O'Malley: Limited Debate Schedule Proves Dems 'Fear the Future'

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has barely cracked 1 percent in most 2016 election polls. That's why he is especially looking forward to the Democratic Party's first presidential debate this Tuesday night. O'Malley has often called for more visibility leading up to the Democratic primary, yet the DNC has not budged in its decision to only hold six debates. The governor believes this is an intentional plot to protect the "inevitable" nominee, Hillary Clinton. In September, he had no problem calling out DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself for 'rigging' the campaign.

He voiced the complaint again on Friday:

“It would appear to me that they’re trying to circle the wagons around this year’s inevitable front-runner,” he said of Clinton’s presidential campaign. "I think it shows a lot of fear about the future.”

The Democrats perhaps should be fearful about next year's election. Hillary is facing a serious investigation into whether she mishandled classified information on a private server and compromised national security. Because of the ongoing inquiry, the electorate doesn't trust her. Meanwhile, her attempts to appear likeable and down to earth have been poor at best, proving she can't stray from her precious talking points even on late night talk shows. 

She's their frontrunner? I'd be scared too.

Fmr Planned Parenthood Manager Says PP Views Women's Bodies as 'Profit Centers'

At the House Judiciary Committee’s second hearing into the suspicious practices of Planned Parenthood, one former employee made some very serious accusations about the organization that claims to serve women’s health.

Sue Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic manager, shared a testimony that proved the organization often considers money a higher priority than patients’ wellbeing:

“No business, certainly no healthcare clinic, should view a woman’s body as a profit center, yet that is exactly what Planned Parenthood does,” Thayer said.

She had personal anecdotes to prove it:

One of the first times that I saw the truth about Planned Parenthood was in 2002 when a recycling center in my small Iowa town discovered the remains of a newborn child. The Sheriff came to my clinic, seeking records of women who may have been the mother of this child who was born alive and killed. This was not an abortion. It was a murder investigation. So, maybe naively, I thought Planned Parenthood would want to cooperate. Instead, Planned Parenthood leadership saw this as a fundraising opportunity.

Thayer also related that Planned Parenthood had filed false claims with Medicaid, including coercing patient “donations.” Most disturbingly, Thayer said Planned Parenthood was billing Medicaid for abortion services:

I also know that Planned Parenthood would bill Medicaid for abortion-related services – ultrasounds, office visits, blood tests, medications, and other services that were part of an abortion.

This final revelation is a very serious one, considering Planned Parenthood has repeatedly claimed it does not use tax dollars for abortions.

When Thayer voiced her concerns over Planned Parenthood’s practices, she said she was “forced out.”

Thayer's testimony was very different from Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards' stale talking points on the hill last week, where she failed to convince the panel that her organization still deserves $500 million federal dollars a year.

For a real testimony, read Ms. Thayer's powerful statement here.

VIDEO: YAF Issues Friendly Reminder That Che Guevara Was A Mass Murderer

Forty-eight years ago today, communist revolutionary Che Guevara was killed in Bolivia by government troops. Young America’s Foundation has something to say about that: good riddance! For all the Hollywood liberals and progressives who proudly wear the Che shirt, you’re insulting the thousands of people who were executed by his firing squads. YAF urges freedom-loving Americans to educate themselves about Che’s atrocities. You could even play a game–Who Said It: Che or Hitler? – on their website.

BONUS: Venezuelan student and former YAF intern Alejandro Sosa described what Che means to him, and how his legacy has destroyed his country.

COMMENTS UPDATE: Scammers, Spammers, and Trolls, I'm Afraid You'll Find Our Moderation Tool Quite Operational

Happy Friday, everyone! Some of you have sent inquires about the spammers on the comment threads. Admittedly, it was getting a bit like “Mad Max” on those threads, with spammers posting with impunity. The good news is that the moderation tool became operational–and swift justice was delivered to the spammers who have been posting over the past few weeks. Previous spam comments are gone. And new ones will be removed as soon as humanely possible–with those associated user accounts being permanently banned from Townhall.

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Wendy Davis is the 'Inspiration' for New NBC Drama

Although many people hoped Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' pro-abortion filibuster would be her last primetime appearance, NBC has just announced she is the 'inspiration' for a new TV show:

Written by Jennifer Cecil, the untitled project centers on a female Democratic senator who, after losing the Texas governor’s race, gets her world turned upside down. In the vein of The Good Wife, while she pieces her pride back together, she goes to work in the law firm of her best friend — a black male Republican — and discovers that with no political future to protect, she can unshackle her inner badass.

So let me get this straight. NBC is 'inspired' by someone who conducted a (failed) 11-hour filibuster against a common sense partial birth abortion ban and then lost convincingly in a statewide election? Oh, and that was after she used an empty wheelchair in an attack ad against her handicapped Republican opponent. 

Yeah, I can see how she makes for a heroic protagonist.

Based on Davis' losing track record, NBC better hope she doesn't want to do a cameo, or they can kiss their ratings goodbye.

Obama Warming Up His Pen To Go Around Congress on Gun Control We Already Have

He's done it before on a number of issues and he's clearly not afraid to do it again. 

According to a number of reports, President Obama is getting ready to issue some kind of executive order on gun control, going around Congress to do so and violating his own admission that he can't implement new gun control measures alone. 

"His is not something [gun control] I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress and I've got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this," Obama said last week.

The plan, according to the Washington Post, is to require background checks that are...already required. 

The Washington Post reported that the White House is considering executive action that would compel background checks for "individuals who buy from dealers who sell a significant number of guns each year." Dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license and perform background checks, the Post reported.

Individuals who buy firearms from dealers are required to go through a background check every time they purchase a firearm, whether it's a "significant number" or one. Some states have a waiting period for the purchase of more than four or five long guns in a certain period of time, but the waiting period occurs after a background check is passed.

Additionally, Obama is considering a requirement for dealers to obtain a separate license if they "exceed a certain number of sales," whatever that means. Again, under current law firearms sold through a dealer require a background check.

Under the proposed rule change, dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and perform background checks on potential buyers.

Meanwhile, the Oregon community Obama is choosing to exploit in the name of gun control is protesting his visit and gun free zones by the hundreds today.

We'll see what Obama comes up with next week.

Measles Found in Fairfax County

As we head into cold and flu season, families in Fairfax County have another thing to be worried about: measles. A child was diagnosed with the disease recently, and county officials are worried that other immuno-suppressed children may have been exposed to the illness in doctor's office waiting rooms.

The child was too young to be fully vaccinated against the measles and had only received one dose of the MMR vaccine.

The individual is a child who was treated at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, but the child is no longer contagious, health officials said. While the child was age-appropriately vaccinated with one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, it takes two doses of the vaccine to provide full protection against measles.

The child was at several locations in Fairfax County in the past week and could have exposed others to the measles virus. Health officials are attempting to notify anyone who may have been exposed while the patient was infectious to prevent further spread of measles.

Fairfax County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, with 82 percent of children receiving all vaccines. This is below the herd immunity rate of 90 to 95 percent.

Vaccinations are important to ensure that eradicated diseases stay eradicated. Measles cases are on the rise in this country due to parents refusing to vaccinate their children. While measles isn't life-threatening for many children, it has the potential to cause brain damage, blindness, and death in others.

The Friday Filibuster: Chaos on Capitol Hill

The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.

Closing Numbers

12: The number of Christians ISIS executed in recent attacks for refusing to renounce faith.

9: The number of people who died in South Carolina’s historic floods.

$20,000: The amount of taxpayer dollars one ATF agent stole after submitting fraudulent work hours.

16% of New Hampshire Republicans would vote for Fiorina, meaning she came in second place and is gaining on Trump.

42%: The amount deportations have dropped since 2012.

30% of Americans still have a ‘very favorable’ view of Planned Parenthood, despite the undercover video investigation.

42% of 18-20 year olds identify as a Democrat, which makes them less liberal than Millennials between the ages of 25-29.

3: The number of swing states surveyed that showed Hillary is both disliked and distrusted.

Gun control

After the mass shooting in Oregon last week Democrats wasted no time in politicizing the tragedy and calling for more gun control. Bloomberg’s anti-gun group pushed Obama to take executive action and Hillary said if she became president she’d totally bypass Congress on gun control if necessary, even though there’s no correlation between gun laws and homicide rates. Too bad the NRA is more popular than her. She also happens to believe the NRA and Iranian terrorists are pretty much the same thing. Meanwhile, the Oregon community rocked by the campus shooting didn’t want Obama there. The father of one of the victims refused to attend the president’s exploitative gun control trip. GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson spoke out about how there needs to be people in schools who are armed and trained to respond more quickly to such scenarios. He also promoted the trend ‘I am a Christian’ after the shooting since the murderer singled out people of the Christian faith in his rampage. 

HRC Happenings

Week by week things never seem to be getting any better for the Democratic frontrunner. She’s doing poorly in polling (see above), and now even trails Trump, Jeb, and Carly in New Hampshire and Iowa. She’s not trusted or liked, and has a big problem with male voters, further highlighting why she’s an awful candidate to begin with. Recognizing her many problems, she attempted to be humorous and relatable, making an appearance on SNL. In a nutshell, she’s struggling to find meaning on the campaign trail.

The email scandal isn’t going away; rather, we learned this week that China, South Korea, and Germany tried to hack her private server, and unauthorized subcontractors stored her emails on the cloud, which faced even more cyberattacks. Moreover, she’s actually getting grilled by the media over it, and “Morning Joe” won’t even have her aides on, at least not until she agrees to appear herself. A Connecticut IT firm may have more of her personal emails so be on the lookout for more. 

Chaos on Capitol Hill

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly dropped out of the race for Speaker of the House on Thursday leading to complete disarray in the Republican Party. The decision left Rep. Chaffetz ‘stunned’ and Rep. Paul Ryan ‘disappointed.’ Boehner is confident a new speaker will be elected within weeks but others are less certain. Pressure is mounting on Ryan to join the speaker’s race, while former Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa is considering a bid as well. McCarthy’s decision came after he made disparaging remarks about the Benghazi committee’s work last week, which were ‘disappointing’ to colleagues, and also came the same day a DHS IP address made edits to his Wikipedia page alleging an affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers.

In other news on the Hill this week, House Democrats again tried (and failed) to dissolve the select committee on Benghazi. Gowdy defended the committee’s work and penned a scathing letter to the top Benghazi committee Democrat. A bipartisan House committee was also created this week to investigate Planned Parenthood. And Sen. Tom Cotton blocked three of Obama's ambassador nominees over the Chaffetz Secret Service scandal. 

Campaigns & Elections

Vice President Joe Biden reportedly leaked the story about his dying son’s wish to see him run. Meanwhile, Guy overheard some interesting remarks from a longtime Clinton ally absolutely trashing the VP and Sanders. MSNBC weighed in on Fiorina this week, saying she is ‘terrifying’ to Democrats. And up in New Hampshire, Gov. Maggie Hassan will challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016. 

In other news:

A deal was reached in the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the FBI director warned about ‘gaps’ in the screening of Syrian refugees coming to the U.S.; and the Pentagon has finally scrapped the Syrian rebel training program. 

Loose Lips: Longtime Clinton Ally Trashes 'Buffoon' Biden, 'Sanctimonious Flip-Flopper' Sanders in Train Ride Rant

One never knows what one might overhear while traveling the infamous 'Acela corridor' between Washington, DC and Boston. Sometimes it's a former top spy giving an off-the-record interview in earshot of fellow passengers. Sometimes it's a well-connected political operative loudly spouting off about a sitting Vice President's potential entry into the presidential race. And sometimes it's a well-known Clinton ally indiscreetly assessing the state of Hillary Clinton's campaign, savaging her critics and opponents with unguarded candor. To be clear, this individual and his two traveling companions were speaking openly and loudly in public. Listening to their conversation required no strain; anyone in the immediate vicinity could clearly hear what was being said -- including at least one other reporter. A few highlights from this morning's nearly half hour-long rant, which offers an intriguing window into Clintonworld's thinking:

Media bias - This Clintonista trained much of his rhetorical fire on the mainstream media, which he believes has been grossly unfair to Hillary.  He lamented what he sees as "ridiculous" double-standards, intimating heavily that sexism has played a role in the unjust coverage.  On this point, he complained that some commentators' penchant for referring to Hillary as "shrill" is comparable to using an ethnic slur to describe a politician of color.  "Strident" would be more neutral, he concluded.  He was especially agitated by the email scandal, which he views as a "stupid" obsession. One of his traveling companions evinced shock at how often she's asked about the issue.

Bernie Sanders - The Vermont Senator who's steadily gained on Mrs. Clinton in Democratic primary polls is "sanctimonious" and a "flip-flopper," the Clinton confidante intoned, incredulously adding that Sanders is "a Socialist" who can't win.  "There's no way he can be nominated -- ever," he said.  A younger associate traveling with the prominent operative called Sanders "a nut."

Joe Biden - Special frustration was reserved for the Vice President, whom this individual believes will "absolutely" jump into the race.  "Memories are short" regarding Joe Biden, he said, admonishing his travel buddies to remember that Biden has long been seen as a "buffoon."  The Vice President enjoys near-universal name recognition, Clinton's pal continued, yet he trails both Clinton and Sanders in public polling -- an indication of Biden's weakness, he said.  When another colleague pushed back, noting that Biden isn't an announced candidate yet, the long-time Clintonista dismissed her point: Hypothetical candidates are often more popular than actual candidates, he cautioned.  Why isn't Biden at least beating Sanders?  "He's in third place!"  Despite his occasional bravado, the politico did express concerns that Biden could siphon votes off from Hillary, boosting Sanders' chances -- but ultimately expressed confidence that Hillary remains in a strong position: She's still "20 points ahead," despite her polls hitting what he characterized as "the bottom of the bottom."   Biden's numbers will fall as soon as he enters the race, the chatty strategist opined, complaining that the pro-Biden "media isn't talking about that."

Debate strategy - Discussing next week's first Democratic debate, he projected total confidence: "She's so good," he crowed, anticipating that Mrs. Clinton would outclass the rest of the field.  He argued that the former Secretary of State should aggressively attack the NRA and parlay her criticisms into an an exposure of Sanders' pro-gun record. "The NRA has endorsed him! He was against background checks!"  He laughed off Sanders' recent backtracking as nakedly political, for which the insurgent candidate has offered "stupid" explanations. Sanders is "so sanctimonious, but he's a flip-flopper," he scoffed. They discussed whether Clinton should "get emotional" on the issue, with the politico suggesting that it could "work with women." On a separate issue, if Sanders presses Clinton on her deep ties to Wall Street, this operative suggested that Hillary highlight her new regulatory crack-down plan and ask Sanders, "what have you ever done on [reining in] Wall Street, besides rhetoric? Nothing."  He said he expects Hillary to "slaughter" Sanders in the upcoming face-to-face forum.

Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina -- These were the only two Republicans name-checked over the course of today's harangue.  Trump was treated as an amusing, if boorish, sideshow ("awful"); Fiorina, however, has clearly crawled under this Clintonite's skin.  The way Fiorina criticizes Hillary is "so nasty, it's just…nasty," he fumed, before proudly pointing out that he employed a gender-neutral descriptor to criticize the former HP executive.

UPDATE - I discussed this on 'Outnumbered' this afternoon:

UPDATE II - As I said, another reporter was present for this, and she's naming names.

Fox Soccer Uses Trump Soundbites in New Ad for US-Mexico Match

Donald Trump’s bombastic speeches, known to make politically correct people cringe, have been repeated in headlines and featured in campaign ads by his opponents throughout the early stages of the 2016 election. Now, it appears his provocative personality is the perfect fodder for a friendly soccer rivalry.

Back in September, the Mexican broadcast station TV Azteca used Trump’s controversial comments about illegal immigration and turned them around for their benefit to tease the USA-Mexico CONCACAF Cup playoff match.

Well, Team USA can play at that game too. Fox Soccer just released its own ad starring Trump and some of U.S. soccer’s most memorable moments.

Who knew Trump could be such an effective coach?

The U.S. and Mexico will meet on the field this Saturday at 9 p.m.

Hillary’s Problems With Male Voters Further Highlights Why She’s An Awful Candidate

Sorry Democrats, but it seems like men do matter for 2016. For a party that’s touted the war on women, proudly displayed their extremism on abortion, and sat confident that their voter advantage with women–who aren’t a monolithic voting bloc–would secure them sweet, sweet victory next year seems to have hit a snag–and her name is Hillary Rodham Clinton. For starters, women think she isn’t being truthful about her private email system, which has plagued her campaign throughout the summer. This has led to a precipitous drop with Democratic-voting women since July. Yet, Clinton’s real problems rest with male voters, who really, really don’t like her at all (via National Journal):

The swing-state polling is a mirror image of her national numbers. Last week, Quinnipiac found Clinton’s negative ratings with white men at a stun­ning 72 per­cent—significantly worse than the Democratic Party’s already-serious struggles with that demographic group. Meanwhile, she’s not performing at nearly a strong-enough level with women to counteract the problem. Only 49 percent of women viewed her favorably in the poll, with 47 percent holding negative views. For all the self-inflicted problems that Republicans have in reaching out to a diversifying country, Hillary Clinton’s favorability with white men is worse than Jeb Bush’s with Hispanics, Ben Carson’s with African-Americans, and Carly Fiorina’s with women in the same survey.


If Clinton is looking to narrow the gaping gender-gap, she isn’t showing it. Instead, her campaign looks to be doing the opposite—rallying her liberal base and trying to lock down supporters that once seemed squarely in her camp. She sat down for an interview last week with Girls creator Lena Dunham, where she underscored her feminist bona fides. She’s appeared on television shows with a sizable female audience, including Ellen, in hopes of making her look more relatable. Her call for robust gun control in the wake of the Oregon school shooting isn’t going to make her any friends with Democratic gun owners, who are disproportionately male. The early diagnosis from the campaign is that she’s underachieving with women—her natural base—and that’s the most crucial short-term fix, not the dismal showing with men.

The Journal’s Josh Kraushaar also added that this decline has sparked Biden’s interest in tossing his hat in the ring, though it seems like he’s still wondering if Hillary’s sinking numbers is actually happening, or the symptom of the Iowan and New Hampshire Democratic voters breaking heavy for Sanders; white progressives are a core group of Sanders’ coalition, and both states are whiter than Wonder Bread. That’s why he pushed back any announcement of his 2016 ambitions. Nevertheless, he noted the irony of “looking at the 72-year-old Biden as a more-credible candidate capable of stopping the party’s problems with men.” Hillary was supposed to be inevitable, but is now relegated to being the most fragile of frontrunners. Yet, as Kraushaar noted, the fact remains; Sanders and Biden do better in head-to-head matchups because they don’t irritate half of the population.

Hillary has got a problem with bros. In fact, her party has had a problem with white men, especially those over 40, for decades, but it comes to show you that every demographic shouldn’t be abandoned or taken for granted, nor are they (for the most part) automatic slam dunks for any particular party come Election Day. It also alludes to the notion that the Democratic Party’s problems with white voters aren’t relegated to the South. It’s everywhere. This is just another check mark on the long list of things that would have sunk any other candidate if their last name wasn’t Clinton. Let’s refresh.

Off the bat, Hillary is an awful campaigner. As foreign policy becomes more of a salient issue, her smart power diplomacy she executed as Secretary of State has proven to be a total disaster. For starters, in 2011, she said on CBS’ Face the Nation that she believed that members of both parties had come to the realization that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” That’s not true at all. No one faults her and Bill for making some serious cash for speeches and other events, though it comes off a bit fake to say that you understand middle class hardship when you make more in one speech than what most Americans make in a year, or in some cases, an entire lifetime. Her known ties to Wall Street don't have the far left of the base impressed with her either. 

Bill established a shell company, which was designed to “pass-through” payments to the former president, of which we have no clue the total amount of cash was directed towards that entity. To add more opaqueness to the mix on disclosure, we have the Clinton Foundation, which botched tax forms, failed to disclose donors, and has been alleged to be nothing but a slush fund. Moreover, there’s the allegation that billions of dollars worth of military equipment went to nations that gave to the Foundation. I’m sure this will be rehashed when we get to this chapter of the Clintons as the 2016 season continues, but for now we’re still dealing with her blatant disregard for government regulations and transparency laws concerning her email server.

All of this has culminated in horrific favorability numbers, a drop in women’s support, a 31-point drop in black Democratic support, aforementioned dismal performance with male voters, and Sanders and Biden making moderate strides in the polls–and buzz–concerning the election in general. There are many, many areas that Hillary needs to answer for and work on if she becomes the nominee, for which she’s still favored to win.

I would say that Republicans should rejoice at this news. It proves that Hillary is human and beatable. 

Sadly, we can’t pop open any champagne given the fiasco that’s occurring on Capitol Hill regarding the House Speakership race. It’s a nightmare.

Pressure Mounting on Paul Ryan to Join Speaker's Race

Former vice presidential nominee, Wisconsin Congressman and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Paul Ryan has already made it clear he has no interest in running for Speaker of the House. Despite Ryan's objection, the pressure is building by the hour for him to get into the race and according to reporting from Capitol Hill this morning, Rep. Jason Chaffetz is willing to drop out should Ryan choose to jump in.

Ryan endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy here at Townhall over the weekend and issued the following statement yesterday when McCarthy withdrew from the race.

“Kevin McCarthy is best person to lead the House, and so I’m disappointed in this decision. Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership. While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,” Ryan said. 

At this point, signals and sources are mixed on whether Ryan has changed his mind about running. 

Regardless, as our friends at The Corner point out, Ryan is being dragged kicking and screaming into the chaos.

The only Republican who does not want Paul Ryan to become the next House speaker, it seems, is Paul Ryan. But the former vice-presidential nominee and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee may be changing his mind. After issuing a statement immediately following House majority leader Kevin McCarthy’s withdrawal from the race reiterating that he will not seek the job, multiple sources tell National Review that Ryan is, at the very least, considering a change of heart. 

“I’m told he’ll sleep on it,” says a source close to Ryan. 

Two additional Republican sources say Ryan has in fact already made up his mind to jump in the race.  

Yesterday Speaker John Boehner, who will stay in his position until a new Speaker is elected, said he is confident someone will be chosen as his replacement within the coming weeks.

Brutal: Trey Gowdy Pens Scathing Letter to Top Benghazi Committee Democrat

This story was more or less lost in the noise of yesterday's palace intrigue, but it's too important to simply let lie.  Do yourself a favor and click through to Gowdy's letter before proceeding any further. Read the entire thing. It's extraordinary, on several levels: First, Gowdy summons his prosecutorial vigor to absolutely demolish the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi.  Democrats have seized upon erstwhile Speaker-in-waiting Kevin McCarthy's ill-advised comments to try to shut down the panel's probe -- a continuation of their ongoing, partisan efforts to dismiss its focus as a "phony scandal" and to portray the investigation as a political witch hunt.  Gowdy has been unsparing in his rejection of McCarthy's since-abandoned characterization and unflagging in his defense of the committee's work.  In response to Democrat Elijah Cummings' endless attacks and accusations, the South Carolina Republican drops the hammer:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 6.46.28 AM

Cummings, Gowdy continues, has been acting on duties "not to the American public, but to your Democrat colleagues and to the administration, including former Secretary Clinton," adding that he's disappointed in the Democrat's "complete lack of interest in gathering any facts."  Again, read the whole thing. The letter goes on to ridicule Cummings for objecting to the release of some Clinton emails, noting that both Mrs. Clinton and Cummings himself have stated that all of the messages should be made public: "Only in Washington, DC can both the author of the emails and the ranking member of a committee call for the disclosure of all relevant emails and then complain that all relevant emails were disclosed."  To put a finer point on it, Gowdy announces his intention to release another tranche of Hillary's emails pertaining to Benghazi and Libya.  Several excerpts call into question the impartiality of the State Department's internal "Accountability Review Board" Benghazi investigation, but the biggest revelations expose the former Secretary of State's correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal.  Mr. Blumenthal, you may recall, is a Clinton confidante whose ethical reputation is so suspect that the Obama administration barred Hillary from hiring him at State.  But that didn't stop Hillary from relying on Blumenthal as an off-the-books purveyor of unvetted intelligence.  The New York Times reported several months ago that Blumenthal's ongoing relationship with Sec. Clinton was highly unusual: He was on the payroll of the Clinton Foundation while feeding Hillary private intel, which was frequently colored by his own separate financial interests.  The new batch of emails contains startling new details, summarized by the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes:

Here's the relevant passage on the CIA asset:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 7.36.33 AM

They exchanged extremely sensitive material between two unsecure servers. Remember, one of the reasons we know that Hillary Clinton did not hand over all work-related emails as claimed is that Blumenthal's emails were hacked.  Mrs. Clinton downplayed her relationship with Blumenthal after the Times story was published, stating that his messages were "unsolicited."  These emails blow all of that out of the water.  Hayes writes, "In a statement accompanying the letter, Gowdy makes some of his strongest accusations to date about the Obama administration's obstruction of the committee's work. 'These messages should have been made public when the State Department released Secretary Clinton’s other self-selected records on Libya and Benghazi, but there was a clear decision at the time to withhold this information from the American people and the Committee.'"  Gowdy alerts Cummings that the committee "plans on releasing these new emails" next week and plans on questioning Mrs. Clinton about their contents on October 22.  Stay tuned.

Citing Failures, Pentagon Scraps Syrian Rebel Training Program

The Obama administration’s ill-conceived and overly ambitious program to train thousands of Syrian rebels against the Islamic State has failed to produce any results. The Pentagon hoped to train over 5,000 fighters this year, yet as of July, they had equipped only 60. Now that the program has proven to be a waste of time and money ($500 million), the Pentagon is ending the effort and replacing it with a seemingly more realistic one. The New York Times reports:

A senior Defense Department official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there would no longer be any more recruiting of so-called moderate Syrian rebels to go through training programs in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Instead, a much smaller training center would be set up in Turkey, where a small group of “enablers” — mostly leaders of opposition groups — would be taught operational maneuvers like how to call in airstrikes.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter admitted to Michael Fallon, the UK's secretary of defense, that it was clear fairly early on the program would not meet their standards.

“I wasn’t happy with the early efforts” of the program, Mr. Carter said during a news conference with Mr. Fallon. “So we have devised a number of different approaches.” Mr. Carter added, “I think you’ll be hearing from President Obama very shortly.”

Perhaps Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey is correct in his assessment that this program was the Solyndra of foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton: You Know, The NRA and Iranian Terrorists Are The Same Thing

In an effort to use the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College to boost her political campaign, Hillary Clinton has been attacking the National Rifle Association for days. Earlier this week, the Democratic presidential candidate went so far as comparing the NRA to Iranian terrorists and communists during a town hall style campaign stop. From The Hill

“You know, the NRA’s position reminds me of negotiating with the Iranians or the communists," Clinton said at an Iowa town hall on Wednesday.

The Democratic primary front-runner accused the nation's largest gun lobby of spreading propaganda to keep its dues-paying constituents paranoid.

“The NRA tries to keep gun owners — the ones who are members — really upset all the time so they can keep collecting their money, because they tell them they’re the only thing that’s going to stop the black helicopters from landing in the front yard and people’s guns being seized,” Clinton said. “That’s the argument they make. And it works with some people and it has turned a lot of people into absolutists themselves.”

A few thoughts: 

1) When Hillary Clinton compares the NRA to the Iranian regime, which is responsible for the murders of hundreds of American citizens around the world, she's comparing Americans here at home to Iranian terrorists. The NRA isn't a boogy man, it's a grassroots organization made up of 5 million law abiding, Second Amendment supporters. Clinton is running for President of the United States, which means she's obligated to represent all Americans. 

2) The NRA, not the anti-gun lobby which Clinton is a part of, has been responsible for getting mental health legislation passed in Congress and signed into law by previous presidents

Since 1966, the National Rifle Association has urged the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence. As we noted then, “the time is at hand to seek means by which society can identify, treat and temporarily isolate such individuals,” because “elimination of the instrument by which these crimes are committed cannot arrest the ravages of a psychotic murderer.”[1]

More recently, the NRA has supported legislation to ensure that appropriate records of those who have been judged mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to mental institutions be made available for use in firearms transfer background checks. The NRA will support any reasonable step to fix America’s broken mental health system without intruding on the constitutional rights of Americans.

Most recently, the NRA got behind new mental health legislation introduced by Texas Senator John Cornyn. Further, the NRA has dedicated millions of dollars and thousands of hours to firearms safety programs in every state across the country.

3) Clinton's anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment rhetoric might work in a far left primary, but it won't work in a general election. The number of Americans who believe gun rights should be protected now outweigh those who believe in new gun control measures.

4) Clinton supports the deal recently struck between the Iranians and the White House, so her comparison makes little sense based on her own arguments and positions. 

5) If guns are the problem, when will Hillary demand her 24/7 security team stop carrying them for her protection?

It's easy to attack the NRA for political reasons, but it's hard to come up with real solutions to violence. I'll leave you with this: 

One Student Dead, Three Injured in Overnight Shooting at Northern Arizona University

One student was killed and three more injured in an overnight shooting at Northern Arizona University Friday morning.

The incident occurred in a parking lot at 1:20 a.m. after an argument outside a dorm, reports Fox News.

The shooter is in custody and the victims are being treated at Flagstaff Medical Center.

Authorities have sent out an active shooter alert on campus.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Update: The shooter has been identified.

Aww: Little Girl Can't Wait to See Her Soldier Dad

As any parent of a young child knows, sometimes kids just bolt and run away from you. Karis Oglesby, 2, was so excited to see her dad for the first time in eight months that she ran away from her mother and sister to give her dad a hug--in the middle of his homecoming ceremony at Fort Carson.

Oglesby had spent the last eight months with his unit in Kuwait. He told reporters that he's "not going to say no" to giving his daughter a hug when he first saw her running at him. And can you blame him?

Former Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa Considering Bid For House Speaker

In case you missed it yesterday, Republicans in Congress were thrown into complete chaos when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy unexpectedly withdrew his name from the race for Speaker. Now, the race is on to find a replacement for outgoing Speaker John Boehner, who will stay in his current position until a new Speaker is elected.

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Florida Rep. Daniel Webster are still in the race, but another candidate has emerged for the position. 

During an interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday, former Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who spoke to reporters yesterday immediately after McCarthy made his announcement about exiting the race, revealed he is mulling a bid for Speaker.

"The fact is, yes, I think that I could potentially be a candidate. At the same time, I agree with the vast majority of members, I think. We need a Paul Ryan or we need somebody who is A.) experienced, B.) has been a Committee chairman or something other than just up through the leadership ranks," Issa said. "We very definitely need to pick our fights carefully, but we need somebody who is willing to do those fights, when the time comes, because the motion of our party has been to the right. The new members – the members since 2010 – they’re more conservative. They’re more interested in real fiscal reform. And they’ve been denied by the K Street, if you will, influence the ability to actually get votes that were fiscally responsible. We’ve had some tough votes."

Issa also slammed Chaffetz, who took over the position as Oversight Chairman, for failing to continue holding government accountable and pointed out the Utah Congressman hasn't issued a single Committee report since taking over earlier this year.

"Well, look, Jason’s a good man. An honorable man. But he got his job by going to Boehner and saying he would shut down that rancor that was going on. That he would “go along, get along.” And he’s done that. He put shining pictures of Utah on the wall and he basically stopped doing it. There hasn’t been a single Committee report or staff report published since he’s been chairman. The fact is, he’s a good guy, but whatever he was as a freshman, when he was a fighter on our Committee, when he was trying to hold government accountable, he took a break from that. And I think that’s going to hurt him. Not whether I get into the race or not. It’s already hurt him. He didn’t have thirty votes going into the race. I don’t think he’s going to get the 240. But, let’s understand something. I wouldn’t have the hubris to determine whether I’m the 240 candidate or Paul Ryan," Issa said. "This is something where the conference has to dig deep. They have to ask the question, “Who can we unite behind?” This is a job that you can’t run for. You can make yourself available for it. But the conference really has to look hard. Not for who’s got the most whips calling, but who can really make a difference beyond 218. Because the day after you’re speaker, you have to make hard decisions and, like Joe said earlier, you have to be able to go to people and say, “I promise to bring up your issue, but I need you to do this for me now,” and you’ve got to keep those promises. And that was one of those areas that Boehner ran out of the ability to get people to say yes to."

During his time as Oversight Chairman, Issa led the charge to investigate a number of Obama administration scandals including Operation Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservatives and more.

Yesterday Speaker Boehner said he was confident a new Speaker would be selected within coming weeks, but a date for a vote has not been set.

FBI Director Warns About 'Gaps' in Screening of Syrian Refugees

The Obama administration has pledged to take in 85,000 refugees in the next fiscal year, with the number increasing to 100,000 the year after that. While not all of these refugees will be coming from war-torn countries like Syria, many will, and it has Republicans up in arms over the strain on American resources and the security risks it poses.

Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday, FBI Director James Comey weighed in from a security perspective, lending credence to Republican concerns over proper vetting of refugees.

“My concern there is there are certain gaps ... in the data available to us,” Comey said.

“There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that,” he added.

“There is no such thing as a no-risk enterprise and there are deficits that we face.”

In particular, the lack of solid on-the-ground intelligence assets in Syria has clouded the U.S.’s ability to crosscheck the backgrounds of every refugee hoping to come to the U.S., Comey and other national security officials told the Senate panel.

“The intelligence that we have of this particular conflict zone is not as rich as we would like it to be,” said Nicholas Rasmussen, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center. “We’ve got a much more streamlined and effective system to make sure that all of our intelligence holdings are brought to bear as these decisions are made, but you can only review against what you have.”

“We are building that fact into our analysis as well,” he added, “so that we can at least identify what more questions we need to ask.”

Refugees are first recommended by the United Nations, according to the administration, and then screened by multiple U.S. agencies. The White House insists that the vetting process will be thorough.

“We should do the right thing by accepting more, but we should be careful in doing it,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

Republicans didn’t seem any more comforted by the administration’s assurances, however.

“I’m very skeptical about what I hear,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said during the hearing.

Thus far, roughly 2,000 Syrian refugees have come to the U.S.

DHS IP Address Edits Wikipedia Pages to Accuse McCarthy of Affair

The Wikipedia pages of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Renee Ellmers were edited to accuse the two of having an affair. The IP address that made the edits were reportedly tied to the Department of Homeland Security. 

The changes were made on Thursday, the same day McCarthy unexpectedly dropped out of the race for Speaker of the House. Both members of Congress have denied the affair, however.

“Ellmers is alleged to have been involved in an extra-marital affair with Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy since 2011,” the edited article read, sourcing the information to a Breitbart article that alleged no such thing, and an article on independent website GotNews.

Earlier this week Rep. Walter Jones wrote a letter urging GOP candidates to withdraw from leadership races if they have any skeletons in the closet.

"With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I am asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference and the House of Representatives if they become public," Jones wrote.

DHS told The Daily Caller that the agency has “immediately launched an investigation into this serious matter.”

Sheryl Crow to Perform at CNN's Democrat Primary Debate

CNN is desperate to get viewers for the Democratic primary debate they're hosting next week. They've tried everything: innovative streaming gimmicks, begging Joe Biden to come join (who said thanks but no thanks), and now they're bringing in Sheryl Crow.

On Thursday, CNN announced that the Grammy-award winning singer will be performing the national anthem live on CNN before the debate begins on Tuesday. And, according to the official press release, she could not be more excited.

“I think most people know that I’m a Democrat,” Crow told CNN. “I’m fascinated with the process and I’m going to be excited to actually be there when our candidates debate.” And she isn’t quite ready to make an endorsement yet, adding, “I want to hear what everyone has to say and see where I fall.”

It's kind of amusing, that of all the celebrities who endorsed Barack Obama, CNN landed on Sheryl Crow as their big name to try to woo viewers into watching the debate.

Let's hope this isn't something CNN will look back upon as their Favorite Mistake.

Cruz Cosponsors Bill to Withhold Federal Funds from Sanctuary Cities

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with several other senators, helped introduce the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act this week as a means to crack down on illegal immigration. 

“In light of the threat criminal aliens pose to the safety and security of our communities, we can no longer allow states and municipalities to take federal taxpayer money while turning a blind eye to the illegal aliens in their midst,” Cruz said in a statement. 

Earlier this year, Cruz introduced Kate’s Law to bring attention to the tragic case of Kate Steinle. Steinle was shot and killed in July by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who, despite being a repeat drug offender and deported five times, was somehow freely walking along the same San Francisco pier as her. Kate’s Law places a minimum five-year prison sentence on any illegal immigrant like Sanchez who reenters the country after committing a crime.

“What happened to Kate Steinle is heartbreaking,” Cruz said. “And the heartbreak is even more tragic given the circumstances. Clearly, our laws are not adequately deterring those who have already been deported from illegally reentering the country. I'm proud to join with my colleagues in sending the message that defiance of our nation's laws will no longer be tolerated. Of course, stiff penalties alone will not suffice. Congress must hold this Administration accountable for its failure-if not its outright refusal-to enforce federal immigration laws and ensure the safety and protection of the American people.”

Here are the specific provisions of the Stop Sanctuary Policies Act, provided by Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) office:

· Prohibits sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving federal funds under the Community Development Block Grant Program and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.

· Requires transparency to show which local jurisdictions are currently not in compliance with federal immigration law.

· Protects local jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies by preventing them from being sued for obeying the law and complying with federal immigration law enforcement requests.

· Increases criminal penalties for illegal immigrants who have illegally re-entered the United States after deportation and for those who have committed aggravated felonies.

· Endorsed by National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Federation for American Immigration Reform and NumbersUSA.

This bill cannot return Kate Steinle to her grieving family, but it can hopefully prevent more unnecessary tragedy in the future.

The full list of the bill’s cosponsors are as follows: Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

Chaos: House Republicans in Complete Disarray, No Easy Fix in Sight

UPDATE - News:

- Original Post -

Boehner's out.

McCarthy's out.

Now what? Nobody seems to have the faintest clue. Capitol Hill sources are uniformly astonished and bewildered by the whirlwind of disunity and dysfunction that has pushed Republicans' historically large House majority in to open chaos.  A top leadership aide declined to even speculate on when the hastily-postponed Speaker election might take place.  Of the two remaining candidates for the position, one is an obscure back-bencher with little institutional support; the other is sowing doubts about his own fitness for the job:

It's a common refrain these days, but its undeniable truth bears repeating: Given the unchanged political dynamics within the fractured GOP caucus, who would want this job right now? The next Speaker will inevitably endure harsh criticism a relatively small group of dissatisfied conservatives, who often seem long on complaints but short on workable strategies.  This faction's intransigence has hamstrung party leaders repeatedly over the last five years; they've now collected two prized "establishment" scalps, yet appear to have no viable alternative in mind.  The next Speaker will answer to dozens of moderate-leaning members intent on retaining swing district seats won over back-to-back midterm landslides.  The next Speaker will also contend with an entrenched, very liberal, very disciplined Democratic minority -- on whom he or she may occasionally be forced to rely for votes, thanks to the "hell no" hard-right flank's tactics.  (This phenomenon, incidentally, affords Democrats much more leverage than they'd otherwise have, allowing them to extract policy concessions as a price for their cooperation, making legislation less conservative).  And the next Speaker will have to navigate all of these perilous crosscurrents with a string of unpleasant deadlines looming:

Once again, plausible consensus picks are shrinking from the spotlight. Trey Gowdy wants to continue pressing forward on the Benghazi committee, whose work and reputation was damaged by Kevin McCarthy's foolish recent remarks.  McCarthy conceded today that his major gaffe contributed to his decision to withdraw from the Speaker's race.  Paul Ryan, who is among the best-positioned Republicans to try to pick up the pieces, wants no part of it, preferring to maintain his powerful chairmanship and influence the party's agenda as a wonky ideas leader.  Any chance he might reconsider?  Doesn't look like it:

Katie suggested Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but as a member of the current leadership team, does she have the ability to heal the caucus and shake the dreaded "establishment" label?  Tough task.  And when frustrated conservatives inevitably turn their rhetorical fire against her, does anyone doubt for a nanosecond that Democrats would exploit the fissure as the latest evidence of the Right's mythical "war on women"?  See, they even attack their own women, they'd gleefully point out.  What about an interim Speaker -- someone who's retiring or who pledges to vacate the chair after the 2016 election?  Two big problems.  First:

Not only would a lame duck Speaker be a fundraising catastrophe for the party, the ongoing uncertainty and internecine fighting would hand Democrats a turnkey electoral message in races across the country: "Republicans are manifestly incapable of governing the country.  They can't even govern their own party."  Let's not sugarcoat this: An ideological and tactical crisis has befallen the Republican Party.  The road to reconciliation is unclear at best.  A haze of confusion and resentment has set in.  What comes next is literally anyone's guess.  I'll leave you with one name to keep an eye on, and a telling quote from the ex-next Speaker: 

Is this rock bottom?  Nah, it could conceivably get even worse:

Boehner: Confident We Will Elect a New Speaker Within Weeks

House Speaker John Boehner is confident the House will elect a new Speaker soon after news broke earlier today Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will no longer pursue the position. 

“After Leader McCarthy’s announcement, members of the House Republican Conference will not vote today for a new Speaker. As I have said previously, I will serve as Speaker until the House votes to elect a new Speaker," Boehner said. "We will announce the date for this election at a later date, and I’m confident we will elect a new Speaker in the coming weeks. Our conference will work together to ensure we have the strongest team possible as we continue to focus on the American people’s priorities.” 

Congressmen Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy have already made clear they will not put their name in the race for Speaker. Jason Chaffetz said today he will stay in the race, but didn't sound confident he is the man for the job. 

Jason Chaffetz "Stunned," Paul Ryan "Disappointed" McCarthy Dropped Out of Speaker's Race

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who issued a challenge to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week for Speaker of the House, has made a statement in response to McCarthy dropping out of the race. 

"I am stunned," Chaffetz said to a gaggle of reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday.

Congressman and Chairman of the House Weighs and Means Committee Paul Ryan, who endorsed McCarthy here at Townhall earlier this week, has also issued a statement. 

“Kevin McCarthy is best person to lead the House, and so I’m disappointed in this decision. Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership. While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,” Ryan said.

As of now, there is no immediate successor for the Speakership and it is unclear where Republicans will go from here. Chaffetz will remain in the race, but a vote has been indefinitely postponed. Current House Speaker John Boehner will remain in his position until a new Speaker is elected.