Daniel Doherty - Election Preview: Can Lamar Alexander Fend Off His Primary Challengers Tonight?
Posted: 8/7/2014 2:45:00 PM EST

Only two states in the nation host primary elections on days other than Tuesday. And as it happens, Tennessee is one of them.

So at least we have this to look forward to tonight during a painfully slow news week, right?

Tennesseans will go to the polls to vote in party primaries on Thursday — including Sen. Lamar Alexander’s bid for a third term — but nobody really knows why.

All other states — except Hawaii, which votes this Saturday — hold their primaries on a Tuesday. Tennessee even holds its presidential primaries on Super Tuesday. Yet, when it comes time to elect or nominate state or federal candidates, the Volunteer State waits until Thursday.

Why? Per Politico, the reason is because the precedent was first established in Tennessee’s constitution by the Founding Fathers (adopted in the late 18th century) and hasn’t been meddled with since for some reason. Interestingly, too, no one interviewed in the article seems to have a clue as to why that’s the case. Nevertheless, while there are a number of Republican (and Democratic) primaries in Tennessee this evening, the most significant is, unquestionably, Lamar Alexander’s race. The Washington Post explains why:

Alexander is the last of six Republican senators who drew promising primary challengers this year claiming the tea party mantle. If he wins, it will mark the first time since 2008 that conservative insurgents have failed to dislodge a single Republican senator during the primary season.

Needless to say, Tea Partiers in the state are feening for an upset. But how do the polls looks for their preferred candidates? Simply put, there are two conservatives on the ballot tonight who are hoping to unseat Alexander: state Rep. Joe Carr and self-funded radio host George Flinn, neither of whom are particularly favored to win the race. (The former, however, was recently endorsed by Sarah Palin and Laura Ingraham).

Alexander, meanwhile, has a couple things going for him: he has been endorsed by many big-time Republican names in the state, ran an active and aggressive campaign (which seems to be the key to winning these kinds of elections), and outraised his most formidable opponent handily. That being said, especially this primary election season, establishment candidates that perhaps look good on paper have gone on to get creamed on primary night. Thus I wouldn’t completely rule out an upset just yet.

Polls close tonight at 8:00 PM EST.

Leah Barkoukis - ISIS Overtakes Iraq’s Largest Christian Town, Tens of Thousands Flee
Posted: 8/7/2014 2:28:00 PM EST

With ISIS advancing to northern Iraq on Thursday, overtaking the country’s largest Christian town and its neighboring areas, the conflict shows no signs of abating. Tens of thousands of residents fled for their lives.

The Daily Star reports:

ISIS militants moved into Qaraqosh and other towns overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish peshmerga troops, who are stretched thin across several fronts, residents said.

"Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants," Joseph Thomas, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told AFP.

Entirely Christian Qaraqosh lies between Mosul, the jihadists' main hub in Iraq, and Arbil, the Kurdish region's capital. It usually has a population of around 50,000.

Tal Kayf, the home of a significant Christian community as well as members of the Shabak Shiite minority, also emptied overnight. [...]

At the weekend, ISIS units took over most of the Mosul hinterland which the peshmerga had occupied after government forces retreated in June.

Among its conquests was the Sinjar area, from which tens of thousands of civilians fled, including many families from the Yazidi minority who are still hiding in barren nearby mountains.

The Yazidis, and other local residents, have been stranded in the mountains since Saturday with little food and water.

An estimated 100,000 Christians have been displaced, according to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, head of Iraq’s biggest Christian denomination.

“This is a humanitarian disaster,” he told AFP. “The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down.”

The situation is so dire, a Kurdish Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament took to the floor to demand the Parliament intervene to stop what she referred to as “genocide.”

“We are being killed. We are being butchered. A whole religion is being wiped out from the earth,” she pleaded. “Brothers, I call upon you in the name of humanity, rescue us!”

Greg Hengler - New Yorker's Remnick: Israel's "Occupation" to Blame
Posted: 8/7/2014 1:09:00 PM EST

Jack Coleman over at Newsbusters has this great response:

If the "occupation" by Israelis of the West Bank is the reason for the latest flareup, why aren't Palestinians lobbing rockets and digging tunnels into Israel -- from the West Bank? Instead, this is what they've done from Gaza -- which Israel relinquished nearly a decade ago. Israelis are no more obligated to negotiate a settlement with Hamas, terrorist thugs committed to their demise once and for all, than Americans are to negotiate with al Qaeda.

I'm still waiting, most likely in vain, for a prominent liberal in American media to reverse the order of his or her "yes, but" statement on Gaza, so that the obligatory criticism of Israel comes first, followed by the unequivocal denunciation of Hamas.

Remick does get it right in a narrow sense and not in the way he intends. Hamas and other radical Palestinians won't end their war against Israel until Israelis ends their "occupation" -- of Israel itself.

Cortney O'Brien - Oh Great: Rachel Maddow Producer Set to Run 'The View' This Fall
Posted: 8/7/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

Remember when Barbara Walters said "The View" needed a conservative voice? Well, that suggestion seems to have been all but dismissed with the show's latest hire.

Bill Wolff, longtime producer of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," is set to replace Bill Geddie at the ABC morning talk show this fall. For those of you who don't know, Rachel Maddow is one of the most liberal figures on TV. She has routinely defended President Obama on her show against the mean old media, as well as Obamacare. So, suffice it to say, her former producer's presence on "The View" does not bode well for what's left of the show's conservative audience.

When Elisabeth Hasselbeck left her place at the famous coffee table last year, she took the lone conservative "view" with her. She was routinely outnumbered and attacked by her liberal coworkers like Joy Behar and Rosie O'Donnell. Now, maddeningly, O'Donnell is returning to the show this fall, along with Whoopi Goldberg. The other seats have yet to be filled after Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy announced they were leaving as well.

To ABC's credit, this past year they have offered seats at the table to conservative personalities like Hot Air's Mary Katharine Ham, The Blaze's Dana Loesch and CNN "Crossfire" host S.E. Cupp. It would be in the best interest of ABC to hire a smart, conservative woman. Isn't the political banter what the show is all about? Who wants a Hot Topic discussion where everyone agrees and President Obama can do no wrong?

If "The View" offers more than one, maybe I"ll tune in again.

Conn Carroll - Hillary Clinton's Corporate Welfare Bank Problem
Posted: 8/7/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

Hillary Clinton may have already wrapped up the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination, but she is still having trouble connecting with non-Democratic partisans. According to the latest The Economist/YouGov poll, just 38 percent of Americans believe Hillary "understands the problems facing ordinary middle class people" while 44 percent of Americans say she does not.

Former-Clinton White House political director Doug Sosnik may have recently inadvertently explained why. In a 2013 memo he wrote:

Americans' long-brewing discontent shows clear signs of reaching a boiling point. And when it happens, the country will judge its politicians through a new filter—one that asks, "Which side of the barricade are you on? Is it the side of the out-of-touch political class that clings to the status quo by protecting those at the top and their own political agendas, or is it the side that is fighting for the kind of change that will make the government work for the people—all the people?"

And which side of that barricade is Hillary on?

One need look no further than the cozy relationship between Boeing, the Clintons, and the Export Import Bank.

In 2010, just months after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped Boeing land a $3.7 billion deal with a Russian firm, Boeing returned the favor by contributing $900,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation.

All of these wheels were greased, of course, with taxpayer dollars through the Export Import Bank, which helped finance Boeing's 2010 deal with Putin's state-owned holding company.

Former-President Bill Clinton has since gone to bat for the Export Import Bank, an entity that candidate-Barack Obama once called, "little more than a fund for corporate welfare."

At an Africa Business Forum this week, the former-president said, "Economics is not theology. If you're running a country, you've got to try to create an opportunity for all of your businesses to be competitive. ... That's all the Ex-Im bank does, and I've heard more ridiculous things said about the Ex-Im bank in the last six months than I have in my adult life."

What Clinton forgot to mention, other then the lucrative way that Export Import bank subsidies get funneled through Boeing and into his foundation, is that the Export Import Bank often subsidizes deals that end up hurting American businesses and killing American jobs. Just ask Delta Airlines which recently told Congress that subsidized Ex-Im financing of Boeing products hurts their bottom line.

The reality is that the Export-Import Bank does not create any net jobs. Whatever jobs it does create for the corporations it subsidizes are lost by non-subsidized businesses.

The only reason the Clintons support the Export-Import Bank is because it gives them an opportunity to graft off of the corporate welfare banks transactions.

These are exactly the type of crony capitalist deals that Americans, especially "ordinary middle class people" are sick and tired of.

Greg Hengler - Krauthammer Slaps-Down Obama's Calling Hamas "Irresponsible"
Posted: 8/7/2014 11:54:00 AM EST

Fournier followed-up Krauthammer's remarks with this: "Frat boys are extraordinarily irresponsible. Hamas is a terrorist organization that's killing people. Words matter when your trying to lead a country and trying to lead a world. I'm stunned by how poorly he uses them."

Daniel Doherty - Red State Senate Democrats Can’t Have it Both Ways on Abortion
Posted: 8/7/2014 11:45:00 AM EST

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has the undesirable task of running for re-election in a deeply red state. To make matters worse, many of her constituents are Christians, and therefore presumably find her pro-abortion voting record appalling. As a Catholic, she has struggled mightily in the past to square her unmitigated support for abortion rights with the tenets of her faith. This is why she has come under tremendous pressure from national pro-life groups to explain herself.

To her credit, she did try to defend her voting record in a recent statement. But needless to say it didn’t go so well:

"Sen. Landrieu believes that life is precious and a gift from God, but that every birth involves at least two lives: the life of the unborn child and the life of the mother. The government should not be involved in forcing decisions that are very personal and essentially family — and private — matters," Landrieu spokesman Matthew Lehner said in a statement.

How can one declare “life is precious” and, in the very same sentence, suggest that abortion rights are sacrosanct? It is one thing to argue that unborn children (read: “fetuses”) are nothing more than a “clump of cells,” unworthy of constitutional protections. This is an argument advanced by many pro-abortion activists. It’s quite another to start with the premise that all life is “precious,” shortly before declaring government has no vested interest in ending the culture of abortion in this country. It’s a total non sequitur.

That is to say, she can’t have it both ways. Is every life “precious and a gift from God,” or not? If not, she should say so upfront, and let the voters of Louisiana decide her fate. If it is, however, perhaps she should stop endorsing legislation that hurts both women and unborn children.

H/T: Steven Ertelt.

Greg Hengler - The Hamas Post-War Disproportionality Line Gets Established
Posted: 8/7/2014 11:31:00 AM EST

On CNN last night, the disproportionality line got the full roll out. Look for it coming to a media outlet near you all day, every day, for the next month.

Guy Benson - Brutal Polls: Americans are Fed Up, Demoralized, and Anticipate Decline
Posted: 8/7/2014 11:30:00 AM EST

Two national opinion polls released over the last two days reflect a deeply frustrated and pessimistic American public. The new NBC/WSJ survey, which tracks President Obama's approval to an all-time low in the series (40/54) and shows a slight Republican edge heading into November's elections, is bursting at the seams with negativity:

(1) Right track/Wrong track is at an abysmal (22/71).

(2) By a 22-point margin, Americans say the country is in a state of decline. On the question of whether people believe that "life for our children's generation will be than it has been for us," respondents said they are "not confident" on that score by nearly a four-to-one margin.

(3) This whole chart:


(4) On another 'satisfaction' issue set, respondents gave negative marks to the US government's handling of a series of international crises. The most acute dissatisfaction was expressed over the border crisis, with featured a 53-point thumbs-down margin. A majority of Americans said they agreed that, "we do not have the resources to deal with the thousands of children who have entered the country illegally and they should be returned immediately."

A fresh Associated Press poll is just as bleak on virtually every count. Obama's approval is upside down (40/59) overall, and underwater on every single issue polled. He's in the 30's on many of them. His best number is on handling relationships with other countries, at (43/55). Voters split evenly between preferring Republicans or Democrats to control Congress after the elections. Fully one-third of respondents said it doesn't matter either way. Republicans held a "trust" edge on seven of the eight specific issues polled. Noah Rothman's conclusion upon surveying these numbers: "These are awful numbers for incumbent Democrats heading into the fall. And we haven’t even started applying likely voter screens yet." True, but I suspect Pete Wehner's take is more lasting in its relevance:

Whatever the causes–and there are many of them–it can’t be good when there’s such massive dissatisfaction with our political system. For one thing, we have urgent challenges that require a political system that works, that people have confidence in. Beyond that, though, our political system–the extraordinary handiwork of our founding generation–produced what Lincoln called an “inestimable jewel.” It is one of the main reasons we revere our country. Sustained contempt for our political system is corrosive. It undermines our affections for America. And unless it is reversed, it will find increasingly disturbing outlets and end up doing durable damage to the nation we love.

America is in the grips of a crisis of confidence, and most people don't see a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment.

Katie Pavlich - Mother of Virginia Tech Victim Advocates For Concealed Carry on Campus
Posted: 8/7/2014 9:05:00 AM EST

On April 16, 2007 a crazed man walked onto the Virginia Tech campus and murdered 32 people. They were killed in a gun free zone and had no way to fight back.

Earlier this week during the annual Students for Concealed Carry conference in Washington D.C. Holly Adam Sherman, a retired Naval officer, advocated for concealed carry on campus. Sherman is the mother of Leslie Sherman, who was murdered at Virginia Tech. Last year during the Navy Yard shooting, Sherman and her husband anxiously waited to hear if their other daughter, who worked there, was a victim. Luckily this time, she was not.

"Put yourself in my shoes and wonder, 'What's the answer?'" she said. "If only on that horrible day someone in the dorm or in the classroom could have carried a weapon and stopped the killer in his tracks before he claimed 32 precious lives."