Video: Bloomberg Warns Grads Against PC Campus Culture, Gets Booed


Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, infamous among conservatives for his nanny state and gun control advocacy, has actually been quite strong in resisting the prevailing culture of hyper-sensitivity on college campuses. In his commencement address at Harvard several years ago, he cautioned his audience against the embarrassing lack of intellectual diversity at elite American institutions, where conservatives are glaringly underrepresented. A taste of his remarks, which Mary Katharine Ham and I highlighted in our book, End of Discussion:

There is an idea floating around college campuses – including here at Harvard – that scholars should be funded only if their work conforms to a particular view of justice. There’s a word for that idea: censorship. And it is just a modern-day form of McCarthyism. Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas, even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species. And perhaps nowhere is that more true than here in the Ivy League. In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96 percent of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama. Ninety-six percent. There was more disagreement among the old Soviet Politburo than there is among Ivy League donors. That statistic should give us pause – and I say that as someone who endorsed President Obama for reelection – because let me tell you, neither party has a monopoly on truth or God on its side. When 96 percent of Ivy League donors prefer one candidate to another, you have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a great university should offer. Diversity of gender, ethnicity, and orientation is important. But a university cannot be great if its faculty is politically homogenous.

That critique was met with applause in Cambridge, as faulty members and administrators squirmed in their seats. Bloomberg took his message a step further in his speech to new graduates of the University of Michigan over the weekend, scolding students for the stifling atmosphere of habitual offense-taking, censorship, and ideological enforcement that has poisoned campuses from coast to coast -- including in Ann Arbor. For his plea in favor of tolerance and open-minded debate, Bloomberg was booed. Via The Hill:

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was booed during a commencement address when he criticized college "safe spaces." Bloomberg said during the commencement address at the University of Michigan on Saturday that "keeping an open mind to new ideas is essential to your professional success — just as it's crucial to our collective future as a Democratic society." "The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure and shield students from these ideas through safe spaces, code words and trigger warnings is, in my view, a terrible mistake," he said. "The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations — not run away from them. A microaggression is exactly that: micro. And one of the most dangerous places on a college campus is a safe space, because it creates the false impression that we can insulate ourselves from those who hold different views."

Bravo to Bloomberg, and shame on the sniveling, self-absorbed, intolerant children who booed him.  That this sentiment would be greeted with negative jeering anywhere in a supposedly free society is depressing unto itself. That the boos rose up from college students -- overtly rejecting the concepts of pluralism, free thought and adult comportment -- tells you everything you need to know about why the anti-PC backlash is so ferocious.  Meanwhile, there's an update to an outrageous story we also featured in End of Discussion.  The Washington Post reports:

A tenured professor and a legal institute are suing Marquette University, claiming a breach of contract for the suspension imposed after he publicly criticized an instructor for stifling debate in class. The conflict began in 2014: After a student complained after a philosophy class that he was disappointed that he and others who question gay marriage had not been allowed to express their views during the classroom discussion, the graduate-student instructor told him that opposition to gay marriage was homophobic and offensive and would not be tolerated in her theory of ethics class. John McAdams, an associate professor of political science at Marquette, blogged about it, writing that the instructor “was just using a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.” ...McAdams was suspended without pay the following month and banned from campus, and in March of this year he was told by university president Michael Lovell he could not return to teaching unless he wrote a letter acknowledging that his behavior had been reckless and incompatible with Marquette values and that he feels deep regret for the harm he did to the instructor. On Monday, McAdams and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, claiming breach of contract.

This tenured professor was fired (!) for publicly calling out another instructor at his nominally Catholic university for explicitly shutting down a debate about same-sex marriage in her ethics (!!) class. She upbraided a student for "homophobia" because he dared to adhere to the Catholic Church's stance on the issue. Supporters of the robust exchange of ideas in academic settings, and opponents of the punishment of alternative viewpoints, should hope Prof. McAdams wins his suit and takes a giant bite out of Marquette's wallet. What a disgraceful episode. I'll leave you with this:


As a Yankees fan, I don't much care for Curt Schilling. The "bloody sock" game was a deeply unfortunate blemish in Yankees history. And I would not have shared the provocative -- and certainly offensive to some -- transgender bathroom-related meme that got Schilling fired from ESPN (the whole thesis of End of Discussion is that the Left's new weaponized form of political correctness seeks to actively punish 'thought transgressions'). But even if you're willing to defend the network's decision to pull Schilling off the air, if they're also censoring sports history as a means of exacting additional retribution against the former pitcher for his "transphobia," that is frighteningly Orwellian. ESPN's pro forma "editing for time" excuse is lame garbage; it also makes zero sense, given the context of the series their film documents. 'Your subversive thoughts will not be tolerated, Mr. Schilling. You're fired, and we'll see to it that your historical contributions to the world of sports are systematically erased to the greatest extent possible.' Beyond creepy. End of Discussion.

Democrats To Sanders: Do Not Leave Us With Hillary...Just Yet

Feeling the Bern seems to be still going strong, or Democrats like watching it from the sidelines, because a new poll shows they do not want the disheveled Democratic socialist from Vermont to drop out of the race. In fact, they want him to stay in all the way to the Democratic Party’s convention in Philadelphia this summer. Then again, the delegate lead Hillary Clinton has amassed over Sen. Bernie Sanders is almost insurmountable, but the fact that almost 60 percent of Democrats want Sanders to remain still reinforces that Hillary isn’t the left’s first choice (via the Hill):

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats said Sanders should stay in the race until the summer nominating event, according to a NBC News-Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday.

Only 25 percent said he should drop out after the last votes are cast on June 14 in the final Democratic primary in Washington, DC. Sixteen percent said Sanders should drop out now.

Clinton leads Sanders by about 300 delegates with just over 1,000 still up for grabs. Because Democrats award their delegates proportionately, Sanders would have to defeat Clinton by huge margins in the remaining states to catch her.

Even if he does, which is unlikely, Clinton has a huge lead among superdelegates who have pledged to support her at the convention. Those votes are likely to put her over the top for the nomination.

Over at the Washington Post, Philip Bump wrote that Sanders could forced a contested convention, but it’s doubtful he could emerge victorious:

Back in the halcyon days of Sanders's "momentum," when he'd won seven of eight contests in a row, including a big win in Washington, his argument was that the momentum would propel him through the end of the voting in June, offering a compelling argument to superdelegates that the will of the party now rested with him, and that Clinton's early support was therefore negated. Then he lost five of the last six races — and Clinton's delegate lead returned to about what it was in the middle of March. The momentum was, as many had suspected, a function of several Sanders-favorable races clustered in a short window (as was the recent streak by Clinton). The race hadn't really changed at all.

Now, it seems, Sanders's argument will be that his strong performances at the tail end of the contest, including a win in California — coupled with close national polling — should provide the same motivation to superdelegates to embrace his candidacy. Sanders is who the party now wants to win.

There are a few flaws in that argument, including that Sanders's one-point deficit in the national Real Clear Politics polling average — which came right after those seven wins — has now widened to four points. The biggest problem for Sanders, though, is that, unlike on the Republican side, California isn't the last contest. The last contest for the Democrats is the D.C. primary, on June 14. And there is essentially no way that Clinton will lose that contest, given how strongly she has performed in places with large black populations.

[…]

On CBS on Sunday, Sanders insisted that his campaign might still win the majority of pledged delegates. "We need to win 65 percent of those votes," he said of the remaining total. "The states coming up are favorable to us."

The problem for Sanders is, as it has always been, that Democratic contests are all proportional. He needs to win every state by a wide margin to hit his goal. The other problem for him is that nearly half of the remaining delegates are in California. If he and Clinton essentially tie there — or even if he wins by five points, which polling suggests won't happen — he needs three-quarters of the delegates everywhere else to make up for it (including New Jersey and D.C.).

Could he win pledged delegates? Yes, in the sense that he could win the lottery.

Still, concerning strength, Sanders has let go hundreds of campaign workers, and he’s started to shift from attacking Hillary to where he wants the Democratic Party to go in the future in his stump speeches; a signal that he’s beginning to see that the ride is almost over. He’s raised millions, along with being the candidate who has spent the most this cycle, even outraising the Clinton machine, but that’s also ended with the April fundraising hauls. So, the Sanders camp seems to be buckling a bit. Nevertheless, he definitely has enough money to last him until July, although he will have to contend with the criticism that he’s splintering the party at a time when they could unite and exploit the deep divisions with Republicans over Trump. At the same time, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination—if Trump becomes the standard bearer for the GOP, it’s not far off to suggest that Democrats will turn out in droves to stop him. Democrats have a united party regardless of who wins, or what convention drama that will unfold in Philadelphia. The same cannot be said for Republicans at present.

After Navy SEAL Killed on Front Lines, White House Still Refusing to Call U.S. Troop Role in Iraq Combat

Tuesday morning Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a Navy SEAL operating as an advisor to Peshmerga forces was killed on the front lines against ISIS. Carter specifically said the SEAL was killed in combat after he was shot when ISIS soldiers broke through an Iraqi forces checkpoint and made their way to Peshmerga territory just outside of Mosul. 

Despite the classification by Carter that the casualty was in fact a combat death, the White House is still refusing classify the role of U.S. troops in Iraq as combat. Since 2014, three U.S. service members have been killed in the war against ISIS.

"What I think is true is that Iraq and Syria are dangerous places and our men and women in uniform, who are engaged in a mission to offer training, advice and assistance to Iraqi forces that are fighting for their own country, are doing dangerous work. They are taking grave risks to protect our country. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude. Today's incident is a vivid reminder of the risks our service members are taking and some of them, three of them now, have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country," Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday. "But the President has been clear, time and time again, exactly what their mission is. That mission is to support Iraqi forces on the ground who are taking the fight to ISIL on the front lines."

The White House also offered condolences to family.

#TransformationTuesday: Five Times Ted Cruz Praised Donald Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) didn't hold back on Tuesday while addressing Indiana voters about Donald Trump. He warned voters that Trump is a pathological liar and a narcissist.

That speech was essentially the completion of Cruz's 180 degree turn on Trump over the past year. In the spirit of "transformation Tuesday," let's take a look at five times Cruz had some nicer things to say about Trump.

1. June 2015: Cruz issues a welcome statement saying that Trump can make America great again

“I’m pleased to welcome Donald Trump into the race for the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States. His experience as a successful businessman and job creator will prove crucial to ensuring the eventual GOP nominee is not only well-equipped to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, but also to make America great again.”

2. June 2015: Cruz: "I like Donald Trump" and he shouldn't have to apologize for his immigration comments

“When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald Trump. I think he’s terrific. I think he’s brash. I think he speaks the truth,” Cruz said during an interview on “Fox and Friends” promoting his new book. “And I think NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong.”

3. July 2015: Cruz says Trump is taking on the Washington Cartel

"He’s bold and brash, and he’s willing to speak the truth. And he’s taking on the Washington cartel," Cruz said.

[...]

"I appreciate Donald focusing on illegal immigration," Cruz said. "I've been proud to defend him for focusing on illegal immigration."

4. August 2015: Cruz refuses to bash Trump, and praises him for making illegal immigration a campaign issue

“Quite a few members of this field have attacked Donald Trump. A lot of folks in the media have asked me ‘Ted Cruz, will you do the same?’ I have been glad to praise Donald Trump for speaking out boldly and brashly and for focusing on illegal immigration.”

5. December 2015: Cruz tweets that Trump is "terrific" and that there's not going to be a "cage match" between the two

Looks as though the Trump/Cruz friendship is officially, totally, dead.

Good News for #NeverTrump, Jim Beam Fills 14 Millionth Barrel

For the first time in bourbon making history, Jim Beam has filled and sealed its 14 millionth barrel since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, according to the Associated Press.  

Seventh-generation master distiller Fred Noe and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin sealed the barrel Monday at the company’s flagship distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, just outside of Louisville.

Bevin said Kentucky bourbon is now an international symbol of the state’s heritage and craftsmanship. The milestone comes two years after the distillery filled its 13 millionth barrel.

This news may be of pleasure to those Americans who despise the voting decisions of states like Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Vermont.  

While those in the #NeverTrump band wagon drink their miseries away, now is the time to turn our attention towards Hillary Clinton and the new age liberalism that has crippled America.  

Precious Cupcakes At Drake University Block Recognition Of Conservative Turning Points USA, Called Them 'Hateful'

Apparently, a groups that mainly focuses on lower taxes, less government, and fiscal responsibility is “hateful” in the eyes of the precious cupcake brigade at Drake University. These social justice warriors at the Iowan school rejected a motion to recognize a Turning Points USA chapter on campus in April (via Campus Reform):

According to minutes from the Senate’s April 21 meeting, opponents gave several reasons for rejecting the application to establish a Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter on campus—from claiming that its mission is too specific to arguing that Drake already has other conservative clubs—but expressed particular concern about the group’s views on social issues.

Senator Kevin Kane, for instance, said he could not justify approving TPUSA because of its “hateful record,” claiming that some of its tweets “directly relate to social issues.”

Senator Linley Sanders also took issue with the group’s social media activity, saying she “does not support some things concerning social issues on their Facebook page.” She denied that her opposition was based on TPUSA “being conservative” in general, however, saying she was merely worried that “the organization may be against specific groups[,] which could be perceived as condescending.”

Hypeline reports that a third senator, Olivia O’Hea, even criticized the prospective student group for pro-life tweets sent from the personal Twitter account of TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk, contrasting O’Hea’s argument with posts from her own Facebook page (which are no longer public) declaring her support for Planned Parenthood.

A few senators did dissent from the prevailing view, notably Senator Jon Lueth and Vice President Zachary Blevin, both of whom pledged to set aside their personal political beliefs and support the club in the interest of promoting free expression, but according to KCCI, the final tally was a lopsided 15-3 against recognizing TPUSA.

Hypeline, a project of Turning Points, had a more detailed piece about what occurred during the April 21 meeting. Sanders took issue with the group’s pro-Second Amendment stances, and O’Hea took umbrage with the group’s “I Survived College Without Becoming a Liberal” t-shirts.

Yeah, I may not like that leftist students wear Che Guevara t-shirts, who was also reportedly a vicious racist, but that wouldn’t stop me from supporting a Marxist club on campus (though it seems like most college campuses are one giant left wing country club). But that’s beside the point. There was absolutely no reason for Drake to reject Turning Points USA other than they’re a conservative group. To suggest otherwise is grossly disingenuous. Reform added that Turning Points could re-apply for recognition again once a new student senate is convened next year.

Hillary: My Comments Saying We'd Put Coal Miners Out of Business Weren't In Context or Something

Back in March, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the follow: 

"We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business," she proudly proclaimed.

According to Hillary Clinton, you can have a job in the energy industry so long as it's in the so-called "green" energy sector progressives choose.

Clinton, of course, made those comments in an effort to appease her far-left, fascist environmentalist, anti-fracking, global warming alarmist, anti-fossil fuel voting base. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was furious about the comments and her efforts to make the argument that coal mining jobs should be transferred into the renewable energy sector (which cannot survive without government subsidies) fell flat. 

This week, Clinton is campaigning in coal country and she was confronted by laid off coal miner Bo Copley for her comments.  Naturally, she responded by saying her comments were out of context and that people were misusing her statement.

"I just want to know how you can say you're going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you're going to be our friend because those people out there, don't see you as a friend," Copley said.

"I don't know how to explain it other than what I said was totally out of context from what I meant," Clinton responded. "It was a misstatement."

>

Former President Bill Clinton is also having a rough time in the regin.

Clinton has promised to protect President Obama's legacy, which is one that includes the utter destruction of the coal industry for ideological and political reasons.

“The reason the coal industry is suffering in this country is because of the policies of the Obama administration. When he first ran for president, Barack Obama made it clear that he intended to bankrupt the coal industry. When he couldn’t get his destructive cap-and-trade plan through Congress, he used the EPA to promulgate regulations on the coal industry that will cost our economy between $29 billion and $39 billion annually," FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon said in a statement. “If Hillary Clinton was serious about helping the economies of coal states, she would pledge to reverse the regulatory onslaught of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, she has already indicated that she plans to continue waging the war on coal and double down on radical environmental policies that are devastating coal states and destroying jobs.” 

This post has been updated with additional information.

Venezuelan Socialism: Two-Day Workweeks, No Supplies, And A Government So Broke It Can’t Pay For Its Own Currency

The economic disaster caused by Venezuela’s 21st Century Socialism continues to reap havoc on the nation’s socioeconomic fabric. We have rolling blackouts due to energy shortages. There’s a lack of access to television, long distance phone service, and toilet paper. And with the government failing to provide, the people have resorted to looting. Now, the government has shortened its workweek to just two days (via Opportunity Lives):

Venezuela is coming apart at the seams. Crime is rampant, jobs are scarce, poverty is alarmingly high and looting is prevalent in big cities and rural towns. Venezuelans spend hours every day waiting in line at their local grocery stores and supermarkets hoping to purchase whatever rations may be available. And now there are reports that with energy and electricity in such short supply, the socialist government is cutting the workweek to two days

[…]

With misery rising, Maduro is running out of excuses. For months he has blamed Venezuela’s severe food shortages on a “conspiracy” by the United States. It’s gotten so outlandish that the Venezuelan government recently claimed that Vice President Joe Biden is plotting Maduro’s assassination.

[…]

What’s strange is that just as Venezuelans are in most need, the government is reducing its availability to deliver basic public services by shortening its workweek.

Not surprisingly, the people are taking to the streets and demanding change. Discontent is no longer confined to the middle class. Now even Venezuela’s poorest, once the most faithful devotees to the promises of socialism under Chavez, are calling out for help and pleading for a lifeline.

In terms of finances, the country is in such dire straits that they may run out of money “to pay for its money” (via Bloomberg):

Venezuela’s epic shortages are nothing new at this point. No diapers or car parts or aspirin -- it’s all been well documented. But now the country is at risk of running out of money itself.

In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

[…]

The currency crisis sheds light on the magnitude of the country’s financial woes and its limited ability to remedy them as oil -- the mainstay of its economy -- continues to flatline. Venezuela’s inflation, the world’s highest, is expected to rise this year to close to 500 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Total disaster.

Cruz Warns Indiana Voters: Trump Is a 'Pathological Liar,' 'Think About Your Children'

Speaking to the press in Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday, Ted Cruz unloaded on Donald Trump perhaps more than he has at any point in the 2016 campaign. The Texas senator warned Hoosiers that Tuesday’s primary will have national significance and that a victory for Trump will jeopardize American values.

In his remarks, Cruz called Trump "narcissistic" and a "pathological liar." Then, Cruz reminded voters that Trump once admitted he doesn’t like to ask God for forgiveness.

“What does that say” about him? Cruz asked. “I’ve asked for forgiveness three times already today.”

Trump’s bullying and lack of humility are not presidential qualities, he argued.

“Think about your children,” Cruz pleaded. “This is not who we are. This is not our values.”

Cruz’s testy press conference comes a day after his combative 7-minute exchange with a Trump supporter on Monday. The senator offered the voter information about Trump’s not-so-conservative record on guns, etc., but the sunglass-wearing voter insisted on calling him “lyin’ Ted.” Safe to say, Cruz didn’t win his vote.

If Hoosiers come out today and deny Trump another victory, it “will change the entire trajectory of this campaign,” Cruz said. “Indiana can do it.” 

Heidi Cruz: My Husband Is Definitely Not the Zodiac Killer

Sen. Ted Cruz's wife Heidi has addressed the bizarre-yet-slightly-humorous meme that says Ted is the Zodiac Killer. According to Heidi, she's pretty certain her husband isn't the Zodiac (especially since he was born after the first crimes took place), but the "garbage" on the internet doesn't bother her.

From Yahoo:

Heidi spent Monday morning traveling across Indiana in support of her husband’s presidential campaign. At a cafe in Carmel, Yahoo News asked for her reaction to a series of jokes Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore made at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night where he repeatedly called her husband “the Zodiac Killer.”

“Well, I’ve been married to him for 15 years and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn’t bother me at all. There’s a lot of garbage out there,” Heidi said.

Despite Heidi's confirmation of something we already knew, the meme just won't die:

...sigh.

Killed in Combat: Navy SEAL Shot While Advising on Front Lines Against ISIS

The Defense Department has confirmed a Navy SEAL working on the front lines near Mosul as an advisor to Peshmerga troops has been killed by ISIS small arms fire. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is acknowledging the SEAL was killed in combat, a term the Obama administration has avoided using to describe two previous U.S. troop casualties in the fight against ISIS since 2014. 

Earlier today Carter announced an American serviceman had been killed, but the details were not released.

The military official said the soldier was killed by "direct fire" after Islamic State forces penetrated the peshmerga forces' forward line. The American was three to two to three miles behind that front line before the attack was launched, the official added, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.  

‘Political Asteroid’ Incoming: Trump Leads GOP Opponents By 34 Points In California

In April, radio host and commentator Hugh Hewitt noted that he doesn’t see how GOP frontrunner Donald Trump could get to 1,237 delegates by the time the Republican Party has their nominating convention in July. Speaking with MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, Hewitt’s rosy hypothetical gave the billionaire 51 of Indiana’s 57 delegates, but added that he wouldn’t nab any in Nebraska, South Dakota, or Montana. At the time, Trump needed 392 delegates to reach 1,237. Hewitt’s projections after 14 of the remaining 15 contests placed Trump only at 273. That would mean Trump would need to clinch 119 of California’s 172 delegates, which Hewitt said he doesn’t think is possible, unless a “political asteroid” hit the Golden State. Well, from the latest poll, Mr. Trump has a whopping 34-point lead, so that asteroid might be incoming (via the Hill):

Donald Trump leads his GOP presidential rivals by 34 points in California ahead of the state's primary on June 7, according to a poll released Monday.

Trump is at 54 percent support, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 20 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 16 percent, according to the SurveyUSA poll published by ABC7.

All three candidates spoke at the state GOP convention over the weekend, and California is the final major state with delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination up for grabs.

[…]

The survey of 2,400 Californians, including 2,011 registered voters and 529 likely GOP primary voters, was conducted April 27–30.

That’s almost insurmountable, though Hewitt said the Cruz team is organized in California, whereas Trump isn’t. Let’s see what happens. According to the RealClearPolitics average, Trump has a 26-point lead. 

Republicans Halt Obama HHS Nominee Over California Abortion Mandate

Congressional conservatives are taking a stand against the Obama administration’s abortion agenda by blocking one of the president’s Health and Human Services nominees. Until the White House investigates whether California is unlawfully forcing health insurers to cover abortions, Mary Wakefield, the deputy HHS secretary candidate, will have to wait.

The Senate Finance Committee, led by Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), is placing an obstacle before Wakefield – not out of personal animosity, but concern for the right to life and religious freedom in California. A couple of years ago, the state’s department of health mandated that insurers provide coverage for abortions as a “medically necessary procedure.” As a result, some churches and Catholic institutions were forced to violate their religious beliefs. Pro-life groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation condemned the directive as discriminatory and filed lawsuits against the state’s department of managed health care, but the mandate remains.

The rule, Hatch and others argue, violates the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits any kind of discrimination against insurers who opt out of abortion coverage. The HHS Office for Civil Rights began an investigation into the matter in December 2014, but as of today it seems little progress has been made.  

While Wakefield may not have been privy to California’s biased law, she will be used as a symbol of resistance until the administration proves it is seriously looking into this intolerant decree.  

ICE Gets More Taxpayer Money For Fewer Deportations

In the real world, Americans don’t typically get paid more money for doing less work than they were before, but this is the government we’re talking about. Thus, it’s only fitting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received more taxpayer money in the last few years despite the fact that the agency has deported 43 percent fewer illegal immigrants from 2012 to 2015.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

ICE deported nearly 410,000 aliens in 2012 when it received roughly $2.8 billion in taxpayer funds. In 2015, the agency expelled just 235,413 aliens but received around $3.5 billion to fund its deportation programs, according to the DHS statistics.

Deportations dropped by 174,436 over the past three years despite an increase in funding totaling more than $680 million, according to statistics highlighted Monday by the Senate subcommittee on immigration and the national interest.

In total, ICE was shown to have received around $3,901 more in funding for each illegal immigrant it failed to deport over the years.

“ICE removed nearly 43 percent fewer total aliens from the United States in FY 2015 than it did in FY 2012—and nearly 62 percent fewer aliens from the interior of the United States,” the subcommittee found, adding that from 2012 to 2015 the agency's budget for detention and removal grew roughly 25 percent.

And the reason for the decrease in deportations? Lawmakers placed the blame squarely on the Obama administration’s policies.

“This dramatic decline in deportations is the direct result of policies implemented by the Obama administration to get around plain law passed by Congress,” the subcommittee noted.

O'Reilly: Trump Will Be Nominee, Even if Cruz Wins Indiana

Many have called Indiana’s primary a do-or-die state for Sen. Ted Cruz, but Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly isn’t convinced.

On CBS’ “The Late Show,” Monday evening, host Stephen Colbert wanted to talk about Indiana, and specifically, understand “what the hell is going on” with the race.

To O’Reilly, Indiana isn’t as big of a deal as the media is making it out to be because Trump can’t be stopped, he said.

“I called the race three weeks ago for Trump—you can’t stop him,” O’Reilly told Colbert. “And what the media does—the TV media—they try to get the horserace so you watch, but it was over three weeks ago after New York.”

The Democratic race has also been over for weeks now too, he added.

 “Same thing with Hillary Clinton. Feel the Bern all you want but the Bern’s gonna be in the refrigerator. And Clinton’s gonna be the nominee… so it’s Hillary versus Trump.”

If Cruz manages to pull off a win in Tuesday’s Indiana primary, it will give the Texas senator “a little bit of a thing to hang on to,” O’Reilly said, “but it’s still gonna be Trump.”

 For his part, Cruz says he’s staying in the race as long as he has a “viable path to victory.”

“I am competing to the end and the reason is simple,” he said on the campaign trail. “If Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump become president we’ll see liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court and we’ll see the Heller decision overruled, which means the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms will be stripped away from every law abiding American. If we allow the next president to be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump we will see the same economic stagnation, we will see taxes rising on the American people. We will see jobs going overseas."

Panetta Reflects on Bin Laden Raid: I Wouldn’t Have Guessed Al Qaeda Would Metastasize Like It Has

Five years ago on Monday, justice was served. It was the day President Obama gave the order to send a group of Navy SEALs into Abbottabad, Pakistan to find and kill Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader behind the September 11 terror attacks.  In a new CNN special Monday night entitled "'We Got Him': President Obama, Bin Laden and the Future of the War on Terror," Obama offered new insight into the minutes and hours leading up to the decision to give the green light on the successful raid.  

“Everybody had had their say by the time I made my decision,” Obama told CNN’s Peter Bergen.

“We had prepared as well as we could,” with the limited information they had received, he added.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta joined Wolf Blitzer on CNN Monday night ahead of the network special to weigh in on the new developments. What is Panetta surprised to know about the terror threat now that he didn’t know then? Blitzer wondered.

“I would not have guessed Al Qaeda would have metastasized as it has,” and give way to even more terrifying terror cells like ISIS.

While there continue to be elements of Al Qaeda that are dangerous, ISIS, he said, is a clear and present danger that deserves more of our attention. Al Qaeda was a central threat, but ISIS is dispersed and more difficult to track, he explained.

Blitzer also asked Panetta why the U.S. has not been able to capture Al Qaeda leader Al-Zawahiri.

“It’s not for lack of effort,” Panetta said. The former CIA director thought it would be a “matter of time” before we pinned him down and he’s “not sure” why it hasn’t happened. Yet, he is confident they will find him.

One other interesting exchange between Panetta and Blitzer came when the CNN anchor asked if the former CIA leader thinks Pakistani leaders were intentionally hiding Bin Laden.

“I’ve never seen clear evidence,” Panetta answered. “But I’ve always suspected someone down the line… knew he was located in that area.”

Nice Try: Transgender Woman’s Story About Harassment At North Carolina Bathroom Seems To Be A Lie

Oh, here we go again. It’s another story of harassment against the LGBT community that appears to be a tall tale. Transwoman Alexis Adams said she was “humiliated beyond belief” when security guards escorted her out of the Transit Center in Durham, North Carolina. Her offense: using the woman’s bathroom and taking a selfie. Yet, security camera footage showed something very different (via Fox8):

“I couldn’t think. I couldn’t speak. I was speechless,” she said. “It was embarrassing. I was outed in front of everybody.”

The Durham woman said she wanted to make a statement by going into a woman’s restroom and snapping a selfie in the mirror.

She said a custodian confronted her when she came out of the stall and she was escorted out.

The city of Durham owns the Transit Center and recently released surveillance footage of the alleged incident after the original story was aired.

Adams can be seen in the video entering the public bathroom alone. About four minutes later, a custodian enters. Shortly later, Adams can be seen leaving the restroom by herself.

That’s not exactly being escorted out by security, Ms. Adams. When confronted with the footage by Fox8, there was prolonged silence followed by Adams saying, “You had to be there to witness it.” Without a doubt, the LGBT community faces harassment and discrimination, but this story appears to be a hoax. Did Adams not know that there were surveillance video cameras on the premises? Moreover, stories like these make it harder for actual victims of discrimination to come forward.

As Christine wrote, in Austin, Texas, a gay pastor alleged that a Whole Foods baker wrote an anti-gay slur on his cake. As it turns out, the whole episode was a giant lie. First of all, the baker who handled the cake is also part of the LGBT community, so major fail there. Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist broke down this hoax, listing rules for the precious cupcake brigade when it comes to manufacturing a hoax. Rule number one was picking a believable villain.

For Adams, saying “you had to be there” doesn’t cut it. Either security escorted you out, or they didn’t. From the footage, it appears this never happened.

WSJ: Hillary Has Some 'Explaining to Do' in Coal Country

Remember when Hillary Clinton proudly claimed she would put coal miners and coal companies "out of business?" She may have hoped those comments would not be a factor in the West Virginia and Kentucky primaries, but now that the primary schedule has brought her to coal country, it's all too clear that voters have not forgotten her controversial pledge. 

Soon after Clinton made the remarks at a CNN town hall in March, she walked them back, knowing they may come back to bite her in the Appalachia. In a letter to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), she admitted she made a mistake and insisted she had coal miners' backs.

That apparently did little to convince West Virginians. Recently, officials told Manchin the Clintons were "not welcome" in their town and Bill Clinton, who did manage to enter the state, received an icy reception from protesters who interrupted his speech over the weekend. 

As the Wall Street Journal notes, she has some explaining to do

Will Hillary's coal comments jeopardize her chances in West Virginia and Kentucky? Will it matter?

Update: Hillary was also confronted at a campaign stop on Monday by a laid off coal industry worker who asked her how she could dare ask for their friendship. In her response, Clinton insisted her remarks were "taken out of context."

The Republican National Committee released the following statement from spokesman Michael Short, who says that Clinton cannot have it both ways on an issue important to Appalachia voters.

“If Hillary Clinton really stood with coal country she’d be calling on the Obama EPA to stop taking a wrecking ball to their way of life," Short said. "Given her steadfast support for Obama’s War on Coal, her promise to ‘put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business’ may have been one of the few honest moments she’s had this entire campaign.” 

Ben Shapiro: Donald Trump is a Liar and He's Lying to You

Is Donald Trump a liar? Yes. Ben Shapiro has all the details surrounding what he's lying about and who he's lying to. 

Poll: Ohioans Want Kasich To Leave The 2016 Race

A new poll shows that nearly half of Ohio voters think that their governor, John Kasich, should drop out of the 2016 election. Curiously, more Ohio Republicans want Kasich to drop out than Ohio Democrats. Reasons for wanting him to drop out include concerns that he's neglecting his gubernatorial duties and that he's wasting taxpayer money.

PPP's newest Ohio poll finds voters in the state are getting sick of John Kasich's Presidential campaign. Only 38% think he should stay in the race, compared to 49% who think it's time for him to drop out. Those numbers have shifted substantially from early March when 52% of voters wanted him to continue on in the race and just 34% thought he should drop out. And the numbers for Kasich when it comes to dropping out are actually even worse for him with Republicans than they are with Democrats- 58% of GOP voters in Ohio think it's time for him to let it go, compared to only 33% who think he should stay in.

Kasich has only won his home state of Ohio, but came in second in four of the last five primary contests. He has 153 delegates, which is fewer than the 167 won by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who dropped out of the race in March.

Is it time for Kasich to pack it in? Or should he hold out and try to win an improbable victory in Cleveland?

Ouch: Pro-Abortion Emily's List Just Lost a Bunch of Elections

As the country becomes increasingly pro-life, with America's largest generation of Millennials leading the way, the extreme pro-abortion movement is suffering and failing to resonate with voters on election day. 

Last week, the pro-abortion lobbying group EMILY's List got crushed in a series of primaries, prompting supporters to question their strategy moving forward. More from Roll Call

Katie McGinty won Pennsylvania’s Senate Democratic primary last week thanks in part to a major investment from EMILY’s List, which spent nearly $2 million to help her overcome a difficult opponent.

It was the only good news on an otherwise dreadful night for EMILY's List which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights — the group also lost a quartet of races that has Democratic strategists questioning if its political operation requires a strategic reassessment.

Its most high-profile defeat was in the Maryland Senate Democratic primary, where an astounding nearly $3 million spending binge couldn’t prevent Rep. Donna Edwards from falling to fellow Rep. Chris Van Hollen by about 15 points.

But Edwards's defeat wasn’t the only stinging shortfall: Three other House candidates who had been endorsed by EMILY’s List also failed to win nominations in their Democratic primary races. In each case, the endorsed candidate lost badly.

The majority of Americans, including women, believe late-term abortion should be illegal. EMILY's List candidates, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, refuse to detail what, if any, restrictions should be placed on abortions.

Back in 2012 NARAL President Nancy Keenan resigned and lamented about a lack of young pro-abortion leaders to fuel the movement. As the country changes, the abortion movement is suffering from a lack of activists and a lack of single issue, abortion voters.

ICYMI: Criminal Justice Reform Nabs Four More Republican Sponsors

While the news cycle has been dominated by 2016 election politics, especially the antics of Donald Trump, there’s a critical battle on the Hill that seeks to create a fairer criminal justice system, which currently bleeds taxpayers $80 billion a year. Recently, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 has been subject to discussion among lawmakers, which garnered support from four additional Republican senators­–Thad Cochran (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK)­–last week.

Holly Harris, executive director of the U.S. Justice Action Network, commented on this development, saying:

American taxpayers are spending too much money locking up too many people for far too long – and we aren’t getting the public safety return we deserve. On behalf of our eight partner organizations representing conservative and progressive views, we applaud Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy and the bipartisan group of Senators who have worked so hard on legislation that safely reduces the federal prison population and makes our justice system fairer and more effective. We urge the full Senate to bring this legislation to a vote.”

Even veterans groups are starting to get behind the effort. On April 14, Dan Caldwell, Vice President for Political & Legislative Action with Concerned Veterans for America met with Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Sen. John Boozman (R-MO). Caldwell also a drafted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), urging the chamber to move “swiftly” on this bill, especially since the bill includes a provision that would assist veterans released from federal prison.

There has been resistance to this effort from the left and right. During the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference in March, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a Democrat, viewed this as a “Trojan horse” effort that will do nothing but shift costs from the federal level to the state and local municipalities. He also said that there is no such thing as a nonviolent drug offender, and added that statistics don’t mean much to the parent who’s trying to do everything they can to keep their kid safe and alive, while the drug dealer is on the street corner every day. Taking that element off the street is a big deal to those people. That’s a fair point. Things are viewed differently at the street level, but let’s not disregard facts and statistics. You simply can’t in any serious conversation on policy.

At the conference, Townhall ran into Derek Cohen, Deputy Director for the Texas-based Right On Crime, and Joe Luppino-Esposito, a policy analyst with the organization, where they noted that a lot of the rhetoric against criminal justice reform deals with some folks “unable to see the forest for the trees.” Esposito added that there is an argument that taking the low-level drug dealer off the streets might create an aura of safety, but the replacement for that dealer will be on the streets before he (or she) could be processed by authorities. It’s an expensive whack-a-mole game that doesn’t tackle who is really the source of the problem regarding drug trafficking: the kingpins.

Cohen also mentioned that back in the 1980s, we had a spike in violent crime, drug use, and trafficking, though criminology and policy discussions relating to the subject was in its infancy. There were no abstract concepts. Looking back, everyone agrees that the various tough on crime measures did reduce crime by 20 percent—but the question is what accounts for the remaining 80 percent.

Esposito said that it’s here where Clarke’s “we don’t need to be smart on crime, we want to be serious on crime” starts to look like nothing but a good slogan because it’s hard to take someone seriously when you shut yourself off from the facts, and the facts are there. He added that it would make a lot for sense to look at the 40 states that have initiated criminal justice reforms that Right on Crime has advocated to do something serious about crime, incarceration, and the costs associated with both.

Jason Pye, an ally in the criminal justice reform fight and communications director for FreedomWorks, said at the time:

Speaking for FreedomWorks I appreciate David Clarke’s service; I’m sure he means well, but what we know is that the policies of the last three decades have increased the number of prisoners, what we call mass incarceration. We have 2 million people in prison across the country that stay in federal and local jails…we know it costs $80 billion a year. What we’ve seen at state levels, states like Texas and Georgia, they implemented sentencing reforms and corrections reforms that reduced the cost.

Pye added that Texas saved $3 billion over roughly a ten-year period. Georgia started in 2011, and they saved $265 million. These are real savings that could be invested elsewhere. Recidivism rates have dropped–nine points in Texas alone–due to work training, education, and giving them the ability to be productive citizens.

Concerning Clarke’s remarks about statistics not mattering to parents at the street level, Pye said that people in that camp are just making emotional appeals. The argument is that we want our communities to be safe, but what we have seen in Texas (after their 2007 reforms) are crime rates dropping to their lowest levels since 1968.

He also mentioned cases, like Weldon Angelos, who is serving a 55-year jail sentence without the possibility of parole for dealing $1,000 worth of marijuana in three separate police stings, while also possessing a firearm. Yes, Angelos broke the law and deserved to go to prison, but as a first-time offender, did he deserve what’s pretty much a death sentence? When he is released, he’ll be around 80 years old. Even the judge who sentenced him feels the punishment is outrageous (via ABC News):

As a result, Angelos may not live long enough to experience freedom again. His case has haunted the federal judge that put him there.

"I do think about Angelos,” said Paul Cassell, a now-retired federal judge in the Utah circuit. “I sometimes drive near the prison where he’s held, and I think, ‘Gosh he shouldn’t be there. Certainly not as long as I had to send him there. ... That wasn’t the right thing to do. The system forced me to do it.”

[…]

Paul Cassell, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, now teaches law at the University of Utah. But he says the Angelos case still weighs on him, which is the reason he agreed to speak to “Nightline” about his ruling, something federal judges rarely do.

When Cassell delivered his ruling in the Angelos case, he was quick to point out how severe the sentence seemed compared to other, violent crimes.

“If he had been an aircraft hijacker, he would have gotten 24 years in prison. If he’s been a terrorist, he would have gotten 20 years in prison. If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55-year sentence? I mean, that’s just not right,”

And circling back to the costs, the taxpayers are set to eat a $1.5 million bill for keeping Angelos a guest of the government.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) signaled at the beginning of this year that he will lead the charge against criminal justice reform on Capitol Hill, with Pye commenting that maybe he should consult with his own governor, Asa Hutchinson, who backs such overhauls in our system. He also said that one only has look at Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina - all Republican states that have initiated criminal justice reforms, to see that they’ve reaped public safety dividends.

Keep in mind, no one is advocating that people convicted of drug offenses should be set free or get no jail time, but when the length of prison time for a first-time drug offender exceeds that of a terrorist or a child rapist, there’s something inherently unfair and unjust about that sentence. Moreover, it’s a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

Religious Freedom Around The World Further Declines

Just as press freedom around the world has been steadily declining in recent years, religious freedom is also under attack. 

“By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last Annual Report in 2015.   From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in this report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide," a new report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom states.  "[These] are crises in their own right which cry out for continued action on the part of the international community, including the United States.   To be effective, such action must recognize the unmistakable fact that religious freedom is a common thread in each of these challenges, and deserves a seat at the table when nations discuss humanitarian, security, and other pressing issues.  The United States and other countries must fully accord this right the respect it deserves and redouble their efforts to defend this pivotal liberty worldwide."

The report suggests the State Department add Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syrian and number of other countries to its list of "countries of particular concern."

"ISIL threatens the region, Iraq’s stability, and human rights and religious freedom for all Iraqis. ISIL’s violent religious and political ideology allows for no space for religious diversity or freedom of thought or expression," the report states. "The group has deliberately expelled minority communities from their historic homelands, forced them to convert to ISIL’s version of Islam, raped and enslaved women and children, and tortured and killed community members, including by stoning, electrocution, and beheading. ISIL has targeted all of Iraq’s smallest religious minority communities; its ongoing actions could well mark the end of ancient religious communities in northern Iraq."

In March, Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared ISIS is carrying out genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

You can read the entire report here.

Watch: Trump Supporter Calls Cruz "Lyin' Ted" To His Face

A small altercation took place on Monday between a Donald Trump supporter and Ted Cruz that may be a small representation of this year's entire primary race.  

Ted Cruz, the valiant conservative, tried and tried to inform the Trump supporter of his efforts in Washington, D.C. to topple the big-government machine.  

Time and time again, the Trump supporter was not having it and called Cruz "lyin' Ted" repeatedly.  

This is but a small dose of the mood in America.  

Watch:

Pakistani Interior Minister Not Happy with Trump's Prisoner Comments

In a recent interview on Fox News, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said that if elected he would free Shakeel Afridi, a man widely credited for tracking down Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  

Trump said he would get Pakistan to free Afridi "in two minutes," saying that Islamabad receives massive amounts of aid from the United States.

“I think I would get him out in two minutes. I would tell them [Pakistan] let him out and I’m sure they would let him out,” he said.

"Contrary to Mr. Trump's misconception, Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America," Pakistani Interior Minister Cheudhry Nisar said in a statement on Monday.

“Shakeel Afridi is a Pakistani citizen and nobody else holds the right to dictate to us about his future,” he affirmed.

These statements come on the fifth anniversary of the killing of Bin Laden.

Afridi has been accused in Pakistan of running a fake vaccination campaign in which he purportedly collected DNA samples to help the CIA track down Bin Laden.