It's Over: Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Walker's Collective Bargaining Reforms

He endured massive protests and a contentious 2012 recall election, but Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has been vindicated in his efforts to curb union power in the state. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld his collective bargaining reforms he enacted in 2011, ruling them constitutional (via Associated Press):

The fight over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's signature policy achievement, a law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public employees, ended Thursday with the state Supreme Court declaring it to be constitutional.

The 5-2 state Supreme Court ruling is another major victory for Walker as he heads into the statewide election. Federal courts twice said the law, which limits public workers to bargaining only over base wage increases no greater than inflation, constitutional.

"No matter the limitations or 'burdens' a legislative enactment places on the collective bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation," Justice Michael Gableman wrote for the court's conservative majority.

The law also requires public employees to contribute more toward their health insurance and pension costs, bars automatic withdrawals from members' paychecks and requires annual elections to see if members want their unions to go on representing them.

In a two-sentence statement issued Thursday, Walker praised the ruling and claimed the law has saved taxpayers more than $3 billion — mostly attributable to schools and local governments saving more money because of the higher contributions.

"Today's ruling is a victory for those hard-working taxpayers," Walker said.

Additionally, the court also ruled that Wisconsin’s photo voter ID law, which was also passed in 2011.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld a 2011 law backed by Republicans requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

It was challenged by the National Association for the Advancement Of Colored People (NAACP) and the League of Women Voters in court. The NAACP argued that the requirement wouldn’t protect the integrity of the elections and “severely burden a significant number of qualified voters,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The Journal noted that the League of Women Voters argued that photo Voter ID was an "elector qualification" that violated the state’s constitution. The court ruled 5-2 in the state's favor in the suit brought by the League of Women Voters and 4-3 in the NAACP case:

The rulings in two separate voter ID cases were released Thursday morning among several major decisions issued simultaneously.

The law already was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court judge in Milwaukee this spring, meaning that Thursday's rulings have no immediate effect. That federal court decision is under appeal.

The NAACP, Voces de la Frontera and others had argued in their case that the law was unconstitutional because it would severely burden a significant number of qualified voters and was not necessary to prevent fraud. And the League of Women Voters argued that requiring voter ID was an additional "elector qualification" beyond what was required by the state Constitution.

In the case brought by the League, the law was upheld on a 5-2 vote with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissenting.

In the NAACP case, the law was upheld on a 4-3 vote with Abrahmson, Bradley and justice Patrick Crooks dissenting.

In a scathing dissent in the League's case, Abrahamson wrote, "Today the court follows not James Madison -- for whom Wisconsin's capital city is named -- but rather Jim Crow -- the name typically used to refer to repressive laws used to restrict rights, including the right to vote, of African-Americans."

Again, this isn’t a poll tax, a literacy test, or anything resembling Jim Crow laws, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, Gov. Walker is in the fight for political life. It also didn’t help news media engaged in shoddy reporting and bias (shocker, right?) regarding Gov. Walker’s alleged illegal coordination with outside conservative groups during his recall election.

Partisan Democratic district attorneys, as reported by our own Guy Benson, executed the so-called “John Doe” investigations, which were subsequently gutted by the state and federal courts. But, the media got their hands on a rejected subpoena, so you know, scandal.

Not something you want disseminated in a statistical dead heat with your Democratic opponent, but key legal victories nonetheless.

Bill Clinton Told Businessmen On 9/10/2001 That He Passed On Killing Osama Bin Laden

Newly-discovered audio from a September 10, 2001 meeting in Melbourne confirms that former President Bill Clinton could have killed Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s, but chose not to do so as hundreds of a civilians would have also been killed. The audio was forgotten about until recently and was released on Australian television on Wednesday.

Clinton was asked a question about international security, prompting his response about almost killing the head of Al-Qaeda. (emphasis added)

“And I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once,” Clinton is heard saying. “I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it.”

Hours later a terrorist attack organized by Bin Laden killed thousands of innocent men, women and children, fundamentally transformed the world as we know it and eventually led to two wars in the Middle East.

As my colleague Noah Rothman writes over at Hot Air, it's pretty fair to assume that Clinton would appreciate a do-over in this situation, but there are significant inconsistencies with Clinton's statement. Kandahar, for instance, isn't a small town—it's the second-largest city in the country.

Obviously, nobody in the room had any idea what was about to unfold in a few hours in New York, the District of Columbia, and in a field in Pennsylvania, but the world is still paying the price for Clinton's inaction in the mid-90s.

So, It Looks Like Warren Isn't Running For President

At Netroots, RedState’s Dan Spencer and I looked on as Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rallied the troops with her pugnacious brand of liberal populism. “She scares me,” said Spencer as we left the main ballroom, noting her unabashedly progressive leanings. What scares me about Warren, besides her positions on policy, is how she's become where the Democratic base aligns today. So, does this mean a future 2016 candidacy?


Last month, at a campaign stop for Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Warren said in the strongest terms possible, that she’s not running for president (via Boston Globe):

Warren has said she has no intention of running for president in 2016, which she reiterated in an interview (“I am not running for president. Do you want to put an exclamation point at the end of that?”).

Still, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote a good piece last April making the case for why 2016 is the time for Warren to run. Although, Warren’s donor base is warning her butt out of 2016 and let Hillary Clinton clinch the 2016 nomination; it’s her time, right? They’re also making it known that her candidacy could atomize the base. Then again, not everyone is ready for Hillary (via Daily Beast):

“If Elizabeth called me up and said, ‘I am thinking of running for president,’ I would say, ‘Elizabeth, are you out of your goddamn mind?’” said one New York-based donor who has hosted Warren in his living room. “I really like Elizabeth, but if Hillary is in the race it just makes no sense.”

This conversation was echoed again and again in more than a dozen interviews with big-ticket Democratic donors in Warren’s hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in cities that operate as ATMs for the Democratic money machine, like New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Over and over again, the message was the same: Stay in the Senate, Liz, stay in the Senate.

To be clear, the world of Warren-backers isn’t entirely ready for Hillary, and some are holding out hope that the Massachusetts senator joins the race.

“I think it would be very good if she were the nominee,” said Marc Weiss, a tech entrepreneur who helped fund a nascent Warren for Senate campaign soon after she announced. “She is closer to my views on almost every issue. I would be very enthusiastic if she decided to run.”

Well, it seems as if she has made her decision. Right now, she’s campaigning for her fellow Democrats across the country ahead of the 2014 midterms. That’s her focus, as indicated by the Burlington Free Press last month, where she delivered a few speeches in Vermont; consolidating her reputation as the point of the lance in this renewed populist resurgence.

AP Poll: Immigration Becomes Hot Potato for Democrats

A new national survey conducted by the Associated Press suggests that illegal immigration and the border crisis could be morphing into major political liabilities for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. Key take-aways:

(1) President Obama's approval/disapproval rating on the issue (considered "extremely" or "very" serious by 67 percent of voters) is underwater by...37 points:


Republicans are now more trusted on handling immigration policy, a 10-point swing since mid-May:


By a nine-point margin (44/53), Americans say the United States government does not have a "moral obligation to offer asylum" to people who come here to "escape violence or political persecution in their home country." The public is split on whether minors who say they're "fleeing gang violence" should be treated as refugees -- with a small majority (46/52) saying "no." A similar majority (51 percent) agree with Republican efforts to change a 2008 law "so that all children entering the country illegally are treated the same as those from Mexico or Canada and can be sent back to their home countries" without a deportation hearing. Only 18 of respondents percent oppose this idea.

The favor/oppose gap on approving of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already in the country has narrowed to five points (51/46); it was 15 points in January (56/41).

Meanwhile, vulnerable Democrats are anxiously eyeing reports that President Obama is poised to expand his 2012 'DREAM Act'-style deportation delay decree to include millions of illegal immigrant adults. The former executive action has been cited as one of the primary drivers of the current unaccompanied minor crisis. The latter possibility would likely ramp up the amnesty rumor magnet. It would also enrage Republicans. But based on the numbers above, it might also offend much of the electorate, as well. Red and purple state Democrats are therefore urging restraint -- not because they're vigilant guardians of the rule of law, mind you, but because their political careers hang in the balance:

The Senate’s most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, caught in the crosscurrents of immigration reform, are urging President Barack Obama to show restraint in using his executive powers to slow deportations. Obama is locked between a progressive base demanding aggressive action and voters in conservative states that will decide the fate of the Senate and hold outsized importance in shaping the final two years of his presidency. The White House is weighing how far it can go, legally and politically, in delaying deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants. His decision will be announced just weeks before Election Day, and the timing is precarious for Democrats running in conservative states, where any reminder of their ties to the unpopular president is problematic — let alone for a decision as sweeping and controversial as what the White House is considering.

Obama himself has slapped down the idea that he has the legal authority to unilaterally overhaul the federal deportation regime via executive order. Watch how he responded to immigration activist hecklers last year:

"The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend that I can do something by violating our laws. What I'm proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic process."

The problem is that he sketched out a similar vision of self-restraint and adherence to the law prior to his 'DREAM' action: “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations [of immigrants brought here illegally as children] through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed," he asserted in March of 2011. The next year, he unilaterally imposed a policy of...suspending deportations for many immigrants brought here illegally as children through executive order. I'll leave you with a 'no new amnesty for illegal immigrant adults' monologue from, um, Ed Schultz?

Then again, Ed's been known to get in line and salute mighty abruptly in the past. Oh, one more thing. According to the AP poll, O's approval on immigration is (31/68). How's his overall number looking?

Rep. Eshoo: GOP Should Stop 'Whining' About Obamacare Gutting HealthCare Plans

My colleague Guy Benson previously posted about how Sen. Mark Pryor labeled the Obamacare horror stories as “anecdotal.” He also noted that California premiums are going through the roof.

Well, there’s another Democrat on the Hill that can be added to the list of Obamacare deniers; her name is Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who said Republicans should stop “whining” about insurance plans cannibalized by Obamacare (via NRO):

“Your plan is whining. Your plan is suing the president and using taxpayer dollars,” Eshoo said to Republicans during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing as lawmakers debated a proposal by Representative Bill Cassidy (R., La.) to allow people to keep purchasing group plans currently available.

“I hope no more Saturday Night Live whining is brought up in legislation because it’s not attractive, it’s not truthful, and it really does not fit with the dignity of the American people,” Eshoo also said, referring to an old SNL sketch.

Eshoo argued that the Obamacare regulations that caused the plans to be cancelled improve on the old policies.

“I think that the benefits that come in the package as a result of reforming the health insurance industry, people care about that,” she said.

Representative Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), who is challenging Senator Mark Udall in the 2014 midterms, reminded Eshoo that “335,000 Coloradans had their health insurance plans cancelled thanks to Obamacare” even though President Obama had promised that people could keep their plans if they liked them.

Well, bravo, Congressman Gardner on that fine rebuttal. Since the Congresswoman is having some trouble remembering, President Obama made a promise to the American people that if they liked their plan, they could keep it – and broke it.

MRCTV Discovers That People Care About Migrant Children...To A Point

As the border crisis continues, migrant children are being relocated to cities all over the country, as they wait on their day in court for immigration processing. Some places simply cannot absorb them.

Earlier this week, MRCTV’s Dan Joseph ventured onto the streets of Alexandria, Virginia to see if compassionate Virginians support having some these unaccompanied minors transferred to the state.

In the video, Joseph has a clipboard with a petition to bring the children here. Some Virginia residents support the idea wholeheartedly, but balked when Joseph offered them another petition asking them to house one of the children in their homes.

One guy said he had to discuss this with his fiancé. Another man said it wouldn’t work because he lives with his mom.

So, when it comes to people supporting a more relaxed immigration policy, they don’t mind if illegal immigrants come to the U.S.; they just don’t want to give them food or shelter.

Ami Horowitz Braves the Streets of Cairo to Hang Out With the Muslim Brotherhood

Our good friend Ami Horowitz, the creator of the important documentary U.N. Me, recently took a trip to Egypt to talk with members of the Muslim Brotherhood about America's role in the world. What he found is scary, but at least he made the experience funny.

Things he found:

-Muslim Brotherhood members think President Obama is weak

-Muslim Brotherhood members think Americans are trying to convert Muslims to Christianity all over the world

-Joking about gays and alcohol in front of the Muslim Brotherhood is frowned upon.

-Osama bin Laden was made in America and paid for by the Jews

"You know my mother, she's part of the sisterhood in her synagogue, so she's got that going for her."
"I am not Muslim so I drink a lot of alcohol, like a ton of alcohol, like I think I have a problem."

Fun fact: Ami once got kicked out of the Geneva Convention on Townhall credentials. Go watch his film, you'll love it.

Son of Hamas Founder Defends Fight Against Terror: "Israel is Doing Them the Biggest Favor"

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Hassan Yousef, the man who founded the terrorist organization Hamas. He describes growing up in Hamas and witnessing "all of the bloodshed" and "dirty politics" surrounding the terrorist organization, which is why he speaks out against the group today.

Last night Yousef made an appearance on Hannity to respond to Hamas sympathizers in America and specifically responded to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments over the weekend that Hamas is a "humanitarian organization."

"Hamas movement is not a national movement and it's not a humanitarian organization. Hamas is a terrorist organization with a humanitarian face to it," Yousef said. "Hamas organization is simply a terrorist organization. She simply does not care about the lives of Palestinians, she does not care about the lives of Israelis."

Yousef also called on powers in the region like Qatar and Turkey to stop funding and supporting Hamas, especially since they know their support is used to kill Israeli citizens.

"This is the time to speak against them [Hamas] and to do everything I can to unmask their faces," he said. "Many Palestinians are suffering from Hamas and Israel is doing them the biggest favor by fighting against the Hamas organization."

He also encouraged President Obama to strongly condemn the organization and asks him to show leadership.

"How many Gaza wars are we going to witness in the future if we don't stop Hamas now? Israel is in the middle of the job. Let's help them. Let's support them disarm Hamas. Without disarming Hamas, Hamas will use children as shields, human shields in the future and there will be more wars," he said. "I'm asking the President of the United States of America as the supreme power in this world, we have responsibility, he has a responsibility."

Optimism to Win War on Terror Hits Decade Low

The number of Americans who believe the United States is winning the War on Terror is waning fast. According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, confidence has deteriorated to its lowest point in ten years.

Just 27% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That’s down eight points from 35% in April and 47% a year ago. This figure hit a high of 62% in February 2009 just after President Obama’s inauguration, then steadily deteriorated until the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when it rebounded into the 50s.

Thirty-six percent (36%) think the terrorists are winning that war, the highest level of doubt since the late Bush years in 2007. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say neither side is winning.

The poll additionally found that 59 percent of likely voters think a global conflict exists between the Muslim and Western worlds. President Obama stated in his 2009 inaugural address that he would seek to soothe the contention and seek “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”

Kenneth Timmerman, a journalist who worked in the Middle East and the author of “Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi,” told Townhall that the Obama administration’s policy shifts have only abated Islamic countries:

The shift goes to essentially enhance radical Islamist regimes around the world, or to create them, as happened in Egypt and later in Libya. And that, I think, is what led directly to the Benghazi attacks. It showed weakness, and in the Middle East and the Muslim world, where I’ve been reporting from for the past 35 years, weakness invites attack.

The unrest in the Middle East coupled with Obama's weak foreign policy tactics hardly bode well for the future security of the United States.

Lerner Emails: Conservative 'Crazies' and 'A--holes' will 'Take Down' America

Lois Lerner -- faithful, impartial public servant:

That screen grab comes from an email exchange between retired IRS official Lois Lerner and a colleague just after the 2012 election. Ms. Lerner describes overhearing some women discussing the state of the nation in dire terms, prompting her correspondent to blast "whacko" and "scary" right-wing radio shows. Lerner posits that America may be "through" if "that many a--holes" exist, later adding that the US shouldn't worry about foreign terrorists because "our own crazies" will "take us down." Granted, certain quarters of the conservative radio universe are too conspiratorial and apocalyptic for many people's taste. But the same holds true at the other end of the ideological spectrum. Lerner and her friend weren't talking about the Left, though. They were hand-wringing over, and insulting, conservatives -- whom Lerner clearly despises. A virtuosic juxtaposition from T. Becket Adams:

Lerner was slandering the Right as a bunch of nutty paranoiacs while she was personally presiding over a targeting operation that basically validated conservatives' most febrile persecution complex. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, drawing this newly-released document to the DOJ's attention. He concludes:

While the Committee has not seen any evidence of a serious investigation by your Department, it is my sincere hope that in light of this new, strong evidence that you immediately begin aggressively investigating this matter or appoint a special counsel. The failure to do so will only further erode public trust in not only the IRS, but the Department as well.

I'm sure Eric Holder -- who put an Obama donor in charge of the inquiry, and who loathes conservatives as least as much as Lerner -- will get right on that. Two thoughts on this email chain: First, nobody should be surprised by its contents. Lois Lerner is a committed Statist ideologue, and has been throughout her career. She's pontificated about using government agencies to combat adverse Supreme Court decisions, she was eager to investigate a Republican Senator even when there was no legitimate cause to do so, and she's "joked" about joining left-wing organizations. Her motives for managing the anti-conservative targeting regime (which she initially lied about) aren't mysterious. These new comments merely confirm her aggressive biases in explicit and vulgar terms. Second, I'd wager that Ms. Lerner wishes she'd "scratched" another hard drive or two. One can only imagine what might lurk within the trove of "accidentally" deleted/lost/recoverable/missing emails sent by this contemptible woman of a two-year span.

CA Insurance Commissioner: Individual Premiums 'Skyrocketed' in 2014

Why is a partisan California Democrat making a 'statement against interest' by sounding the alarm over soaring Obamacare premiums? In order to arrogate more price-control power for himself, of course. He wants voters to approve a ballot measure that would hand the government -- and him, specifically -- the power to reject proposed rate increases deemed to be 'excessive.' Insurers oppose the measure, which they (understandably) argue would not solve the problem of higher costs -- not to mention the significant risk of providers pulling out of the market. Nevertheless, state health commissioner Dave Jones' statistics paint a picture of steep 2014 premium hikes in California. Obamacare at work:

The cost of health insurance for individuals skyrocketed this year in California, with some paying almost twice what they did last year, the state's insurance commissioner said...For 2014, consumers purchasing individual policies paid between 22% and 88% more for health insurance than they did last year, depending on age, gender, type of policy and where they lived, Jones said Tuesday. He said he has authorized a study of health insurance rates after receiving numerous complaints about rising costs. "The rate increase from 2013 to 2014, on average, was significantly higher than rate increases in the past," Jones said in a news conference in Sacramento. The hardest-hit were young people, he said. In one region of Los Angeles County, people age 25 paid 52% more for a silver plan than they had for a similar plan the year before, while someone age 55 paid 38% more, according to a report that Jones released Tuesday.

Jones cautions that the 2015 rate bumps will likely be artificially "modest," as insurance companies try to avoid a backlash at the ballot box. Keep in mind that those relatively less painful increases will come on top of 2014's "significantly higher" than usual spikes, caused by Obamacare's costly mandates. Another reason behind the hikes are the law's problematic risk pools, which are sicker and older (and therefore more expensive to cover) than the administration projected. Aetna's CEO spelled this out on CNBC, calling the demographics "worse than we expected:"

He also says that his company is experiencing "some attrition" when it comes to premium payments, meaning that some percentage of enrollees' coverage is lapsing. We've discussed premium non-payment among Obamacare's sign-ups over many months, so that isn't new. But Bertolini isn't talking about people who selected coverage but never initiated it by paying an initial premium; he's talking about people who began by paying premiums, then dropped off. One of the CNBC anchors speculates that young, healthy people have the strongest incentive to kick their plans to the curb. Let's see how this fluidity and instability impacts 2016 premiums. Bertolini also reminds viewers that the "back end operating system of the exchanges is not yet up and running." Recent reports suggest that task isn't even close to completion. Down in Louisiana, the bad news continues to roll in:

The state's largest insurer says close to 45,000 Louisiana policyholders could see the rates for their health coverage jump anywhere from 10 percent to nearly 20 percent next year, and the Affordable Care Act is a major reason. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana accounts for the bulk of those individual policies, which people buy directly from an insurance company rather than through their employer. Blue Cross spokesman John Maginnis said the Affordable Care Act expanded access to health insurance to millions of Americans, regardless of age or health status, and guaranteed richer benefits. He says those things come at a cost.

Of course they do, but that's not what the president and his Congressional foot soldiers told the American people. They claimed that Obamacare would lower everybody's rates, with reductions saving the average family $2,500. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, slammed conservatives' predictions of higher costs as "a pathetic lie" during the pre-passage debate. Now tens of thousands of her constituents are experiencing that "lie" first hand. The nationwide "summer drumbeat" isn't slowing down. Florida: "State insurance officials are preparing to release figures next week on how much health plans will cost under the Affordable Care Act for 2015, and rate increases seem inevitable as insurers say their new consumers are older and sicker than anticipated. Top executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Cigna said rate increases are likely, but declined specifics." I'll leave you with a link to Peter Suderman's definitive piece on the wonky Halbig controversy that's been raging for days. We covered the court decision when it broke last week, as well as the humiliating evidence subsequently unearthed against one of Obamacare's most prominent defenders and architects. The Left has been working like mad to recover from this embarrassment, but some of their flailing has inadvertently weakened their case.

The Conservative Case Against Boehner's Border Bill

Capitol Hill conservatives are not happy with Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) $659 million response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis at the Texas-Mexico border. They are circulating a series of memos, including the one pasted below, detailing why the Boehner bill will fail to solve the problem.

From the memo:

  • The bill does not address the cause of the problem – the president’s unlawful policies, particularly DACA.
  • The bill does not actually require the president to do anything – the only thing it guarantees is that the president will get the money he requested.
  • The bill appropriates money through 2015, creating a built-in budget cliff that might require Congress to reauthorize this bill, and tracks the amount of spending ($3.7B) in the president’s request.

Further Complicates Trafficking Law

  • The bill appears to abolish voluntary return for UACs.
  • Under current law, UACs from contiguous countries are subject to voluntary return, which can be accomplished by Border Patrol in as little as one day.
  • Thus, the bill appears to put the majority – if not all – in the new court proceedings, where they are permitted to withdraw their application for admission to the U.S. at any time “in the discretion of the Attorney General.”
  • The bill creates a new seven-day court proceeding for all UACs in which an immigration judge determines whether a UAC has a claim for immigration relief.
  • If the judge determines there is a claim, then the UAC is placed in removal proceedings (issued a Notice to Appear before another immigration judge) or ordered removed – unless the UAC claims asylum.
  • However, the majority of these UACs, who we know have been coached to claim asylum, will claim a fear of persecution or state their intent to apply for asylum. At this point, the immigration judge (in the new proceeding) will simply refer the UAC to an asylum officer in the current flawed asylum system, which remains unchanged by this bill, because the bill fails to strike the initial jurisdiction provisions of the TVPRA. In fact, a UAC could potentially circumvent this entire new process by claiming asylum and going straight to a USCIS asylum officer.
  • This also allows UACs to go before an asylum officer even if an immigration judge (in the new proceeding) did not find that the UAC had a likely claim for immigration relief.
  • In addition, the bill allows UACs to take advantage of the credible fear determination process, which they are not subject to under current law because they are protected by the initial jurisdiction provisions of the TVPRA. In other words, in addition to going to an asylum adjudicator to have their case heard on the merits in a non-adversarial setting (pursuant to the initial jurisdiction provisions), they can claim asylum in another setting.
  • Perhaps most troubling, the House bill states that the DHS Secretary “shall permit” UACs who have received Notices to Appear (issued since Jan. 1, 2013) to appear before an immigration judge in the new proceeding created by the bill, move to have the NTA “replaced,” and apply for admission to the U.S. While the language is not entirely clear, it very well could result in UACs who have been ordered removed or who have failed to appear for removal proceedings and thus are fugitives to get another bite at the apple to remain in the U.S.

Creates More Loopholes in Asylum Law

  • The House bill allows five bites at the apple for those claiming asylum:
  • UACs are screened for credible fear by the Border Patrol;
  • UACs go before an immigration judge in the new court proceeding to determine if they have a claim for relief;
  • UACs are screened by an asylum officer for a credible fear of persecution;
  • UACs then have their asylum case adjudicated by any asylum officer who can only grant relief or refer the case to immigration court; and
  • If a UAC’s case is referred, the immigration judge will hear their case on the merits de novo.
  • The House bill subjects all UACs to credible fear determinations, which is not the case under current law.
  • It should be noted that as soon as a UAC claims credible fear or applies for asylum (which they have been coached to do), they can game the existing loose credible fear and asylum standards.
  • In addition to UACs, as of July 8, 2014, 55,398 family units and 268,493 single adults have been apprehended in the Rio Grande sector alone. Many family units and adults claim a credible fear of persecution to circumvent expedited removal. According to DOJ statistics, in FY13, 74% of all affirmative asylum claims were approved by immigration judges, and 65% of all UAC asylum claims were approved by USCIS asylum officers (the remainder were referred to judges to hear de novo). According to USCIS, in 2013, 92% of credible fear claims were approved on the merits and the number of credible fear claims have increased 586% since 2007.

Does Not Mandate Detention

  • The House bill does not use the word “detention” but rather “custody.” This is an important distinction because “custody” can be satisfied by transferring a UAC to HHS, which places the UAC in a non-secure setting.
  • The bill does not strike the language in current law that requires DHS to transfer custody of UACs to HHS within 72 hours; or that provides that a UAC shall be placed in “the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child;” or that a UAC “shall not be placed in a secure facility absent a determination that the child poses a danger.”
  • The bill does not change current law that requires that USCIS adjudicate claims of asylum for OTM UACs. In practice, individuals who claim asylum are released pending adjudication of their claim. This bill does not change that.
  • Importantly, the bill does not address administration policies that would require ICE to release many of these individuals from custody.
  • In reality, under the bill, those not claiming asylum will be in custody, and even then, only for seven days until the new proceeding created by the bill takes place.

Does Not Deploy the National Guard to the Border

  • The House bill does not deploy the National Guard to the border and does not require the Secretary of Defense to do so. Rather, the bill merely makes funds available for a potential deployment and states that the Guard may “provide assistance with operations on the southern border.”

The House is scheduled to vote on Boehner's border bill this Thursday. With House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) whipping hard against the bill, it is highly uncertain whether it will pass.

Obama Spends 8-Minutes Mocking and Taunting Republicans For "Not Working With Him"

The President was speaking in Kansas City today and outdid his usual self with GOP mockery and taunting, and then asking them to work with long as they agree with his solutions. Here's just a sampling of quotes from this 7-minute clip:

  • "Stop hatin' all the time!"
  • "Stop bein' mad all the time!"
  • "C'mon and help out a little bit!"
  • "C'mon, let's get some work done together!"
  • "I know they're not that happy that I'm president but that's okay. C'mon! HaHa! I only got a couple years left. C'mon! Let's get some work done! Then you can be mad at the next president!"
  • "We act when congress won't."
  • They're trying to sue me! "Don't boo, VOTE!"
  • "They're mad cause I'm doing my job."

Grimes: Uh, Iron Dome Protects Israelis From Underground Tunnels

Senator Mitch McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has no clue what Israel’s Iron Dome is, or what it does to protect their civilians from Hamas rocket attacks. Apparently, she thinks that it prevents Hamas from attacking Israel from underground (via Lexington Herald-Ledger):

As foreign policy inches its way into a debate that has largely focused on the economy, Grimes was asked about congressional efforts to aid Israel's missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.

"Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself," Grimes said. "But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.

Well, in case you missed it, Ms. Grimes, the Iron Dome is Israel’s missile defense system that intercepts incoming rockets, specifically those coming from Hamas.

Grimes said defeating McConnell is her “number one priority.”

While vulnerable, McConnell is leading Grimes, but within the margin of error according to a new Bluegrass poll. Nevertheless, he’s virtually tied with Grimes concerning likely women voters, with forty-six percent of Kentucky women siding with him, while forty-seven percent are backing Grimes. He’s also winning the 18-34 demographic at forty-nine percent to Grimes’ forty-four percent.

Congressman Calls Planned Parenthood What it Is: 'Criminal'

You may recall the disturbing revelation that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was rewarded for exceeding abortion expectations. Now, a similar discovery in Texas suggests these abortion quotas are more than just rumors and that Planned Parenthood is more than just "women's health care."

Abby Johnson is the former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. She claims the clinic needed to perform at least 1,135 in the 2010 fiscal year, which would generate over $350,000 in revenue.

Representative Bill Flores (R-TX) is incensed over her report and is now telling it like it is:

“While the murder of any unborn child is appalling,” said Republican Rep. Bill Flores, “even more criminal is the establishment of a target to kill over 1,100 innocent Texas children in order to meet financial targets.”

With reports like these, how can Planned Parenthood continue to call itself a "women's health" organization? Flores provided a more accurate description:

“Someday, somehow the leadership of Planned Parenthood will have to answer for their callous disregard of the sanctity of human life,” said Flores. “In the meantime, I am relieved that the Bryan abortion facility has gone out of business.”

In fact, this clinic is one of many that has closed in Texas since Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) signed sweeping pro-life legislation into law last summer.

Rep. Flores and Gov. Perry aren't alone in their fight for life. Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Diane Black (R-TN) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) are just a few Congress members willing to promote lifesaving bills and to speak up for the unborn.

I hope more politicians will take their bold lead in defeating the most misleading business in America.

Palestinian Spokesman on CNN: It's Israel vs. Palestinian Civilians--Israel Violated Ceasefire and Massacred Civilians

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the founder of the Palestinian National Initiative and member of the Palestinian Parliament appeared on CNN's "This Hour" with hosts John Berman and Michaela Pereira Wednesday morning to lie distort the facts regarding the Hamas/Israeli situation. One solution he offers for fixing the problem: let the UN take care of it. Of course, the CNN hosts play the "who knows who's to blame? It's a push" card.

History Professor: Convicted Cop Killer Mumia Should Be Celebrated Like Martin Luther King Jr. in Schools

Last night on the Kelly File Baruch College History Professor Joanna Fernandez argued that unrepentant convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 by shooting him five times in the face, should be celebrated in schools just like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She also argued using words like "militant" and "convicted cop killer" to describe Mumia, is racist. Another nice nugget? A California teacher's union feels the same way.

If you don't want to listen to Fernandez yell through her re-litigation of the case (as she always does when given the opportunity), you'll find her comparison of MLK to Mumia at 5:04. Also be sure you get to the 6:00 minute mark to hear the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley's entire response to the asinine comparison.

"Essentially by the end of his life, Martin Luther King like Mumia Abu Jamal, was a radical," she said.

"It's bad enough that some people on the Left want to celebrate this guy as a hero, turn him into some sort of celebrity, but I think it's even sadder, or just as sad, that they want to introduce this man to a curriculum for school children, hold him out as some kind of role model or hero for black children. That is the wrong message to send to black children. The worst kind of message to send to black children," Riley responded. "Comparing him to Martin Luther King who preached non-violence. This guy was a Black Panther, a separatist, King preached integration. There's just no comparison."

#BornIn88: Healthcare.Gov's Creepy New Campaign for Youth Enrollment

The official Facebook and Twitter accounts for have shared a series of semi-unsettling images meant to inspire parents to remind their adult children to sign up for health insurance immediately after they turn 26. As people born in 1988 will be turning the magical age of 26 (and forced to cut the cord from mommy and daddy's insurance plan) this year, the campaign is using the hashtag #BornIn88 to promote new signups.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And the creepy, "serial killer"-esque girl version:

It should be noted that the man in the first ad picture is wearing a wedding ring, meaning he's married and still on his parents' insurance plan. also posted a list of "26 Life Skills Every Person #BornIn88 Should Know By Now" on Buzzfeed. The eloquently-written listicle included three mentions of "cooking," among other "skills" that one would have expected the average child to have mastered by the age of seven, such as dressing oneself.

As someone who was #BornIn91, I am technically still eligible to be on my father's plan for a few more years. However, as I #GotAJob last year and #MovedOut, my father told me he was taking me off of his plan as I was now a #RealAdult. The actions of this administration have made it crystal clear that they believe my generation is a bunch of adult babies (or knuckleheads, to borrow a term from Michelle Obama) in desperate need of the comforting hand of a parent—either in the biological or governmental sense.

With large majorities of millennials disapproving of Obamacare, along with dismal sign-up rates, it's going to take more than a series of hashtags to get young people to buy into the farce that is health care reform.

Cynicism: Reid Threatens to Tie Border Crisis Bill to 'Gang of Eight' Proposal

There is bipartisan agreement that the scene playing out along the Southern border involving tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors is an urgent crisis. Talk is cheap. Action is needed. President Obama's large spending request has divided Democrats. A bipartisan bill designed to expedite the process for adjudicating each minor's case has drawn scorn from the White House, and Harry Reid has dutifully stopped it in its tracks. A Republican bill that would change current law to treat central American minors the same way as Mexicans who enter the country illegally appears to be stalled, even though President Obama has stated that the law in question needs to be altered. House Republicans have introduced a piece of legislation that would:

(1) Appropriate $659 million "for border security, enforcement of immigration and customs laws, humanitarian assistance, and illegal immigration prevention" through the end of the fiscal year. These expenditures are offset, making the bill budget neutral -- at least in theory.

(2) Provide more than $400 million in resources to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

(3) Allocate $22 million of "accelerated judicial proceedings" for these immigrants.

(4) Devote nearly $200 million for providing housing, food, and medical care to the detained minors as they await processing.

(5) Change the aforementioned law "to require that all unaccompanied minors are treated the same as Mexicans for the purpose of removals. This would require unaccompanied children who do not wish to be voluntarily returned to their home country to remain in HHS custody while they await an expedited immigration court hearing(s)."

How has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded to this development?

Which sparked this bullseye observation from Lachlan Markay:

Reid is actively trying to undermine the House leadership's bill by needlessly linking it to a highly divisive issue. David Drucker explains:

House Republicans say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is playing head games to undermine their attempt to pass a $659 million border package. As Speaker John Boehner tries to build support among the Republican caucus for legislation to address the thousands of unaccompanied minors coming to the U.S. from Central America, his Democratic counterpart in the Senate has brought up the toxic issue of immigration reform. On Tuesday, Reid threatened to attach comprehensive immigration reform legislation to any border bill that makes it through the House — a move that would infuriate immigration hawks and split the GOP caucus....It's unlikely that Reid has the votes to actually do that. The four Republican members of the “gang of eight” sent a letter on Friday vowing not to support any border bill that includes their comprehensive immigration bill. Senate Republicans are highly unlikely to provide Reid the votes to do this in any event, given their broad opposition to the Democrats' border proposal.

Democrats' proposed alternative "is more focused on humanitarian relief," than Republicans' plan to "beef up border security and facilitate repatriation" efforts, according to Drucker. It also (of course) spends much, much more than the Republicans' version. Rather than working to forge a reasonable and limited compromise, Reid is messing around with hyper-partisan games in order to derail a viable idea...with the clock ticking down to the August recess. House Speaker John Boehner angrily rejected Reid's meddling suggestion yesterday evening:

Senator Reid, embarrassed that he cannot strong-arm the Senate into passing the blank check President Obama demanded, is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution. So let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid: the House of Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion. Nor will we accept any attempt to add any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act, to the House’s targeted legislation, which is meant to fix the actual problems causing the border crisis. Such measures have no place in the effort to solve this crisis, and any attempt to exploit this crisis by adding such measures will run into a brick wall in the People’s House.

Allahpundit calls Reid's maneuver the latest "reminder that Democrats will never agree to improve security for the sake of improving security, even during a sustained surge of illegals across the border." The root causes of that sustained surge, incidentally, are twofold: Some of these kids truly are fleeing terrible violence, cartels, gangs, and sex trafficking. Others made a beeline for the US based on rampant (and erroneous) rumors about an impending blanket amnesty for minors. Those whispers weren't totally baseless; they were spurred by President Obama's 2012 DACA (or DREAM Act-style) executive order. In spite of this ongoing crisis, which has been explicitly linked to that DACA-caused magnet, President Obama is reportedly preparing to pull the trigger on a "large-scale move" to extend a similar temporary amnesty to millions of illegal immigrant adults. This would be a breathtakingly reckless and deliberately incendiary decision. As a self-professed moderate on the immigration issue, I fully endorse this sentiment:

The same can be said of the administration's incompetent and unlawful implementation of Obamacare. They cannot be trusted to do big things well, or to enforce the law fairly. I'll leave you with a segment on Fox News from last week in which I lamented DC's inability to do much of anything, even on this pressing concern. And this aired days before Harry Reid pulled the latest toxic rabbit out of his hat:

Next Gun Control Push Coming Through Violence Against Women Act

When President Obama's big push for gun control legislation failed last year it was thanks to Democrats, not Republicans, who voted against it. But despite unpopular gun control bills repeatedly failing to gain traction on Capitol Hill, Democrats and their special interest friends (funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) continue to come up with clever ways to promote their agenda.

The latest push comes from Bloomberg's Everytown, a new group founded in April to house the former Mayor's other anti-gun groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action. The new agenda item is keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Fair enough, but as we've seen in the past legislation put forward by politicians backed by groups like Everytown usually targets law abiding citizens and goes beyond the stated purpose in order to serve a larger political purpose. Not to mention, advocating to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers while failing to recognize women must have the ability to defend themselves with a firearm is counter productive. After all, a restraining or is just a piece of paper.

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing called Violence Against Women Act Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence. Coincidentally, Everytown released a new TV advertisement yesterday which inadvertently proved why women need a firearm to protect themselves. Further, Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar has introduced Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act as a "common sense" way to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Paying attention to the details of the solutions offered will be important.

The hearing starts at 10 a.m.

Al-Qaeda Has Made Europe An 'Inadvertent Underwriter' For Its Operations

Well, it seems Al-Qaeda has found a new way to fund its operations: they kidnap Europeans and demanding ransom payments. In fact, it’s become a global business, according to the New York Times. They also reported that Al-Qaeda usually contracts criminals to nab the targeted individuals on commission to reduce casualties on their side. (via NYT):

Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe.

While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year.

In various news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period.

These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funnel the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid, according to interviews conducted for this article with former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The inner workings of the kidnapping business were also revealed in thousands of pages of internal Qaeda documents found by this reporter while on assignment for The Associated Press in northern Mali last year.

In its early years Al Qaeda received most of its money from deep-pocketed donors, but counterterrorism officials now believe the group finances the bulk of its recruitment, training and arms purchases from ransoms paid to free Europeans.

Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.

Ted Cruz Found One Person Happy With the Job Obama is Doing

"There's one person happy with how Obama is doing - and that's Jimmy Carter."

Today at the National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, DC, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) noted an intriguing parallel. America's high unemployment, troubled foreign policy and disenchantment with the president looks a whole lot like 1979 all over again - when President Jimmy Carter led the country into malaise. Fortunately, we had a conservative hero back then who was more than willing to step up and steer America back on course. Cruz believes we are about to experience this same reversal.

After recognizing the 50th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's "A Time for Choosing" speech in 1964, Cruz made the case for why 2014 and 2016 will prove to be America's "second wave of freedom:"

"I'm optimistic," Cruz said. "I spend every day traveling the country. The same thing that happened in 1980 is happening today."

He offered the audience a few specific reasons as to why he can't stop smiling:

"It's going to be an incredible year. We're going to retake the Senate and we're going to fire Harry Reid! 2016 will be even better."

After Cruz's encouraging speech, about a quarter of the crowd raced to the mics to ask him a question. One student asked about foreign policy, and Cruz had the guts to say what President Obama won't in regards to Russia's encroaching powers:

"Mr. Putin, give back Crimea."

I share Cruz's hope that these next two elections will be a wake up call to politicians who seem more interested in voting uniformly than doing what's best for their constituents. How else can one explain why hardly any Democrats have challenged the Obama administration for its lawlessness?

We need more conservatives like Ted Cruz, who isn't afraid of saying what needs to be said. Unbeknownst to him, there were some murmurings in the crowd suggesting he himself could very well be in the White House in 2016.

Perhaps the best part of his speech, however, was his jab at the show "True Blood" at the very beginning. After summarizing an episode which featured vampires killing Texas Republicans at a Ted Cruz fundraiser (I kid you not), the senator had a simple message for HBO:

"I'm very disappointed to have lost the vampire vote. But I was astonished and amused that HBO was suggesting that hardcore leftists are bloodsucking fiends."

Touché, Senator.

Son Of Hamas Founder: My Father's Movement 'Doesn’t Care About The Lives Of Palestinians'

Meet Mosab Hassan Yousef. He’s the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of Hamas. He’s now an evangelical Christian, living in the U.S. after being granted political asylum, and a former operative with Shin Bet, a branch of Israeli intelligence, which led to his father disowning him back in 2010:

In the letter, he said his family announced its "complete renunciation" of Mosab Yousef. The father said he was sorry to take such a step but said he had no choice after his son "disbelieved in God...and collaborated with our enemies," he said.

The elder Yousef, who helped found the militant Islamic group two decades ago, was humiliated last year when his eldest son announced he had converted to Christianity. Then the son told an Israeli newspaper last week that he had helped Israeli intelligence foil militant attacks and hunt down Hamas leaders — including his father.

As the Gaza conflict rages on, Yousef appeared last this week on CNN with Don Lemon where he said, “Hamas doesn’t care about the lives of Palestinians. Does not care about the lives of Israelis or Americans. They don’t care about their own lives. They consider dying for the sake of their ideology a way of worship. And how can you continue in that society?”

Lemon asked if peaceful co-existence was possible with someone who wishes to see you destroyed.

Yousef was blunt:

Well, Hamas is not seeking co-existence and compromise. Hamas is seeking conquest and taking over. And, by the way, Israel – the destruction of the state of Israel is not Hamas’ final destination. Hamas’ final destination is building the Islamic Caliphate, which means an Islamic state on the rubble of every other civilization. These are the ultimate goals of the movement.

Study Dispels Fears Legalized Medical Marijuana Leads to Increased Teen Use

A comparison of annual CDC surveys of adolescent drug use by showed that a state's legalization of marijuana for medical use has little impact on the chances that a teen will use marijuana.

Comparing surveys of marijuana use by adolescents conducted annually by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found the probability that a high schooler had used pot in the last 30 days was no more than 0.8 percent higher in legal states compared to states that had not approved medical marijuana.

"Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students," D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University, Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado and Benjamin Hansen of the University of Oregon wrote.

Marijuana is legal in 21 states for the treatment of a variety of diseases, and is legal in two states for recreational use. Two additional states, Alaska and Oregon, will vote this November about whether to legalize the drug for recreational use.

Approximately one out of every 15 high school seniors reports smoking marijuana on a daily basis, while about a third of high school seniors report smoking marijuana within the past year. A plurality of high school students claim that purchasing marijuana is easier than purchasing a beer, and half of high school students surveyed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration say that marijuana is "easy" or "very easy" to obtain.

This is fantastic news for patients in the 29 states that currently do not allow marijuana for medicinal use that may benefit from the drug. There have been incredible stories of patients who have been helped by medical marijuana, and frankly, the drug should be available to other sick patients regardless of what state they reside. This study shows that states who haven't legalized marijuana for medical use are doing more harm to patients who could benefit from the drug than preventing teens from smoking pot.

Obama Declares Economic Sanctions on Russia

The United States will impose key sanctions against the Russian economy, President Barack Obama announced Tuesday during a White House press conference.

The sanctions put an embargo on firearm sales to Russia and additionally target the country’s energy and finance industries. European Union leaders placed similar penalties against Russia just hours before; however, Obama claimed these additional U.S. sanctions will have "an even bigger bite."

"It's not a new cold war," Obama declared in response to a question, "What it is, is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path."

This weekend, the Obama administration released surveillance photos revealing that Russian troops have fired artillery rounds against Ukranian militants.

"It didn't have to come to this. It does not have to be this way. This is a choice that Russia and President Putin in particular has made," Obama stated.

“If Russia continues on its current path the cost on Russia will continue to grow,” Obama warned. "Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says and we will rally the international community in standing up for rights and freedom around the world."