7/11/2014 5:22:00 PM EST

On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:

Michael Medved spoke with Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Tom Cotton with Hugh Hewitt on Obama's national security. Historian and all-around ridiculously smart guy Sam Tanenhaus with Hewitt on the production and distribution of conservative ideas. Medved on Obama's presidential ranking among presidents since WWII. Dennis Prager on Burger King's pro-homosexual Whopper wrapper. Mike Gallagher talks with Ann Coulter about her recent controversial World Cup soccer columns. Prager says that attempts to remove "Redskins" from the NFL team is a leftist issue, not an American Indian one.

Matt Vespa - It's Not Over Yet
Posted: 7/11/2014 4:30:00 PM EST

With the allegations of voter fraud stacking up in the aftermath of the Mississippi runoff, where does the McDaniel campaign go from here? Hypothetically, let’s say these allegations are true: It’s reprehensible; it’s outrageous; and legal action should be taken promptly. That being said, McDaniel could have a lot of evidence to present in court, but it seems that time is running our for Sen. Thad Cochran’s Tea Party challenger, who apparently is also lacking the funds for a legal fight (via Associated Press):

A tight timeline and potential cash crunch could make it impossible for tea party-backed Chris McDaniel to overturn his Republican primary loss to six-term Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

McDaniel has called the outcome a sham and excoriated Cochran on television and talk radio for seeking votes from "liberal Democrats." While McDaniel stops short of mentioning race, Mississippi is a state where Democrat is often synonymous with black. Cochran says there's nothing wrong with seeking support from Democrats and independents — it's something he's done for decades.

McDaniel faces daunting obstacles. In addition to the difficulty of proving widespread illegal voting, state law and state history also may work against him.

When McDaniel goes to court to seek a new election, he will have to show evidence to substantiate his claims of widespread illegal voting, which he has not done so far, or persuade a judge that the election was so sloppily conducted that a new runoff should be ordered.

Money is a problem, too. Even after the Senate Conservatives Fund wired McDaniel $70,000 for his challenge, he begged for money. "We don't currently have the resources to mount the legal challenge that this case deserves," McDaniel wrote Wednesday in the latest of several emails soliciting donations.

State law and state history also make a successful challenge by McDaniel a long shot at best.

Mississippi law requires McDaniel to file his first election challenge with the state Republican executive committee. His campaign attorney, Mitch Tyner, said that is likely to happen next week. Ten days later, McDaniel could file a lawsuit in any county where he believes problems occurred. The state Supreme Court would appoint a special judge.

The general-election sample ballot must be given to local election officials by Sept. 10, which is 55 days before the Nov. 4 general election. That squeezes the time for a lawsuit and a new primary runoff.

Nevertheless, his campaign seems to be ready to fight to the bitter end. Noel Fritsch, a spokesman for the McDaniel campaign told Townhall.com:

Given the growing number of serious allegations of criminal misconduct surrounding the primary runoff in Mississippi, conservatives here and from around the United States are coalescing around the effort to ensure the Republican Party operates primaries with integrity. We're honored to have financial support from many of those supporters. We are currently endeavoring to gain access to election records in all 82 counties, most of which have worked with us very well, but unfortunately some counties, like Jackson County and Circuit Clerk Joe Martin, are obstructing access to election records. Once we've gained access to records in all the counties, we will be able to make a decision about taking a challenge with the State Executive Committee. It's interesting to note that the Cochran campaign claims there are a small number of irregularities in counties where access to the records has not even been granted."

So, it seems like the battle for Mississippi isn’t quite over yet – at least, not for McDaniel supporters. Recently, Texas Senator Ted Cruz called for an investigation into the alleged voter discrepancies in Mississippi and Missouri GOP Chairman, Ed Martin, wants the RNC to conduct a review of the racially-charged ads that aired as well. Let's see how this plays out.

Katie Pavlich - Friday Fun: Anti-Hunters Think Director Steve Spielberg Shot a Real Dinosaur
Posted: 7/11/2014 4:20:00 PM EST

There has been no shortage of insane anti-hunting idiocy lately, but things just got a lot worse. Director Steven Spielberg is being accused of shooting a Triceratops. Why?

It all started when someone name Jay Branscomb posted this photo on Facebook as a joke. The caption reads, "Disgraceful photo of recreational hunting happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man."

But people took it seriously and actually believe Spielberg shot and killed the dinosaur. Here are some examples.

Anti-hunting derangement syndrome strikes again. Whoever you are Jay Branscomb, I salute you.

H/T New York Daily News

Townhall Magazine - Is a New Housing Bubble Possible?
Posted: 7/11/2014 3:43:00 PM EST

Editor's note: In the July issue of Townhall Magazine, where this column originally appeared, AEI's Alex J. Pollock explains why now is definitely not the time for the Fed or politicians to promote further rapid house price inflation.

Would it be possible to have a new housing bubble? Yes, of course. How long does it take to forget the lessons of the last crisis? By the historical record, about 10 years, and it is already eight years since the peak of the great U.S. housing bubble of 1999-2006, and five years since the end of the financial crisis of 2007-2009. As former-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wittily observed, “About every 10 years, we have the biggest crisis in 50 years.”

Real estate is often at the center of financial crises, both here and in other countries, because it has the most leverage, that is, the most debt relative to value, of any economic sector. This makes it vulnerable to cyclical downturns in which prices go down when people thought they would go up. The U.S. had big real estate busts in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and of course, the 2000s. Next?

Real estate is also a huge sector, so its troubles have big financial consequences. Housing in particular is politically potent and attracts government efforts to subsidize and expand debt. Of the $9 trillion in mortgage loans in this country, the 79.9 percent government-owned and heavily subsidized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac represent $5 trillion.

When the government pushes credit at housing, it makes house prices go up. This leads to a push for yet more credit. Washington discussions are now turning to lowering mortgage loan standards to encourage more loans, especially to riskier borrowers. The Senate Banking Committee has approved a bill to have the government explicitly guarantee mortgages. The new head of the regulatory agency for Fannie and Freddie appears to be more interested in being a promoter of housing debt than a guardian of financial soundness.

All the principal central banks of the world, including the Federal Reserve, have committed themselves to perpetual inflation. They have also manipulated interest rates to extremely low levels. Central banks now routinely make what would historically have been shocking statements that inflation is too low. But they have succeeded in generating a lot of one kind of inflation: asset price inflation. This is certainly true in bonds, in stocks, in collectibles, and in houses.

Looking around the world a bit, we find this: “The biggest domestic risk is the nation’s housing market, where prices are rising fast and buyers are taking on more debt.” That was the view recently expressed by the governor of the Bank of England in discussing what one astute financial commentator called “the runaway U.K. housing market.” This is after England had a housing bubble and bust in the last decade, just like we did. The Bundesbank is worried about inflated house prices in Germany. Brazil is said to have a housing bubble. And China is already experiencing the opening stages of the painful deflation of its housing bubble. When central banks create a lot of money, it goes somewhere—often enough to house prices.

What about the U.S.? House prices on average have been rising rapidly since the 2012 bottom. The fourth quarter 2013 Case-Shiller 20-major city house price index was up 13 percent for the year. The broader 380-market CoreLogic-Case-Shiller Index was up 11 percent for the same period. From their trough, national average house prices are up about 20 percent. On the other hand, they are still 21 percent below their 2006 peak—not that we want to get back there anytime soon! Overall, does the current level look too high or too low? We need some historical perspective.

 photo ScreenShot2014-06-30at33809PM_zpsaf5e0e19.png

Graph 1 is the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index from its beginning in 1987. The bubble, the ensuing shrivel, and the recovery are readily apparent. The trend line is based on the period 1987-1999—the trend is about 3 percent annual price increases. The recent price increases have brought us just about back to the trend line.

Graph 2 gives us a lot more history—60 years, back to 1953. It compares the growth in the consumer price index to estimated national average house prices, with the egregious bubble obvious. The strong correlation of house prices to inflation is also obvious. On this longer look, house prices got down just to their trend, and have now pushed back somewhat above it.

I think we can conclude that we are not at this point in a housing bubble again, but now is definitely not the time for the Fed or politicians to promote further rapid house price inflation. A new housing bubble in the future is certainly possible, but the every-10-years crisis may arise from something entirely different—something now unthought of. •

Alex J. Pollock is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. He was president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago 1991-2004.

Townhall.com Staff - Click Through to See Photos From Katie's Book Party Last Night
Posted: 7/11/2014 2:45:00 PM EST

Last night, New York Times best-selling author Katie Pavlich celebrated the release of her second book, “Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women,” in Washington, D.C. The event was attended by Townhall staffers, close friends, fellow journalists, and those, of course, whom helped bring this book to life. It was also, not so incidentally, Katie’s 26th birthday.

Hence the awesome birthday cake!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

“This is the best week of my life,” Katie said last night after graciously thanking everyone for coming:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Anyway, dear readers, be sure to check out the rest of the photos below. And of course, pick up a copy of Katie’s book if you haven’t already!

1. Jonathan Garthwaite, VP & General Manager, Townhall Media.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

2. Red State's Bryan Pruitt, Townhall editorial intern Kara Jones, and Townhall Marketing Assistant Christina DiSomma.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

3. Human Events' Teresa Mull, along with Townhall staffers Cortney O'Brien, Daniel Doherty, Rachel Williams, and Sarah Seman.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

4. Katie, Jonathan, and Townhall Managing Editor Kevin Glass havin' a good ol' time.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

5. Katie being Katie.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

6. Most of the Townhall Team.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

7. Most of the Townhall Team...take two!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

8. If you're wondering why Guy Benson is missing, he had other plans...

We forgive you, Guy. We'll catch you at the next one!

Christine Rousselle - Connecticut Mom Charged for Leaving Preteen in Car
Posted: 7/11/2014 1:50:00 PM EST

In spite of the recent tragedies of toddlers being killed or seriously hurt from being locked in a car, I guess it really isn't all that surprising that police are being extra-vigilant to protect kids from hot cars. Some cases, however, like that of a woman in Connecticut being criminally charged for leaving her daughter in a car, are downright ridiculous.

(emphasis added)

Officers were sent to 60 Middle Street on Tuesday where they said Christina Williams, 30, allegedly left her 11-year-old child inside a vehicle.

Police said the interior temperature of the car was about 85 degrees at the time they got to the scene.

When officers opened the car doors, they said the child was responsive and not in distress, and that the car was not "excessively hot."

Police said the child requested to stay inside of the car while her mother went inside a store, and Williams was located in the store and said the same thing.

The mother is due to appear in court at the end of the month.

While an 11-year-old certainly isn't entirely self-sufficient, they're certainly capable of taking care of themselves and letting themselves in and out of a car if they're about to overheat. Many 11-year-olds babysit, for instance. There's a huge difference between leaving an infant strapped in a car seat alone in a car for an extended period of time and leaving an 11-year-old in a not-overly hot car because she asked to stay there.

Williams isn't the only mother being accused of neglecting her children by leaving them safely in a car. Nickie Milem, a woman from South Carolina, is being charged with cruelty to children after she left her children in a running, air-conditioned vehicle with her sister-in-law while she ran into a grocery store.

Child endangerment is a serious crime--but not one that seems to be committed in these cases. This is the nanny state gone insane.