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Guy Benson - Video: Contraception-Obsessed Democrat Won't Say If He Supports Over-the-Counter Birth Control
Posted: 10/10/2014 2:22:00 PM EST

Colorado Democrat Mark Udall's relentlessly negative campaign has been focused like a laser beam on the crucial issue of his opponent's nonexistent desire to "ban" birth control.  Trailing in the polls after many months and many millions of dollars invested in this false line of attack, Udall and his Democratic backers are thinking outside the box by...hitting Cory Gardner with yet another negative television ad on the topic.  Maybe the 3,000th time's the charm.  At a spirited (but untelevised) debate in Pueblo last night, Gardner challenged Udall directly on whether he supports over-the-counter birth control.  'Senator Uterus' wouldn't answer:


"I answered your question."
"No you didn't."


Cory Gardner favors OTC birth control.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists favors OTC birth control.  Two-thirds of the American people, and a huge majority of women, favor OTC birth control.  Mark Udall?  He can't or won't say, despite having effectively premised his entire re-election campaign on birth control rhetoric.  Why the slippery avoidance on this simple question?  Two reasons:  First, he probably figures he can't come out and agree with Gardner on this point without looking like he's the one being dragged into modernity by the very guy he's been savaging as a backwards prohibitionist for six months.  Second, Udall's masters at Planned Parenthood have come out hard against OTC birth control because they stand to lose a lot of business from the competition -- plus, they'd prefer to keep this bogus political issue alive as a means of slamming Republicans and scaring women.  Udall also gave a baffling answer on why he pays women in his Senate office less than men, and far less than Gardner does.  The incumbent wants voters to know that discussions of his own voting record are a "distraction:"


This is a pattern of behavior, notes Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels:


Dare we ask...abandon ship?


It seems likely that they're throwing him overboard entirely, but perhaps there's a growing sense that this race is slipping away.

UPDATE - Whoa, the center-left Denver Post comes out swinging in endorsing Gardner:

Rather than run on his record, Udall's campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.

Well said.
Cortney O'Brien - Virginia Pregnancy Center Responds to Charges It's a 'Fake Abortion Clinic'
Posted: 10/10/2014 2:00:00 PM EST

Are pregnancy resource centers tricking pregnant women who want abortions to walk through their doors so they can persuade them to carry their children to term? Yes, according to a new documentary by Vice News, titled “Misconception.”

In their new "exposé," producers Allison Yarrow and Claire Ward may think they’ve just produced a Sundance Film Festival-winning masterpiece, but their 18-minutes of bias can barely be called journalism. Here are a few of their documentary's misleading accusations against pregnancy resource centers:

1. They manipulate Google searches.

2. They pretend to be medical facilities.

3. They are presenting women with false information.

Assist Pregnancy Center in Annandale, Virginia, is one center specifically targeted in the film. Assist's former director of Client Services is even featured toward the end of the film, with her face blurred out and the words "Annandale, Virginia" posted at the top of the screen. 

As an affiliate of the Christian crisis pregnancy center organization Care Net, along with Heartbeat International and the National Institute of Family Life Advocates, Assist follows the Standards of Care and Competence. One of these commitments reads, “Clients always receive honest and open answers.” Another says that “We do not offer, recommend, or refer for abortions or abortifacients, but are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures.” In an email to Townhall, Jane Fuller, the executive director of Assist, explained how seriously her center follows these guidelines:

“We follow these commitments universally – on our client website, when answering the phone, making an appointment, or serving them directly in the center. Many women come in for the pregnancy test and/or ultrasound and openly share they are either seeking an abortion or are undecided. We DO go over abortion as an option with them and explain the medical procedure and potential risks.”

Seldom, Fuller explained, do women walk into Assist believing it is an abortion clinic, yet if someone does, the center is fully prepared to provide them accurate information:

“Rarely is there a walk-in that were wanting an abortion, but when it happens the protocol is that the Office Assistant states that we neither perform nor refer for abortions, and then explains what we DO provide: pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and information on abortion via our options counseling. We offer her an appointment, which they sometimes decline, but at other times have accepted. When people call asking if we provide abortions (which maybe happens only occasionally, maybe twice a month), it's the same script (and it is, literally, a script that all our staff and volunteers are trained on).”

So, the center knows what to do if an abortion-seeking woman walks through their door, but what about preventing them from walking in at all? Does Assist, in other words, make it clear to women that the center does not provide abortions? 

“I would unequivocally answer ‘yes’ that it is clear to the average young woman that we do not perform abortions," Fuller explained. "If they Googled ‘abortion,’ we would not pop up. If they visited our website, they would see a list of our services on the homepage that does NOT include abortion (options are: ‘pregnancy testing, ultrasound exams, parenting programs, and STD/STI information.’).”

Those who don't approve of what pregnancy resource centers stand for would probably be uncomfortable with the fact that they sometimes receive taxpayer funding. At a certain point in "Misconception," the narrator says, “You’d be shocked to know that part of your taxpayer dollars are going to these centers. In the last decade, tens of millions.” 

These filmmakers ignore, however, the egregious number of taxpayer dollars being funneled every year to Planned Parenthood. In 2013, the pro-abortion organization raked in more than $500 million. Again, to put this in perspective: Pregnancy centers receive "tens of millions of dollars" over a decade, Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in one year.

For what’s it’s worth, Assist is one particular pregnancy center that does not receive any taxpayer funding. The majority of its funds come from individuals, churches, and privately owned businesses, Fuller explained.

Finally, I asked Fuller how she and her staff felt about being defined as a “fake abortion clinic?”

“Mostly sad...sad that this misinformation may result in many women choosing an abortion without having been given an opportunity to know all the facts, and to know that there are other alternatives." she said. "Women have a right to know the truth, to make an informed decision.”

Roland Warren, President of CareNet, also chimed in on the film in a piece aptly titled, "The Misconception Deception." Warren points out that there are more than 2,500 pregnancy resource centers in America and that Vice News seemingly only featured a handful in their film. Surely, he argues, these kinds of ‘deceptive’ practices are a minority. If the producers did seek out more clinics, they apparently left them out of the film because they didn’t deliver any juicy footage. Warren highlighted some positive statistics that "Misconception" ignored:

98.7 percent of Care Net center clients who completed a written exit survey in 2013 indicated that their overall experience at the center was positive.

For all this talk about "deception," I’d challenge these filmmakers to take a look at their own strategy in making the film. A couple of people featured in the documentary go undercover and pretend to be pregnant while videotaping the pregnancy center employees. Couldn’t that be considered "deceptive?" Now, to be fair, similar tactics have been employed on the pro-life side. Live Action has visited a number of Planned Parenthood clinics while pretending to be clients. But, things they’ve discovered include: Abortionists admitting they leave babies to die on tables in botched abortions, others referring to unborn babies as ‘meat in a crockpot,’ and employees offering girls as young as 15 years old dangerous sex advice. Whereas all that the investigators in "Misconception" managed to find was employees gently encouraging women to keep their babies. Some devastating scoop, huh?

Let’s be honest, is it really a pregnancy center’s fault if a woman mistakes it for an abortion clinic? Women have their own mind and their own freedom. She walked in - she could easily walk out. Little evidence exists to suggest that pregnancy centers intentionally trick mothers into walking into their doors and choosing life. I’m sure any pro-lifer would agree, however, that if and when that happens, it’s a joyous occasion.

Kevin Glass - What Greg Orman Actually Believes: ¯\_(?)_/¯
Posted: 10/10/2014 12:45:00 PM EST

Greg Orman's aggressively non-committal "independent" Senate campaign in Kansas has done him well so far - he's got a (shrinking) lead on incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, despite having had no experience in political office to speak of until this point. On the issues, Greg Orman isn't quite ready to take a stand.

He uses rhetoric like "both parties are half-right."

He uses Obama-like politico-speak like "same old partisan politics" to denigrate Washington, D.C. And his Wikipedia page might as well be called "Orman Has Declined To Take A Position":

.

That's not exactly a slate of obscure issues. Dodd-Frank, the Keystone Pipeline, cap-and-trade, and Obamacare are all, you know, issues that have been in the news recently.

It will remain to be seen if Orman can continue to be aggressively vague when it comes to actual political issues rather than relying on an outsider-ish image. FiveThirtyEight has found that the Kansas electorate is unique in that there are lots of undecideds:

The FiveThirtyEight model shows something similar. There are more voters unattached to major candidates in Kansas than in the average competitive race.

Put together Orman’s lead and the high level of uncertainty, and our model forecasts Orman to win his race two-thirds of the time. Those are the best odds he’s had this campaign, but that chance is also 10 to 15 percentage points less than other candidates who hold leads of about 4 to 5 percentage points (as Orman does).

Orman has been losing ground, with new polls this week finding Pat Roberts having completely closed the gap. In the space of a few days, Townhall's PollTracker has found Orman's average lead shrink to only 2%:

Greg Hengler - Dear Obama: Being "On The Wrong Side Of History" Is Worse Than Meaningless
Posted: 10/10/2014 12:33:00 PM EST

On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:

Bill Bennett turned to AEI Scholar and Mideast expert Michael Rubin to discuss ISIS laying siege to the Turkish city of Kobani. Hugh Hewitt spoke to Mideast expert—Christian Sahner—whose new must-read book, "Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present", takes a jolting look at Syria’s former beauty and present devastation. Michael Medved and Karl Rove discuss the November elections. The RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus explained his "Principles for American Renewal" on the Hugh Hewitt show. Jonah Goldberg on the much-used left-wing/Obama platitude: being "on the wrong side of history", and how ridiculous, empty, and worthless this mantra is. Dennis Prager took a look at a lively exchange between HBO’s Bill Maher with actor Ben Affleck, atheist Sam Harris and the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristoff.

Daniel Doherty - Senate Democrat: Yes, I Expect Obama to Stay in Washington Down the Stretch...
Posted: 10/10/2014 12:15:00 PM EST

As Guy explained yesterday, two separate polls show Scott Brown within striking distance of winning the US Senate contest in New Hampshire. And while the Cook Political Report still maintains the race is “Lean D,” Brown’s massive third quarter fundraising haul could change things on the ground. Meanwhile, his opponent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is running “insensitive and inaccurate” campaign ads (in Scott Brown’s estimation), and struggling to fend off charges that she’s an Obama rubber stamp -- which, of course, she is.

Nevertheless, Sen. Shaheen recently appeared on Andrea Mitchell Reports to say she was “delighted” Bill and Hillary Clinton would be coming to New Hampshire to campaign for her. Curiously, however, she was remarkably unenthusiastic and distant when asked if she wanted the president to come as well:

“I expect him to be in Washington.”

Stay home, in other words, is what she really meant to say. After all, one component of the GOP electoral playbook this election cycle is tying Senate Democrats to the unpopular president and his policies. Hence why precious few vulnerable Democratic incumbents are voluntarily calling the White House asking him to come visit them. To do so would be political suicide in some cases, especially in deeply red and purplish states like New Hampshire.

I’ll leave you with this quote (from a prominent New Hampshire journalist), which Guy flagged at Hot Air some months ago: “In 2002 Shaheen was leading her Republican opponent going into the last week and then lost. In 2008, the race broke Shaheen’s way in the last month.”

Twenty-four more days to go, my friends. This race is only just getting started.

Conn Carroll - Ernst Crushes Braley in Latest Fundraising Report
Posted: 10/10/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

Iowa Republican Jodi Ernst raised $6 million for her U.S. Senate campaign over the last three months, more than doubling her Democratic rival's, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), $3 million take. 

More than 85 percent of Ernst's donations were under $200 and she received at least one from all 99 Iowa counties. Ernst now has more than $3 million cash on hand to spend through November 4th.

Braley once led in this race by as much as 6 points, but as Iowans have learned more about both Ernst and Braley, they've come to like Ernst more and Braley less. According to the latest Townhall Poll Tracker, Ernst now leads Braley 44 percent to 43 percent. 

You can watch the Iowa Priorities Fund latest ad attacking Braley for his hypocrisy on women's pay, here.

 
Guy Benson - Brutal Video: Grimes Refuses to Say if She Voted For Obama Four Times in 40 Seconds
Posted: 10/10/2014 10:33:00 AM EST

Please enjoy this short video of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes doggedly refusing to say whether she voted for her party's standard-bearer two years ago during a meeting with a Kentucky newspaper's editorial board.  As you watch, bear in mind that this woman was an Obama delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention:


Buzzfeed mines this relevant Grimes quote from two years ago:

“I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’m very proud of that and the values our party stands for. My support of our party and our nominee is well-known,” she said in an interview. “It’s no secret that I will be in North Carolina to support our nominee and party” at the Democratic presidential convention.

She's not fooling anyone with these painful evasions, as an exasperated Huffington Post writer notes on Twitter:


So why go 'round and 'round the way she did?  Simple. She doesn't want her obvious "yes" answer clipped and put into a McConnell attack ad. Barack Obama's approval rating in the state, in case you're curious, stands at a robust (35/59).  The tent pole of McConnell's campaign has been (accurately) describing Grimes as a Democratic ally the fantastically-unpopular president needs in the Senate.  She has therefore determined that it's worth tying herself into rhetorical knots to deprive Republicans of a soundbyte that'd be on the air within hours.  But here's the thing: Does this sort of performance actually help her in that regard?  Her avoidance of the question, and her motive for doing so, is painfully transparent to any sentient being who watches the tape.  The McConnell campaign might want to consider shaving this video down to 30 seconds and running it on television as-is.  In some ways, her elusive non-answers are more powerful and damaging than a "yes, but" response would be.  Her approach makes it crystal clear that she (a) voted for Obama, and (b) thinks people are stupid.  Not a good look at all.  Also, I'm not generally a fan of pressing someone on his or her actions within the privacy of a voting booth, and Grimes makes a sop to ballot box "sanctity" in her answer.  But she's a politician.  Politicians endorse people and announce their voting preferences all the time. And again, she was a loud and proud Obama delegate just two years ago.  So she's not offended that someone is asking the question; she's aware that a truthful answer would offend most Kentuckians. Meanwhile, the Weekly Standard got its hands on an internal Grimes campaign memo that were used to prep the candidate for this sit-down with the Courier-Journal editors.  A few highlights:

One heading in the memo, labeled “GUN COMMERICAL – DISAGREE WITH PRESIDENT ON GUNS,” directs Grimes to say she disagrees with Obama on gun control. “We shouldn't be banning guns based on things like their grips as a bill supported by Obama tried to do,” reads one bullet point....But at the editorial board meeting, Grimes is encouraged—“ONLY IF PUSHED,” the memo insists—to scale back the red-meat rhetoric. She’s directed to concede that guns should be kept out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill and that she believes in “strengthening our background check system” and “putting more money into education” on gun safety...There are other issues on which Grimes’s campaign isn’t clear what her position is. In the Courier-Journal memo, the campaign provides Grimes with two talking points on health care: the first repeats her position that she has “concerns” with Obamacare and would like to fix them but does not support repealing the law entirely, while the second argues that hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians would lose their health insurance if the law were repealed. Under the “IF PUSHED” heading, there are no talking points.

As for Grimes' quadruple disavowal, Daniel Foster wins Twitter for the day.  "I don't know the man:"


I'll leave you with my appearance with Gretchen Carlson breaking down some of the new polling out of several key Senate races (for what it's worth, Fox's state-level poll release shows Grimes trailing McConnell by four):


UPDATE - Oof.

Matt Vespa - NC SEN: So, Is Hagan Ahead By One Or Two Points In New Poll?
Posted: 10/10/2014 10:00:00 AM EST

After the second senate debate in North Carolina, a new poll shows that the race is virtually a tie. A Suffolk/USA Today poll shows both Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, tied at 45.4/45. With leaners, it’s 46.8/45.4. So, in all, Hagan is leading by 1 point in this race:

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan retains the 2 point lead over Republican challenger and North Carolina General Assembly Speaker Thom Tillis that she had when a similar poll was taken in August, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of likely voters in the Nov. 4 general election. Hagan led Tillis 47 percent to 45 percent, including leaners, with 4 percent choosing Libertarian Sean Haugh and 3 percent undecided. Initially Hagan and Tillis were tied at 45 percent, but when undecided respondents were asked who they would vote for if they were standing in the voting booth today, more chose Hagan, giving her the lead, although still within the margin of error.

Hagan is ahead 52 percent-38 percent among women and leads in the Triangle, including the Raleigh-Durham area, 56 percent-36 percent. She also is strong among voters who said the most important issues are education (65 percent-23 percent) and health care (56 percent-34 percent). Tillis, on the other hand leads among men, 53 percent-38 percent; voters in the mountain west counties, 58 percent-33 percent; and among voters who said that the budget (64 percent-31 percent) and foreign policy (60 percent-29 percent) are the top issues facing Congress.

Wait, Hagan’s up 2 points? What gives? Well, that’s the beauty of decimals, as Harry Enten over at FiveThirtyEight explained on Twitter. Yes, Hagan may be ahead in the polls, but the margin is closer to 1 not 2.

Tillis had been trailing Hagan closer to four, but he seems to have begun closing that gap as we have entered the final weeks of the campaign, focused on foreign policy (ISIS), and reiterated his very humble upbringing to voters. Oh, and being able to totally concentrate on his campaign could be a factor as well; Tillis was in Raleigh for most of the summer given his role as the State House Speaker. If he fails to unseat Hagan in the general election come November, don’t be surprised if many an autopsy reads that he should have resigned his position in the legislature.

As for Hagan’s attack on Tillis’ reported cuts to education, she seemed to have contradicted herself in the debate (via Daily Caller):

He’s done tax cuts for the wealthy and he has gutted our education system,” Hagan claimed, “He has cut $500 million from the public education. And do you know what that means, folks? That means fewer teachers in the classroom, that means larger classroom sizes, and that means outdated textbooks, if there’s any textbooks at all.

Tillis responded by saying that Hagan’s claim had been proved false by fact-checkers. “Since 2011, we’re spending a billion more dollars a year in education. This year, we provided an average seven percent pay increase for teachers. … Next year, we’re going to give them another seven percent raise!”

After Tillis’ rebuttal, Hagan seemed to contradict her own previous statement. “We are now 48th in the nation on what we spend per pupil. So we might be spending more on education, but we have so many more thousand students, it’s being diluted.”

Democrats in the state legislature wanted to allocate $23.6 billion to education spending in 2011, while Tillis and fellow Republicans wanted to allocate only $23.1 billion.

“Sen. Hagan’s statement attacking Tillis said he ‘has cut $500 million from public education.’ Literally, the statement is wrong,” PolitiFact wrote. “As North Carolina’s Speaker of the House, Tillis helped pass a budget in 2013 that increased actual spending on education in comparison to previous years.”

Yet, the biggest takeaway from the debate this week was Hagan’s admission that she skipped an Armed Services hearing to fundraise. This was surely going to make it’s way onto the airwaves in the form of attack ads–and they have arrived.

“While ISIS grew, Obama did nothing; Sen. Hagan did cocktails.” Ouch.

Also, Crossroads GPS released a TV spot of their own, slamming Hagan by using her own words against her when she ran against then-Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008; she criticized Dole for voting with Bush 92 percent of the time. Hagan has voted with Obama 95 percent of the time.

On the social issues front, Women Speak Out PAC is spending $620,000 on this 11-day ad campaign calling Hagan “too extreme” on abortion.

On the left, Presente Action is hitting Hagan for helping to block relief for illegal aliens (via Huffington Post):

Presente Action has been critical of vulnerable Senate Democrats for urging President Barack Obama to delay executive action on immigration that potentially could shield millions from deportation. Although Obama initially promised to take action by the end of the summer, he pushed back his plans until after the election, reportedly at the urging of red state Democrats who feared it would hurt their chances.

Hagan is one of those vulnerable Democrats, along with Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. All four of them voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, but angered activists when they opposed executive action on deportations and joined Republicans last month to push for a vote to block Obama from making major immigration policy changes.

Latinos are sick of being treated as a political football by Democrats like Senator Kay Hagan and Republicans alike," Presente Action executive director Arturo Carmona said in a statement. "Our families matter, our lives matter, and this ad is meant to remind Senator Hagan of that. Much like Republicans have, Senator Hagan has worked to tear our families apart, and now we urge Latinos across the state to think twice before casting a ballot in her name."

The ads will air for one week in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The ads say, in Spanish, that more than 1,000 Latino immigrants are deported each day and accuse Democrats of following in the footsteps of Republicans to become anti-immigrant.

"When there was a solution within reach, Senator Kay Hagan stood opposed," a voice says in the ad, as translated by Presente Action. "Senator Hagan voted with the most anti-immigrant senators in Congress in support of the continued deportations of our community."

Tillis will continue to take heat on education and possibly voter ID in the coming days since the Supreme Court blocked the 4th Circuit Court’s ruling that reinstated same-day voting registration and out-of-precinct voting (via News Observer):

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday that means voters in North Carolina will not be able to vote out of their precincts on Nov. 4 nor register to vote and cast ballots on the same day.

The ruling blocked a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision Oct. 1 that reinstated same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting for the coming election.

The justices offered no insight into their 7-2 ruling to uphold a district court ruling to let the November election proceed under the 2013 rewrite of the state’s elections laws.

Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented and issued an opinion outlining their reasons.

Critics of the law have stated that it disproportionately impacts minority communities; Hagan used the 4th Circuit’s ruling to take a swipe at Tillis, but North Carolina voters support measures that ensure the integrity of elections are maintained. As reported in the Washington Post when this bill was signed last year, “recent North Carolina polls and a Washington Post poll last year showed nearly three-quarters support requiring voters to show photo ID.”

The abortion ad is very well done and it seeks to mobilize the Republican base, but the gender gap will continue to hobble Tillis. Then again, Obama tends to dampen the mood with voters and Democrats are struggling to keep the voters they won from 2012.

While Tillis has been receiving better news in the past few weeks, there’s also this point:

Sorry for throwing some cold water on the enthusiasm, folks.

Townhall Magazine - Kicking Cars to the Curb
Posted: 10/10/2014 9:13:00 AM EST

In the October issue of Townhall Magazine, where this column originally appeared, TownhallFinance.com's Michael Schaus discusses the United Kingdom's effort to impress Al Gore by banning horseless carriages.

The United Kingdom is steeped in history, tradition, and heritage. Sure, that tradition no longer includes things like guns, social conservatism, or fiscal sanity; but at least they still have a queen, right?

The U.K.’s capital city of London might soon give a hoity goodbye to yet another tradition: cars. It seems auto- mobiles might be going the way of the horse-drawn carriage in England’s larg- est metropolitan hub.

That’s right. The city of London will soon be closing its roads to anything other than zero-emission modes of trans- portation. Despite the fact that there are more than 800,000 classic cars (I have to assume most of these run on refined dinosaur bones) in the country, the U.K.’s capital has decided that the environment is just too darn precious to allow citizens any option of personal transportation.

A nearly $7.5 billion per year industry is about to be pushed out of London by England’s environmentalists, nannyists, and crony capitalists. The city’s mayor, Boris Johnson, wants to ban any emission-spewing vehicle by the year 2020 in an effort to reduce global pollution levels. I’m sure the polar bears are thrilled that James Bond will be trading his DB5 for a Tesla. 

According to the plan put forward by Johnson, “vehicles will not be allowed in, or new ones will not be allowed in, unless they have, or confirm to very, very, very stringent environmental standards.” In other words, get green or go to France.

Naturally, there is a whole range of car collectors, industry insiders, and average commuters, who are less than thrilled by the idea of swapping their gas-guzzling motor-carriages for some swanky new electric Vespa. But, let’s not let a little thing like European micromanaging get in the way of good-old fashioned crony capitalism. Already Johnson and industry groups are working out a list of criteria that would permit certain connected groups an exemption from London’s newfound love for fascist environmentalism.

Ben Cussons, a “mate” with the Royal Automobile Club, explained that the plan hinges on the question of “finding a balance about usage.” He also suggested that older vehicles might be permitted to pay some sort of a usage fee, or entrance fee, to enter London’s “ultra-low” emissions zone.

Oh, good, another tax. Exactly what a semi-socialist European country needs during tough economic times.

The truth is, Johnson’s plan is ludicrous on many levels. In addition to the environmentally questionable practice of ramping up the production of lithium batteries (and other toxic battery com- ponents), the plan will virtually cripple London’s presence as an international business hub. After all, businesses don’t generally pick locations solely because of the view, history, or physical distance to the world’s most beloved royal matriarch. The ease of doing business, and a relatively low overhead, are generally more important than having “London” in the official address.

Beyond the economic stupidity of placing such draconian (and eventually corruptible) standards on vehicles, there is little-to-no true environmental benefit to be gained. Oh sure, a handful of Chevy Volt-loving liberals might be pleased. But there is likely to be little reduction in emissions from banning gas-powered vehicles. After all, where do you think the electricity for an electric vehicle comes from? I’ll give you a hint, the electricity that comes from the 220 socket in your garage isn’t magic.

Bird-killing windmills, tundra- destroying solar panels, and smog- inducing coal plants will be working overtime to pump a few more kilowatts to the homes that have adopted the liberal myth of the “zero-emissions” vehicle. And while our lovely British lefties might feel good about skipping a trip to the petrol station, someone should remind them that their toxic battery packs are not biodegradable. Landfills will soon be a little less clean because of London’s dedication to Al Gore’s global hoax.

More than the economic impact, or the environmental hypocrisy, the statist nature should have citizens all over the world a little on edge. The ease with which legislators, bureaucrats, and nannyists can twist laws to regulate the people into submission is almost startling. London’s planned devotion to zero-emission vehicles is a shot across the bow of individual rights and, more importantly, republican populism. It is another example of government controlling the populace, rather than the other way around. Regulations are supposed to be a reaction to a need, not the driving force behind social engineering.

Now, in case you were wondering, this doesn’t actually appear to be the case in today’s regulation-happy Western world. In fact, government is in the very ridiculous position of trying to create certain industries and businesses (such as windmills, electric vehicles, and carbon marketplaces), because the free market has yet to determine a need, desire, or efficient method of production for such tree-hugging concepts. But, really, why should we let proven concepts (like market forces and free economies) get in the way of some well-intentioned liberalism, right?

Someone should remind the Brits that us colonists started a shooting war over a tax on our breakfast beverage. At some point, it’s probably OK for them to put up a little bit of a fuss over the government doing things like banning otherwise legal automobiles. • 

Michael Schaus is the associate editor of Townhall Finance. 

Katie Pavlich - WATCH: Man Jokes About Having Ebola, Gets Ripped Off a Plane By Men in Hazmat Suits
Posted: 10/10/2014 8:55:00 AM EST

If you're going to be flying soon and plan on making an Ebola joke, don't. Yesterday at an airport in the Dominican Republic, a man who joked about having Ebola and recently visiting West Africa was taken off a flight from Philadelphia by men in blue hazmat suits. Before the men boarded the plane, a flight attendant warned passengers things would "look worse than they really are."

"Once we landed in Punta Cana we were told by the flight attendants that there was a situation and that a passenger may have been in Africa and had Ebola. She was certain it was a hoax but they did not take any chances and had a full hazmat crew board the plane and take the passenger off. It was later confirmed that the passenger was never in Africa and after 2hrs we were finally able to get off the plane," the caption on a a video posted by Patrick Narvaez and Jukin Media states.

So, the guy who joked about having Ebola was ripped off a plane by guys wearing hazmat suits, yet the CDC would argue the people who were on the plane sitting next to him would have been totally fine if he in fact did have Ebola.  Makes sense.

Meanwhile, CDC Director Tom Friedman is out with an op-ed today tripling down on his position that travel restrictions from Ebola stricken countries should not be implemented.