Conn Carroll - President Obama Thanks Ohio Gov. John Kasich For Embracing Obamacare
Posted: 2/23/2015 3:45:00 PM EST

President Obama thanked Ohio Gov. John Kasich for embracing the Affordable Care Act Monday, singling the potential Republican 2016 White House candidate out at a White House event with the National Governors Association.

"Today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 10 million Americans now have the peace of mind that comes with being covered," Obama said. "I want to thank all the governors, Democrats and Republicans, supporters and some opponents of the ACA who have expanded Medicaid to millions of people over the past two years. I think there’s a recognition that it makes sense, and it’s bigger than politics. As Governor Kasich said for Ohio, 'It saves lives. No question about it.' And if your state isn’t one of the 28 that has already expanded Medicaid, I’d urge you to consider it, because our team is prepared to work with you to make it happen."

Kasich said he opposed Obama's Medicaid expansion in 2010 when he first ran for governor. But Kasich has since evolved on the issue, and he now claims his Christian faith dictates he accept bigger government.  

“Now, if you ever read Matthew 25,” Kasich said while promoting a Balanced Budget Amendment in South Dakota, “I think, ‘I wanna feed the hungry and clothe the naked,’ and I have to tell you — I read a horrible story in The Wall Street Journal on the weekend about people, one man in particular freezing to death over in Montana. And they’ve turned down about half a billion dollars of help, I’m told. That disturbs me.”

Montana is indeed one of the 22 states that have still not embraced Obama's Medicaid expansion, as is South Dakota. But it is not at all clear that Medicaid enrollment guarantees any access to actual health care. Full federal funding for Medicaid reimbursements ran out in 2014, and in 2015 Medicaid reimbursements fell sharply by an average of 43 percent in all states, and by 45 percent in Ohio.

In California, where almost a third of residents will soon be on Medicaid, patients can not get doctors to see them and are having to pay for their own medical care despite their supposed Medicaid coverage.

 Thanks to Kasich and Obama, nearly one in four Ohioans are now enrolled in Medicaid, which is still a means tested welfare program.

Vivian Hughbanks  - Al-Shabab Calls for Attack on Mall of America
Posted: 2/23/2015 3:10:00 PM EST

The Somali-based terrorist group Al-Shabab suggested that allies in the west target the Mall of America in a video released over the weekend.

The video showed graphic images of the group’s attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, and encouraged supporters to "hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate” to carry out similar attacks in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

“If just a handful of mujahideen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week, imagine what a dedicated mujahideen in the West could do to the American or Jewish-owned shopping centers across the world,” an unidentified man says with his head wrapped in a black and white keffiyeh on the video.

“What if such an attack was to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London's Oxford Street?” the man continued.

American security authorities are skeptical that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group has the resources or the support to carry out such attacks. While the Mall of America has heightened security in response to the threat, the weekend seemed normal for shoppers.

“I’m more afraid of the cold today than any terrorists,” Mary Lamminen of St. Paul told the Minneapolis Star Tribune while at the mall. The area experienced sub-zero temperatures well into Sunday.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it is not aware of any “credible threat” to national security due to the video. Despite this, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson expressed Sunday that vigilance is necessary across the country in combating terror threats.

"Any time a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we've got to take that seriously,” Johnson said. “If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they've got to be particularly careful. There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it’s the environment we’re in, frankly.”

Amid these threats, the Department of Homeland Security is slated to shut down if a funding bill (H.R. 240) does not pass by this Friday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will try a fourth time today to advance the spending bill that also requires President Obama to abandon his executive action on immigration announced last November. The bill has already passed the House, but the immigration provision has so far prevented its passage in the Senate, and has drawn extensive criticism.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) commented on the situation Monday:

“I fully believe that we should not be playing politics with the National Security Agency, like Homeland Security, particularly given the high-threat environment that we're in right now as we look at ISIS, as we look at this latest pronouncement coming out of Al-Shabab. I'm very concerned that a Paris-style attack could occur in the United States, anytime, anywhere. And it would be irresponsible for lawmakers and policy makers to shut down this National Security Agency at this very grave time.”

Last Friday, less than 24 hours before Al-Shabab released the video, a suicide bomber from the militant group attacked a large hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, with a car bomb killing at least 25 people.

Conn Carroll - White House Claims Amnesty Injunction Will Do "Irreparable Harm" To National Security
Posted: 2/23/2015 3:00:00 PM EST

The Department of Justice argued in papers filed Monday, that the ability of the federal government to protect national security would be "irreparably harmed" if a federal judge did not lift his injunction blocking implementation of President Obama's executive amnesty program.

"A stay pending appeal is necessary to ensure that the [Department of Homeland Security] is able to most effectively protect national security, public safety, and the integrity of the border," the motion reads. "Absent a stay, DHS will sustain irreparable harm," the motion continues, "harm that would not be cured, even if Defendants ultimately prevail on that appeal.

The papers seeking a stay of United States District Court Judge Andrew Hanen's injunction against Obama's Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program were filed with Hanen who, experts say, is unlikely to issue a stay of his own injunction. But Hanen's decision not to stay his own injunction could then be appealed to the 5th Circuit.

Asked at the White House press briefing to specifically to identify how the government would suffer irreparable harm from a stay blocking Obama's amnesty program, Earnest said, "To put it bluntly, the Department of Homeland Security was ready last week to begin taking the steps that would bring millions of people out of the shadows. These are individuals who have been in this country for a substantial period of time and have family connections inside the country. These are individuals who would begin paying taxes. These are individuals who would submit to a background check. So every day that goes by we have individuals who will continue to be in the shadows, who will continue to not pay taxes, and who will continue to not have gone undergone a background check which means that they could pose a threat to public safety."

Earnest did not explain why or when exactly the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States suddenly became so much of a national security threat that the Department of Homeland Security had to give them all background checks.

Earnest also did not explain how giving background checks only to those who qualify for Obama's amnesty would somehow protect Americans from all the illegal immigrants that won't come out of the shadows since they know they would fail a background check.

Earnest also did not mention that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, those who would benefit from Obama's amnesty would consume billions more in government services than they pay in federal taxes. 

Earnest did say that the DOJ also filed a parallel motion with the 5th Circuit Court to appeal Hanen's underlying injunction.

Cortney O'Brien - During Oscars, Planned Parenthood Sends Hypocritical Message on Racism
Posted: 2/23/2015 2:45:00 PM EST

Planned Parenthood may have won the Oscar for one of the most tragically ironic tweets during last night’s Academy Awards. The film “Selma,” which centers on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, was recognized during the ceremony for its powerful message and strong performances. John Legend and Common took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Glory.” After the two artists accepted the award, the pro-abortion “women’s rights” organization Planned Parenthood chimed in on social media. Here was their message that evoked the wrath of pro-lifers everywhere:

Some social media users noticed and exposed the abortion-on-demand organization’s hypocrisy.

One respondent pointed out that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a firm believer in eugenics and an undeniable racist.

Planned Parenthood’s blindness is astonishing. How it can dare to profess #BlackLivesMatter, while it aborts black children every day, is beyond comprehension.

Anna Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” fame got a barrage of hate mail earlier this month after she retweeted a message from the pro-life Radiance Foundation that revealed the abject slaughter of black unborn babies in the country’s abortion clinics.

“Human beings should be remembered not dismembered. Because of the violence of abortion, over 16 million black people are history. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter”

As that website somberly points out, abortion is the number one killer of black lives in America. To put it in another grim perspective, 363,705 black lives are taken by abortion annually. That is something that is worth our attention. Yet, Anna Duggar was treated like a bigot after simply helping to expose this deadly prejudice.

The “Selma” cast and creators and Planned Parenthood are right that the struggle for racial justice is still ongoing, but they fail to target the real culprits.

Leah Barkoukis - Awesome: Jerusalem Mayor Takes Down Palestinian Terrorist
Posted: 2/23/2015 2:22:00 PM EST

Amazing video surveillance in Jerusalem on Sunday captured the moment the city’s mayor took down a Palestinian terrorist with his bodyguards.

The footage shows the suspect, a 19-year-old Palestinian, stab a 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox man before swinging at bystanders. Then, Mayor Nir Barkat, 55, and his bodyguards approach the suspect, quickly taking him down and neutralizing the threat.

“[W]hen I was on my way to the office for a meeting, while we were at the junction right next to City Hall, my driver and my team noticed something happening in the junction,” Barkat told reporters after the incident. “So, I got out of the car with my bodyguard, and we approached the scene and noticed a terrorist with a knife in his hand.”

“Without thinking, my bodyguard took out his weapon, and when he aimed at the terrorist, the terrorist dropped his knife and we immediately tackled him to the ground to make sure that he could not continue with the terror attack,” Barkat said, reports the Jerusalem Post.

“In our world, there's no such thing as hesitation – there's only yes or no," said Asaf Na’amani, the guard who drew his gun, reports

Barkat’s courage and leadership can be attributed in part to the six years he spent in the IDF where he served as a paratrooper and company commander.

Check out the video below (the mayor is in the white shirt):

After hearing the mayor explain what happened in a press conference, which was held less than two hours after the episode, one attendee noted: “I guess that makes him Super Mayor,” the Jerusalem Post reports.

It does indeed.

Katie Pavlich - Family of American Hostage Kayla Mueller: Bergdahl Swap Greatly Diminished Chances of Her Release
Posted: 2/23/2015 2:10:00 PM EST

The family of American hostage Kayla Mueller, who was killed while in ISIS custody two weeks ago, is speaking out about her death. 

In an interview with NBC News, Carl, Marsha and Eric Mueller told Today Show anchor Savannah Guthrie that President Obama's decision to swap alleged deserter and Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders had an extremely negative impact on the chances of getting Kayla released. They explained that until Bergdahl was exchanged, they were in regular communication with their daughter. Things went south after Bergdahl's release. 

"That's when the demands got greater. They got larger. They realized that they had something. They realized that, ‘Well, if they're gonna let five people go for one person, why won't they do this? Or why won't they do that?’” Kayla's brother Eric said.

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Carl Mueller, Kayla's father, asked President Obama about the Bergdahl swap during a meeting at the White House.

"We really feel like they [ISIS] wanted to release Kayla," Carl Mueller, Kayla's father said, adding that paying a $6.2 million ransom became an impossible task.

Yesterday, friends of Kayla held a press conference in Prescott, Arizona to remember her.

Daniel Doherty - Poll: Despite Perceived Tensions, Americans View Israel Very Favorably
Posted: 2/23/2015 1:30:00 PM EST

Hopefully, it shouldn't come as a surprise that most Americans view the nation of Israel in an exceedingly favorable light. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel shares with the United States, among other things, a commitment to freedom, tolerance, free elections, and human rights. And while the leaders of both nations have fundamental disagreements on crucially important national security issues and the timing of diplomatic visits, the frosty friendship is not affecting American/Israeli relations. Indeed, a new Gallup poll finds that 70 percent of Americans give Israel "very" or "mostly" favorable marks:

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Again, this is not unexpected, but is it not reassuring? Given the fact that “anti-Semitism has returned to Europe,” according to Dr. Charles Krauthammer -- if it hadn't already -- it’s encouraging to know that most Americans stand firmly behind one of our closest Middle Eastern allies. At the same time, Americans' “sympathies” overwhelming lie with the Jewish people.

As the pollsters point out, it seems that the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, which was enlightening in so many different ways last summer, has not negatively affected public perceptions of the world's only Jewish state, especially given the slanted and questionable way in which it was covered by some American media outlets.

Cortney O'Brien - Why Those Wage Equality Demands Should be Aimed at Hillary Clinton
Posted: 2/23/2015 12:30:00 PM EST

We all heard Patricia Arquette calling for wage equality and women’s rights last night on the Oscar stage, with her new Supporting Actress award in hand. Meryl Streep and J-Lo just about went nuts cheering on her feminist speech and Planned Parenthood was giddy with glee on Twitter.

With their passionate pleas for gender equality in the workplace, I wonder how these same figures and women’s organizations will react to this morning’s news that Hillary Clinton paid women on her staff only 72 cents for every dollar paid for men while working in the U.S. Senate. From the Washington Free Beacon:

During those years, the median annual salary for a woman working in Clinton’s office was $15,708.38 less than the median salary for a man, according to the analysis of data compiled from official Senate expenditure reports.

The inequality in Clinton’s office is a bit ironic, considering the causes the former Secretary of State professes to promote.

Those “ceilings” she speaks of seem to have been right over her and her staff’s own heads.

In June, the Free Beacon also broke the news that in the 1980s Clinton defended a man who raped an underage girl – a scandal which will be remembered as The Hillary Tapes.

In other words, she is hardly a feminist hero.

Yet, groups like Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List continue to honor her “efforts” on behalf of women. And as for those same A-list celebrities who cheered for wage equality last night, they appear to have no problem being chummy with the former First Lady.

I wonder, after these pay gap revelations, if Clinton will now feel the wrath of these famous feminists and popular women’s rights groups, or if the latter will continue to air their grievances against the “real threat” – the suffocating patriarchy. 

The answer is too obvious to be placed inside one of those golden envelopes.

Guy Benson - END OF DISCUSSION: Introducing Our Book Exposing the Left's War on Free Debate
Posted: 2/23/2015 12:01:00 PM EST

Mary Katharine Ham and I are thrilled to announce our forthcoming book, End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun!) -- due out in June, and currently available for pre-order. The book addresses how the Left in particular -- but not exclusively -- increasingly seeks to "win" political and cultural debates by preventing those debates from actually happening. This discussion-squelching phenomenon is toxic, and it hurts the country. A quick preview:

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 5.55.03 PM  Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 5.56.33 PM

And now, a few kind words from our publisher, Crown Forum (a division of Random House):

Fox News contributors and writers Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson rank among the most recognizable and influential young conservatives in American media today...Their first book, END OF DISCUSSION explores the ripple effect of the outrage industry—the media frenzy orchestrated by the Left that is designed to shut down debate—and offers insightful advice to conservatives and freedom-loving Americans on how they should (and should not) fight back against this strategic effort that makes America less free, less feisty, and less fun.  With fresh reporting and occasionally tongue-in-cheek analysis, END OF DISCUSSION takes a critical look at the dysfunction of the National conversation, whereby opposing viewpoints on hot-button issues like gay marriage, federal government policies, and women’s issues are labeled racist, sexist, and evil...The unavoidable by-product [of this campaign of silencing and moral bullying] is a hypersensitive citizenry—a country where reasoned, open debate is stymied, creating a culture in which good people are reluctant to engage in the discussion for fear that they’ll be negatively labeled. 

That bolded portion really speaks to the core of our thesis. The insidious trend we identify is poisoning many aspects of American life, most especially our politics. In a piece published this morning, Buzzfeed's Katherine Miller draws on End of Discussion's exclusive interview with Gov. Scott Walker to analyze his media strategy:

During the contentious days of the union protests in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker figured out a secret way to get uninterrupted press time. Walker outlines the strategy — and how he dealt with the onslaught of protests during the contentious period — in a new book, End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun!), by Fox News contributors and long-time conservative writers, Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham. “At the height of the [anti-budget] union protests, when we were approaching 100,000 protesters at and around the Capitol, I finally got wise,” Walker tells Ham and Benson in an interview for the book. “I started holding press conferences at 5:00 because I knew that if I kept it concise, local television and some national outlets would cover it live. So I had an unfiltered way to talk to the state for about 10 minutes.”

We argue in the book that more conservatives ought to heed and emulate Walker's example in beating back and defeating what we refer to as the Left's 'Outrage Circus,' which relentlessly (and unsuccessfully) assailed him throughout his entire first term. The governor currently finds himself at the center of a moronic, manufactured "controversy," underscoring the dispiriting reality that any Republican seeking high office must be prepared for the hypocritical, contrived, and demagogic nonsense the Left -- and their abettors in the media -- will erect in their paths. I'll leave you with a short, lighthearted promotional video for End of Discussion:

Our aim was to tackle an important issue with serious arguments, but without being too self-serious.  An outraged book about outrage, we decided,  probably wouldn't be especially fun to read (or write, for that matter).  We also set out to compose an enjoyable, intellectually honest book that would naturally appeal to our fellow conservatives, but that would also avoid needlessly alienating those moderates and liberals who share our commitment to genuine debate, open-mindedness and tolerance.  We need them in this fight.  End of Discussion is the culmination of that process.  Click through for more information on our project, and please consider pre-ordering a copy. Or six.

Guy Benson - Freakout: The Media's Breathtaking Double Standards on Patriotism and 'Civility'
Posted: 2/23/2015 9:36:00 AM EST

Democrats and Republicans play by different rules because the media enforces those rules, and members of the national press tend to be liberal Democrats. During the Bush years, we were often reminded, dissent was the "highest form of patriotism." Over the course Obama's tenure, dissent became dangerous, disrespectful, un-American and quite possibly racist. When a conservative figure says something that seems to impugn or question a prominent liberal's character or love of country, "civility" SWAT teams are dispatched to knock down some proverbial doors. Such transgressions mustn't stand. But when the dynamic is reversed, the civility police are curiously off duty. Which brings us to Rudygate. For days, the media elite have been hyperventilating into paper bags over caustic comments from a long-retired Republican mayor, who suggested that President Obama doesn't love America. (For the record, Giuliani's assessment was demagogic and unproductive). By virtue of another one-sided media rule -- which stipulates that top Republicans must always answer for every single Republican-involved "outrage" du jour -- Rudygate has magically morphed into Walkergate. The Washington Post decided to use precious time in an exclusive interview with Gov. Scott Walker to interrogate him about Giuliani's remarks, following up with the non sequitur question of whether he thinks Obama is a Christian. Here is the part of Walker's response over which the Outrage Circus is sputtering and fulminating:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott K. Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said Saturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian. “I don’t know,” Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president’s religion. “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” Walker said, his voice calm and firm. “I’ve never asked him that,” he added. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

He doesn't know? For shame! Anything short of an immediate profession of absolute assurance regarding the contents of Barack Obama's heart and mind is a scandal. Never mind that Hillary Clinton cagily said in 2008 that she took Obama "at his word" that he's not a Muslim; that doesn't matter right now. Also irrelevant? This portion of Walker's answer:

“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.” Walker said he did not believe that most Americans care about such matters.“People in the media will [judge], not everyday people,” he said. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue.” After the interview was completed, Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster telephoned The Washington Post to say the governor was trying to make a point of principle by not answering such kinds of questions, not trying to cast doubt on Obama’s faith.

Achingly true. And the press seems intent on proving Walker's point. Enjoy this sampling of the legacy media's reaction to Rudy's thoughts -- and Walker's thoughts about Rudy's thoughts, as well as Walker's thoughts on the media's thoughts about Rudy's thoughts. Mark Halperin:

Dana Milbank, whose journalistic integrity was on full display here:

What Rudy Giuliani did this week was stupid. What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender…This is what’s alarming about the Giuliani affair. There will always be people on the fringe who say outrageous things (and Giuliani, once a respected public servant, has sadly joined the nutters as he questioned the president’s patriotism even while claiming he was doing no such thing). But to have a civilized debate, it’s necessary for public officials to disown such beyond-the-pale rhetoric. And Walker failed that fundamental test of leadership.

Ron Fournier:

As Conn reported on Friday, the White House press corps was also in high dudgeon, obsessing on Rudy's assessment during that day's press briefing. By Conn's count, they asked 12 questions about Rudygate, and just one about the presumptive Democratic 2016 nominee's just-revealed conflict of interest/foreign money problem.  The Free Beacon did its own, similar tabulation. The contretemps were a hot topic on the Sunday morning chat shows, too. This "news judgment" is par for the course because the rules dictate that some stories are more important and outrageous than others. And inconvenient facts are elided when necessary. Fouriner, having demanded a full-throated RNC denunciation of Giuliani, explained that Obama and the America-loving Democrats are above such ugly cynicism:

Except for that time when he, you know, called the sitting president's debt accrual (!) "unpatriotic:"

The media cannot get over Rudy's acerbic commentary and Walker's "insufficient" reaction to it, but they couldn't have cared less about O's patriotism smear. Many of them probably aren't even aware that the latter statement occurred because it didn't really register on the MSM radar at the time. Obama was talking about Bush, after all, and the rules permit that.  Also allowed under this Civility Code of Conduct: (1) White House spokespeople calling Republicans suicide bombers, kidnappers and arsonists over budget tactics. (2) President Obama flatly stating that the GOP wants dirty air and water, and opposes people having healthcare. (3) House Democratic leadership branding Obamacare critics "un-American." (4) Nancy Pelosi calling House Republicans "unpatriotic." (5) The DNC chairwoman asserting that Republicans want to "literally" drag America back to the Jim Crow era. (6) Harry Reid sliming private citizens with whom he disagrees as "un-American." (7) House Democrats comparing conservatives and Republicans to "demons," "fascists," generic Nazis (on several occasions), political terrorists -- and, of course, Hitler(8) Vice President Biden allegedly referring to the Tea Party's "terrorist" tactics.  (9) Former Vice President Al Gore bellowing that the man who defeated him "betrayed" America.  Oh, and the same sort of journalists who are reaching for the smelling salts over Rudy's statements today were merrily writing about House Republicans' terroristic conduct during the debt ceiling debate of 2011.  Deranged, unhinged, demagogic, patriotism- and motives-questioning bile will not be tolerated.  Unless its targets deserve it, of course, in which case nastiness will be dismissed, downplayed and ignored (if not encouraged).  I'll leave you with a word on dissent from She Who Must Not Be Questioned:

To be clear, challenging opponents' patriotism is almost always unwarranted, wrong, and counter-productive.  I'm not racing to Rudy's defense here (though the Walker attacks are preposterous). I am, however, determined to call out the media's infuriating "civility" double standards and selective outrage, which lay bare their fundamental, and apparently incurable, biases.  Republicans are the bad guys, so they deserve tougher scrutiny.  And they ought to be grilled about, and held accountable for, all of their side's real or imagined sins -- whereas Democratic scandals and controversies are isolated incidents without any "emblematic" value.  Because that's how the rules work.

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