Surprising no one, the White House Office of Management and Budget issued a formal veto threat Thursday for Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.
"The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 7," the Statement of Administration Policy reads. "The legislation would intrude on women's reproductive freedom and access to health care; increase the financial burden on many Americans; unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today; and restrict the District of Columbia's use of local funds, which undermines home rule."
"If the President were presented with H.R. 7, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill," the statement concludes.
Thousands of pro-life activists are set to march in Washington, DC, Thursday as part of the annual March for Life event which marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
As he did last year, Pope Francis tweeted out support for the march.
Editor's note: This column originally appeared in the January issue of Townhall Magazine.
By now you’ve heard all about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, but the story protestors and those “seeking racial justice” continue to believe and use as justification for violence is based on a lie thanks to the language and actions of professional race-baiters including, but not limited to, President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, MSNBC host Al Sharpton, and Baptist minister Jesse Jackson.
Back in August when Ferguson first gained infamy, the initial story told to the media and proliferated by race baiting activists went something like this: “An innocent, young, unarmed, gentle giant, black teenager was walking down the street with his hands up and yelling 'don’t shoot' when a blood thirsty, racist white cop shot him in the back six times.”
Fast forward three months and the facts and forensic evidence show that Michael Brown wasn’t shot in the back and it can be credibly argued that if Brown were still alive, Officer Darren Wilson wouldn’t be.
After careful analysis of evidence and hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from 60 different people, including African-Americans, a grand jury made the decision not to indict Officer Wilson in the killing of Brown. Forensic evidence shows Brown attempted to take Wilson’s gun during a fight inside the police car. It was a clear-cut self-defense case.
Regardless, the non-indictment set off a firestorm of riots and disruptive protests around the country. The first version of the Ferguson story, about a racist white cop shooting a black kid, lived on as buildings were burned to the ground and as traffic was blocked on major freeways in cities across the country.
Despite what Sharpton, Holder, Obama, Jackson and the people who follow their lead would have America believe, this case had nothing to do with race, unless of course you count Brown’s animosity against white police officers. To Attorney General Holder that doesn’t matter, the narrative does, and he’s used the Department of Justice to make sure it’s upheld.
“Michael Brown’s death was a tragedy. This incident has sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. While constructive efforts are underway in Ferguson and communities nationwide, far more must be done to create enduring trust. The Department will continue to work with law enforcement, civil rights, faith and community leaders across the country to foster effective relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to improve fairness in the criminal justice system overall,” Holder said after the grand jury announcement, reminding the media of DOJ’s separate investigation into non-existent civil rights violations in the case.
In the beginning of December, Obama used an entire day at the White House to meet with civil rights leaders about Ferguson, Sharpton included. He discussed how to “rebuild” the trust between law enforcement and local communities of color while ignoring the devastated relationship between the Department of Justice and law enforcement officers around the country since Obama and Holder took office in 2009.
“The hyper-politicization of justice issues has made it immeasurably more difficult for police officers to simply do their jobs. The growing divide between the police and the people—perhaps best characterized by protesters in Ferguson, Mo., who angrily chanted, “It’s not black or white. It’s blue!”—only benefits members of a political class seeking to vilify law enforcement for other societal failures. This puts our communities at greater risk, especially the most vulnerable among us," former FBI Assistant Director and Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund President Ron Hoskorecently wrote in a letter to President Obama. "Your attorney general, Eric Holder, is chief among the antagonists. During his tenure as the head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Holder claims to have investigated twice as many police and police departments as any of his predecessors. Of course, this includes his ill-timed decision to launch a full investigation into the Ferguson Police Department at the height of racial tensions in that community, throwing gasoline on a fire that was already burning. Many officers were disgusted by such a transparent political maneuver at a time when presidential and attorney general leadership could have calmed a truly chaotic situation."
After fanning the flames of racial tension for months, Obama and Holder had the audacity to call for calm as rioters in Missouri burned down buildings, destroyed cop cars, and trashed small businesses. All of these actions could have been avoided without the lie of “hands up, don’t shoot.”
Meanwhile, Obama and Holder failed to condemn Brown’s criminal behavior. There has been no acknowledgement from the two most powerful men in American about Brown’s criminal behavior toward Officer Wilson or about the strong armed robbery he committed against an innocent shop owner that ultimately put him in contact with Wilson in the first place. With his own criminal behavior, Brown set the stage for the looters and rioters that followed his path in the name of justice and peace. Holder and Obama are simply carrying on his legacy in order to fulfill their own racial agenda.
Despite retaining majority-control in the U.S. House of Representatives last November -- a legislative body now hailed as historically pro-life -- the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act won’t even be introduced this week as expected.
Given the symbolism of today (it is the annual March for Life in our nation's capital) pro-lifers hoped the bill would, once again, pass the lower chamber and finally be on its way to the president’s desk. Instead, a number of key Republican lawmakers completely abandoned ship last night:
Mark it down as a rare win for House GOP moderates. After scrambling into the evening on Wednesday, House Republican leaders decided to scrap a vote on a controversial anti-abortion measure scheduled to coincide with an annual gathering of anti-abortion advocates on Thursday because they couldn't round up enough support.
Two senior House GOP aides tell CNN that after discussions with members on Wednesday night they are no longer voting on the late-term abortion bill and are now voting instead on a bill banning taxpayer money for abortions.
"Some concerns were raised by men and women members that still need to be worked out," one of the aides told CNN. "Tomorrow we will vote to advance the pro-life cause and remain committed to continue working through the process on pain capable to make sure it too is successful."
But how on earth could the bill lack "enough support" if it's (a) already passed the House once and (b) Republicans still control the chamber? That makes zero sense. Over at Redstate, Erick Erickson is exceedingly unhappy with these developments and is therefore not giving Republicans a pass, calling out individual lawmakers for their deception and dishonesty:
The measure is identical to the legislation passed in 2013. But this time, with a chance of passing both the House and Senate, Congresswoman Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) worked [tirelessly] to scuttle the legislation then had the temerity to claim she actually would vote for if only it would come to the floor.
Ellmers, according to multiple sources, persuaded a number of women in the House Republican Conference to walk away from the bill to ensure it could not pass. Then she declared she’d vote for it once she was sure it could not pass.
How courageous. Evidently opposition to the bill, from pro-choice groups and lawmakers, was too great. Meanwhile, LifeNews.com reports that a whopping 84 percent of Americans would support banning the practice of late-term abortion, according to a recent poll. And while most public opinion polls show opposition to the painful procedure is not quite as high, more and more Americans are increasingly coming out against it.
But there is a silver lining for pro-lifers perhaps. Despite the GOP "meltdown" over the bill -- as one Democratic lawmaker put it -- Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) pledged this morning it "will come to the floor" and be voted on soon.
UPDATE: A number of pro-life leaders, including Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, released a joint statement this morning about the tabled bill:
“While we are disappointed that the House will not be voting on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act today, we are pleased that the House is moving forward to stop taxpayer funding of abortion.
“We support Majority Leader McCarthy's call for a prompt vote on Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act this Congress and we will be working with the House Republican leadership to ensure the maximum number of votes. We will also be working with the bill’s sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham to continue advancing this measure in the U.S. Senate. Both the House Leadership and Senator Graham have assured us they are not backing down.
“The results of the 2014 midterm elections made clear that this Congress has been given a direct mandate to protect unborn children and their mothers from late term abortion, stop taxpayer funding of abortion, and defend conscience rights. There are no issues more urgent for the American people who brought the 114th Congress into being and we look forward to a strong and unprecedented sequence of actions for life.”
Fox News host Megyn Kelly was featured in today's New York Times Magazine in a piece titled "The Megyn Kelly Moment."
On a gray Wednesday in November, the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and four producers gathered around a conference table on the 17th floor of the News Corporation building in Manhattan. They were there to plan the 281st episode of “The Kelly File,” which would be shown live in a few hours, at 9 p.m. Kelly’s executive producer, Tom Lowell, a 25-year veteran of TV news, ticked through the program blocks, the between-commercial bits that are the basic unit of television programming. The A Block would contain a Fox News exclusive on the president’s plans to halt millions of deportations. The B and C Blocks would focus on the Obama health care adviser Jonathan Gruber’s declaration, caught on tape, that the Affordable Care Act passed in part because of “the stupidity of the American voter.” Slated for the D block was Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy SEAL.
Gilliam had been Kelly’s idea. She saw him on Anderson Cooper’s CNN program a few days earlier [...]
President Obama may have invited the nation to "turn the page" on the last 15 years of American history, but it seems that it is Americans, particularly Democrats, that have already turned the page on him.
Not only was Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union Address the least viewed State of the Union in 15 years, but ratings were particularly bad for MSNBC, the favorite network of liberal Democrats. Variety reports:
Nielsen won’t issue cume numbers until later Wednesday or Thursday, but Fox News (3.471 million), CNN (2.557 million) and MSNBC (1.995 million) combined to draw a little over 8 million viewers from 9 to 10:15 p.m. ET, according to preliminary estimates. This is down from 9.1 million last year and 10.35 million in 2013.
CNN was the only one of of the three networks to rise vs. last year, bouncing back from what turned out to be its smallest SOTU tune-in in nine years.
In adults 25-54, CNN led the way with 1.021 million during the address — up a big 40% from last year. It was followed by Fox News (834,168), which had its smallest demo audience since 2000, and MSNBC (473,460), which had its smallest in eight years.
When Democrats are tuned in to politics, MSNBC does get decent ratings. In fact, during the Democratic National Convention in 2012, they beat out both CNN and Fox. And in 2013, MSNBC President Phil Griffin even boldly predicted that his network would routinely beat Fox by 2014.
None of that happened. Whatever excitement Democrats had for Obama in 2012 has completely vanished. MSNBC's ratings plummeted in 2014 and Democrats suffered historic defeats at the polls in November.
The only question now is if Democrats will like the next book they pick up. So far it doesn't seem they do.
Pope Francis once again took to Twitter to voice his support for the March for Life, the annual pro-life march on Washington, D.C. on the English language version of his Twitter account, @Pontifex. Pope Francis did something similar last year.
Every Life is a Gift. #marchforlife— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 22, 2015
The theme of this year's march is "Every life is a gift." The March for Life has taken place in late January every year since 1974 to protest the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. There are an estimated 400,000 marchers each year.
Pope Francis announced on Monday that he will be visiting Washington this fall during his papal visit to the United States.
As mentioned in a previous post, it looked like the Justice Department didn’t have enough to file civil rights charges against then-Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown in self-defense last summer. It spawned another national dialogue about race, police brutality, and the justice system that raged for months. Now, the Justice Department confirms that Mr. Wilson won’t be charged, and that the case is considered closed (via NYT):
Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, will have the final say on whether the Justice Department will close the case against the officer, Darren Wilson. But it would be unusual for them to overrule the prosecutors on the case, who are still working on a legal memo explaining their recommendation.
A decision by the Justice Department would bring an end to the politically charged investigation of Mr. Wilson in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The Missouri authorities concluded their investigation into Mr. Brown’s death in November and also recommended against charges.
Federal investigators interviewed more than 200 people and analyzed cellphone audio and video, the law enforcement officials said. Officer Wilson’s gun, clothing and other evidence were analyzed at the F.B.I.’s laboratory in Quantico, Va. Though the local authorities and Mr. Brown’s family conducted autopsies, Mr. Holder ordered a separate autopsy, which was conducted by pathologists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s office at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the officials said.
The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year, the law enforcement officials said. To bring federal civil rights charges, the Justice Department would have needed to prove that Officer Wilson had intended to violate Mr. Brown’s rights when he opened fire, and that he had done so willfully — meaning he knew that it was wrong to fire but did so anyway.
The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when. Dena Iverson, a department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.
Wilson resigned from the police force last November. He found the grand jury’s decision to be “very relieving.” He isn’t proud about taking Brown’s life, but is certain he did the right thing. The Ferguson Grand Jury’s decision to not charge him in the death of Michael Brown set off a torrent of looting, vandalism, and arson.
Let’s hope this community can come together and turn the page on this very tumultuous and violent summer.
You might have noticed that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has been sort of stumping for himself lately. That is to say, he has been very, very vocal that the next GOP presidential nominee “should be a governor”.
Here's what he said recently on the Hugh Hewitt Show:
These are strong arguments for why voters should choose a governor, perhaps like Walker, in 2016. Thus, in order for someone like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) or Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – to have a chance at winning the nomination, they’ll need to begin crafting persuasive arguments of their own for why giving candidates like Walker the nod would be a mistake. (And let’s face it: Walker’s a candidate).
One way the Florida Senator has sought to do that, it seems, is by emphasizing one quality most governors almost uniformly lack; namely, foreign policy experience. National Journal reports:
In a glimpse of the kind of presidential campaign he'll wage should he run, Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday argued that whoever wins the presidency in 2016 will need to have a strong understanding of foreign policy—and that puts governors at a disadvantage.
"The next president of the United States needs to be someone that has a clear view of what's happening in the world, a clear strategic vision of America's role in it, and a clear tactical plan for how to engage America in global affairs," the Florida senator said to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "And I think for governors, that's going to be a challenge initially because they don't deal with foreign policy on a daily basis."
The country's national security, he said, is the "central obligation of the federal government." It was a subtle dig at his fellow establishment Republicans, two of whom happen to be former governors: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rubio's Florida colleague, former Gov. Jeb Bush, who are each openly considering a 2016 bid. And it set the tone for how Rubio will attempt to frame a presidential campaign.
In effect, Rubio is posing a question: Would you rather nominate someone who has only addressed and solved problems at the state level, or someone who understands, and can articulate, how to protect and defend America’s people and interests at home and abroad? Since the latter, as Rubio says, is the “central obligation of the federal government” – i.e., the president of the United States – he’s hoping voters will slowly come around to see his argument as the better one.
I suspect Rubio may have some difficulty with that one. Still, if he's going to run (and capture) the nomination, it’s an argument he’s going to have to win.
In the clip below, Biden says he’ll ultimately make up his mind sometime this summer. In the meantime, we’re left to speculate and wonder until he does.
Historically, the vice presidency has been a steppingstone to the Oval Office. It worked out (eventually) for Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, to name just two examples. After eight years as the commander in chief’s top deputy, both men presumably benefited from their years as subordinates. Biden, if he runs, would almost certainly use this experience to his advantage.
On the other hand, his astonishing and growing list of gaffes aside, he would also be branded Barack Obama’s heir apparent -- a guy whose party, you might recall, got flatly rejected from coast to coast two months ago. His ties to the current administration cannot be severed or undone. And while Hillary Clinton will no doubt have the exact same problem he does, she at least officially cut ties with the administration years ago.
It’s impossible to predict if Biden will run or not. But perhaps what he told GQ in an interview two years ago might be of interest:
"I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America," he said one day at his residence in Washington. "But it doesn't mean I won't run." We were in the sunroom, which without explanation he called "the Cheney sunroom," as if the specter of the last guy who lived here had never quite vanished. The king of Jordan had just left; they had breakfast.
So apparently he’s A-OK with not running. Good to know. But if his own words aren’t convincing enough, National Journal’s Josh Krausharr throws cold water on the idea as well:
[T]he veep has done absolutely nothing to staff up for a prospective campaign – a necessity against a well-prepared, well-funded Clinton operation. At 72, he'd be the oldest future president in history. As vice president, he brings all the baggage that comes with serving under a polarizing president but carries none of the same excitement from the base. His approval numbers are weaker than President Obama's, and in his two past runs for president, he's fallen far short of expectations. He trails Clinton by nearly 60 points – 66 percent to 8 percent – in the latest CNN/ORC survey, conducted last month. A Biden campaign would be a bigger long shot than even Mitt Romney running a third time.
Ouch. An unsparingly honest and fair assessment. Nevertheless, he’s still keeping the door open, if only just a crack:
Of all the governors in the Rust Belt, Scott Walker is the only one gearing up for a possible 2016 presidential bid. Walker could potentially put states, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and his home state of Wisconsin in play, in the general. He has the respect of the establishment, the adoration of the conservative wing of the GOP, and has the foundation for potentially building one of the largest fundraising networks. After all, he ran in 2010 and won, but was forced into a recall effort in 2012 by the political left, only after which he was able to plan for his 2014 re-election bid. The Washington Post’s Dan Balz, who thinks Walker can be a force to be reckoned with when candidates start stumping, mentioned all of this and more in his piece:
Walker is a contradiction, a boring warrior. He will not win the charisma primary, but he has been hardened by his experiences in office. Whatever miscalculations he made that led to the explosion of protests in Madison four years ago, he now wears proudly his subsequent battles with the forces on the left.
His résumé as a second-term governor gives him establishment credentials. His confrontational reform agenda in Wisconsin and his wars with labor unions and the progressive left have made him a well-loved figure among many in the GOP’s tea party wing. His potential fundraising network, thanks to three campaigns in four years — and especially the 2012 recall election — is among the biggest in the GOP, if he can truly tap it.
His message is a work in progress, not yet as tight or crisp as he will want it to be. His RNC speech was less animated but almost twice as long as one that Perry delivered Friday afternoon. While well received, Walker’s speech did not produce the kind of applause Perry got.
Walker presents himself as an outsider to the nation’s capital and a fresh face in contrast to those with bigger names and longer time in the national spotlight (but who, like Romney and Bush, have been out of office for years). The outlines of his message include the assertion that Washington needs what Wisconsin has gotten under Walker — a reform conservative agenda.
Walker has focus and determination. His hope may be that he will be long underestimated — a candidate ready to surprise at the moments it counts most.
I think a lot of Republicans are waiting for Walker, despite what the polls say regarding Mr. Romney.