Video: Beachgoers Tested on Basic Facts About American History, Fail Spectacularly

Beware America: if you see Jesse Watters walking towards you with a microphone, run. Run as fast as you can.

However, if you must speak with him, at least know when the 13 original colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, and who the first American president was.

I wonder how many beachgoers, who were interviewed by Watters, actually answered these questions correctly, and therefore were left off the final cut because they didn’t sound like total morons. Even so, some of the answers were spectacularly awful. According to one interviewee, America declared its independence from Great Britain in 1946; another said 1973. I also particularly enjoyed the comment that King Arthur was the monarch from whom the colonists separated and cut ties with in 1776. Wrong again.

And yet, I’ll award these sun-loving, forgetful Long Islanders points for trying, I suppose — and for subjecting themselves to mockery and scorn. At least they were good sports about it.

San Francisco Sheriff Who Let Kate Steinle's Illegal Alien Killer Walk Was Sentenced For Domestic Abuse in 2012

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimiis is defending his decision to release illegal alien, seven time felon and five time deported Francisco Sanchez onto the streets of his sanctuary city today after Sanchez shot and killed 33-year-old Kate Steinle while she was on a walk with her father last week. 

Mirkarimiis is being accused of being complicit in Steinle's killing after Sanchez admitted in a jailhouse interview that he chose San Francisco due to it's sanctuary city policies. Those policies have been implemented and strongly supported by Mirkarimiis over the years.

"California and San Francisco politicians are culpable for implementing and enforcing policies that resulted in Ms. Steinle's murder. In 2013, the California Legislature approved a bill barring police and sheriff's departments across the state from honoring most ICE detainer requests. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.
That law, along with a 2013 city ordinance and a 2014 policy implemented by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, resulted in Sanchez being released from custody in March 2015 after he had been arrested on drug charges. San Francisco refused to honor an ICE detainer request even though Sanchez has seven previous felony convictions on his record," FAIR issued in a statement yesterday. 

But it turns out that Mirkarimiis has a history of his own. In 2012 he was convicted on a domestic violence charge. From the 2012 LA Times:

The saga began New Year's Eve, when Mirkarimi, his wife and their 2-year-old son, Theo, went out for lunch, court documents said. En route to the restaurant, according to Mirkarimi's arrest warrant, Lopez asked if she could visit her family in Venezuela after her husband's Jan. 8 inauguration.

In response, Mirkarimi began screaming obscenities, accusing Lopez of "trying to take Theo away from me." He turned the car around, told his wife she "didn't deserve to eat" and drove home, court documents said.

"The fight continued and became louder, and Ross Mirkarimi continued to be verbally abusive and physically abusive," the arrest warrant said. The incident was reported to involve "pushing, pulling and grabbing."

On New Year's Day, court documents said, Lopez knocked on her neighbor's door, went inside and burst into tears. According to the neighbor, Lopez pushed up her sleeve to reveal a large bruise on her right arm and said it happened when Mirkarimi grabbed her. The neighbor pulled out a video camera and shot about 55 seconds of footage showing a distraught Lopez.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was sentenced Monday to three years of probation in a domestic-violence case involving his wife, a former Venezuelan telenovela star.

Mirkarimi earlier was charged with three misdemeanors and could have been sentenced to a year in jail if convicted. Those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.

Mirkarimi was also sentenced to one day in jail, for which he was given credit for time served. He will be required to complete 100 hours of community service and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling. In addition, he has to pay fines and fees of nearly $600.

After the hearing in a San Francisco courtroom, Mirkarimi expressed remorse for his actions.

Apparently San Francisco didn't allow domestic violence to keep them from voting Mirkarimi back into office.

New Pre-Campaign Video ‘Recalls’ Walker's Historic Win Against Labor Unions

Before he officially announces he is running for president next week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is reminding voters why he's qualified for the job. A new video entitled "Recall the Recall" is a rerun of Gov. Walker's historic win against labor unions.

Walker, frustrated with the unions' obsession with power in the Badger State, took bold leadership against the Big Government special interests by scaling back the use of collective bargaining. The move angered labor unions to an unruly point. "Recall the Recall" replays the ugly scene that unfolded.

“The left erupted. They stormed the Capitol, but Scott Walker stood his ground. Unintimidated, they even threatened his family. But he stood firm, and he won.”

Featured in the video is Walker’s friend Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who explains why the governor was victorious. He balanced the budget, lowered taxes, among other popular and economically smart policies, Ryan explained.

The video also recalls how the leftist media couldn’t explain Walker's resounding success, playing clips from MSNBC pundits like Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow wondering what happened. Walker's campaign again has the answer:

“Unable to cave, the left tried to recall him. They threw everything at him and he beat them – again.”

Walker was the first governor in history to survive a recall election. What better way to kickoff a campaign than by reminding voters about it? 

Walker will officially announce his White House run on July 13.

New Documents Show Extensive Collaboration Between IRS, DOJ to Criminally Prosecute Conservative Groups

Last year emails revealed former IRS official Lois Lerner was in contact with the Department of Justice Criminal Division about criminally prosecuting conservative tea party groups for pursuing political activity (opposed to President Obama's agenda) by "posing" as non-profit organizations. 

Now, new documents obtained by government watchdog Judicial Watch through two different Freedom of Information Act lawsuits show extensive collaboration between the IRS and DOJ (and subsequently the FBI) to go after conservative groups with criminal charges. The IRS likely violated federal law by illegally sharing 1.25 million pages of taxpayer information with DOJ, which were contained on nearly two dozen FBI backup tapes. Further, information shows DOJ wanted IRS officials who were scheduled to testify in front of Congress about the targeting scandal to turn over planned remarks to them first before delivering on Capitol Hill. From JW:

Judicial Watch today released new Department of Justice (DOJ) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents that include an official “DOJ Recap” report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, DOJ officials and the FBI to plan for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity.

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”

But the IRS wasn't simply sending the DOJ information, Lerner herself was meeting with DOJ officials to discuss pursuing criminal charges. 

On October 8, 2010, Lois Lerner, Joe Urban [IRS Technical Advisor, TEGE], Judy Kindell [top aide to Lerner], Justin Lowe [Technical Advisor to the Commissioner of Tax-Exempt and Government Entities], and Siri Buller met with the section chief and other attorneys from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and one representative from the FBI, to discuss recent attention to the political activity of exempt organizations.

The section’s attorneys expressed concern that certain section 501(c) organizations are actually political committees “posing” as if they are not subject to FEC law, and therefore may be subject to criminal liability. The attorneys mentioned several possible theories to bring criminal charges under FEC law

Keep in mind Lerner previously and essentially stated in an email that at least one conservative group needed to be made a public example with prosecution. 

"One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn't feel so comfortable doing the stuff," Lerner said in a 2013 email.

The goal was to stop the flow of other conservative non-profits, opposed to President Obama's agenda, from applying for tax exempt status and therefore becoming more effective.

“These new documents show that the Obama IRS scandal is also an Obama DOJ and FBI scandal,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama’s opponents in jail before his reelection. And this abuse resulted in the FBI’s illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information. How can the Justice Department and FBI investigate the very scandal in which they are implicated?”

It's no wonder Lerner's hard drive magically "crashed," "losing" thousands of emails sent and received during the time period when she was meeting with DOJ to pursue prosecution of American citizens exercising their constitutional right to free speech.

Of Course: Nuclear Talks Blow Through Another Deadline, Iran Adds Demands

The Iran talks' already-extended deadline has been extended again, and is likely to stretch on for days:

From Reuters' new story:

Iran and six major powers will keep negotiating past Tuesday's deadline for a long-term nuclear agreement as they tackle the most contentious issues, including the continuation of a U.N. arms embargo on Iran, the big powers said. "We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said outside the hotel where the talks between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are taking place. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was "every reason" to believe a deal would be done within "a few days", and that there was an "understanding" that most of the current sanctions against Iran would be lifted. "There is only one big problem in terms of sanctions - it is the problem of a weapons embargo," he told journalists, according to the news agency Interfax. He said it was important to reach agreement on this as soon as possible, telling journalists that "ending the bans on supplies to Iran of the weapons required to fight terrorism is a very, very relevant objective". It is the fourth time the parties have extended the terms of the interim deal, which was struck in November 2013 and provided Iran with limited sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to the production of uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.

So many points: Continuing negotiations past a deadline is an extension, period.  Why they're playing semantics games about this is puzzling, given that this is "the fourth time the parties have extended the terms of the interim deal."  The Russians are telling reporters that "most" of the current sanctions against Iran will be lifted under the agreement, with the biggest remaining problem on that front being the weapons embargo.  The lifting of said embargo was an "unrelated," 11th-hour demand from Tehran, along with an insistence that sanctions pertaining to the country's rogue ballistic missile program be eased. (Remember, suggestions that Iran be forced to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel, and release American prisoners are part of this deal have been swatted down by the White House as beyond the scope of the talks.  But Iran is welcome to broaden that score, it seems).  In short, Iran is swinging for the fences, evidently (and justifiably) convinced that the US will do almost anything to achieve an historic photo-op.  Are these additional demands being taken seriously?  Or were they put forth as theater, to allow the West to "hold the line" on something, while caving on other crucial questions like the timing of nuclear sanctions relief, military inspections, and requiring Iran to offer a full accounting of their program's military dimensions?  We'll know soon enough. This quote from an unnamed senior Obama administration official cements the impression that Obama and Kerry are hellbent on walking away with a deal, no matter how bad:

White House officials see the conclusion of Iran talks as a gateway for Mr. Obama to press for a political resolution in Syria that would facilitate the exit of President Bashar al-Assad, a close Iranian ally...U.S. officials are unsure how a nuclear deal would affect Tehran’s behavior. Iran could firm its support for Mr. Assad or cut a deal to push him aside, U.S. officials said. “They’ll have more money to be bad actors if they choose to be bad actors,” another senior administration official said. “But they’ll also have more opportunities to be constructive if they choose that route.”

Welcome to fantasyland.  If the Iranians choose the "constructive" route?  The same Iranians whose international terrorism and meddling continues "undiminished," according to this administration's own assessment?  Which further underscores the absurdity of the Russians' apparent support for lifting or reducing the UN arms embargo (which Tehran has habitually violated and subverted).  Lavrov argues that Iran might need those weapons to combat terrorism.  Iran is the planet's number-one state sponsor of terrorism.  The Reuters piece above also describes the terms of the interim deal as forcing Iran to "halt" uranium enrichment…which they haven't.  Tehran's stockpile has increased substantially over the course of the years-long negotiations.  Indeed, the regime hasn't fully complied with the interim deal, giving rise to a flurry of excuses from the Obama administration.  These apologias raise red flags for the Washington Post's editorial board: 

If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years. In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East. Whether this flawed deal is sustainable will depend on a complex set of verification arrangements and provisions for restoring sanctions in the event of cheating. The schemes may or may not work; the history of the comparable nuclear accord with North Korea in the 1990s is not encouraging...That’s why a recent controversy over Iran’s compliance with the interim accord now governing its nuclear work is troubling. The deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, but required that amounts over a specified ceiling be converted into an oxide powder that cannot easily be further enriched. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran met the requirement for the total size of its stockpile on June 30, but it did so by converting some of its enriched uranium into a different oxide form, apparently because of problems with a plant set up to carry out the powder conversion. Rather than publicly report this departure from the accord, the Obama administration chose to quietly accept it. When a respected independent think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, began pointing out the problem, the administration’s response was to rush to Iran’s defense — and heatedly attack the institute as well as a report in the New York Times.

Classic Obama here. Dangerous weakness and accommodation in the face of our enemies, coupled with furious attacks against domestic critics. Also recall that Obama's fig leaf argument for a deal -- the lengthening of Iran's so-called "breakout" timeline -- has been seriously challenged by nuclear experts. And as the Post editorial points out, Iran's status as a threshold nuclear-armed stated will merely be postponed by this agreement, even if they fully comply with its terms. Obama himself has all but conceded this point. I'll leave you with the Free Beacon's video chronicling the depressing parade of concessions, rhetorical and substantive, served up by Team Smart Power on this front. Devastating:

Republican Donor: Shouldn't Donald Trump Be Barred From Debates?

Is Donald Trump a political liability? After all, ever since he officially became a Republican presidential candidate, he’s faced considerable and growing backlash over his theories about Mexicans. Recently, however, he “clarified” his remarks by releasing a statement that in many ways dug himself deeper into a hole. “The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States,” he wrote in part. “They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc."

Nevertheless, Charles Krauthammer, who has been in a tussle with Trump for some weeks now, explained why the business mogul’s comments are beyond offensive, and, ultimately, toxic to the Republican brand:

"Well, he's tapping in, but he's essentially -- he's done it in a way that the word offensive is too weak. It's an insult. An entire immigrant group. He did not make a distinct between legal and illegal immigrants. That's his entire campaign. All our problems are from Mexico, from China, from Saudi Arabia, and Japan. He will make them pay. But that elevates him to a guy actually with ideas. These are eruptions, barstool eruptions. And the pity is this. This is the strongest field of Republican candidates in 35 years. You could pick a dozen of them at random and have the strongest cabinet America's had in our lifetime and instead all of our time is spent discussing this rodeo clown..."

Mincing words is not in Krauthammer’s repertoire when discussing the fabulously wealthy – and high-polling – Donald Trump. And yet, Krauthammer’s not the only one frustrated by Trump’s influence and large microphone (via Politico):

At least one top Republican donor wants the party to keep Donald Trump from the debate stage. “Someone in the party ought to start some sort of petition saying, ‘If Trump’s going to be on the stage, I’m not going to be on there with him,’” Republican donor John Jordan told The Associated Press on Monday, according to a report published Tuesday. “I’m toying with the idea of it.”

“It’s something I feel strongly about as somebody who not only cares about the Republican Party, but also Latinos,” he added.

No doubt others feel the same way. But how likely is a petition to be successful, one that bars Trump from debating on stage, when he’s polling in the top tier and has a dedicated, devoted, and rather large following who wants to see him nominated?

Krauthammer’s right: The controversies Trump is generating are overshadowing a GOP field that is both talented and desperate to win. But finding a way to silence him, when he’s entirely self-funded, is impossible. I suspect very few pundits thought Trump would actually run, and now that he has, the donor and political classes are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to respond. And while this adds (for some) a new layer of excitement to the race, it also adds another dimension of nervousness and unpredictability as well.

Study: Cost of Generating Wind Electricity 48% Higher Than Previous Estimates

study released Tuesday morning concludes that the true cost of wind energy is 48 percent high than previous studies have estimated.

The study titled, "The True Cost of Energy; Wind,” was conducted by the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University, and given to Townhall exclusively. They came to this conclusion by looking at implicit costs that a variety of other studies -- including studies from the Department of Energy and the Institute for Energy Research -- did not account for. 

"Implicit costs are tough to measure," Dr. Ryan Yonk, co-author of the study and research director in the Department of Economics at Utah State University, told Townhall, saying that he hoped that future studies would look more into implicit costs.

The report highlights four main implicit costs associated with wind energy: the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), transmission infrastructure problems, and baseload cycling.

Advocates of wind energy point to the fact that 43 percent of all new electricity capacity stems from wind power. However, as the study points out, this is entirely due to the massive amounts of subsidies that wind power receives. Every year, wind subsidies increase by an average of 32 percent, with subsidies totaling almost $5 billion in 2010. Most of the subsidies stem from the PTC, which was first passed in 1992 to subsidize wind farms at a rate of $15 per megawatt-hour, which was eventually raised to $23 per megawatt-hour in 2013. Whenever the PTC is about to expire, wind farm installations dramatically decrease, as high 92 percent in 2013.

The PTC is one of the 82 wind energy initiatives that is overseen by nine federal agencies. Out of these initiatives, the PTC is the largest, accounting for 39 percent of revenue losses that the Treasury Department spent on wind-related initiatives.

"We don’t know what the market would like without the subsidies," Dr. Yonk said.

And yet, despite the PTC, wind makes up only 4 percent of national energy consumption. As the authors of the study say, this is the true cost of the subsidies (emphasis mine): 

By paying for the PTC with their taxes, American citizens subsidize private investments in wind energy development. Wind and solar energy both receive 20 times more federal subsidies than coal or natural gas in terms of average electricity generation. Since it was expanded in 2009, the PTC has cost an average of $5 billion per year. Recent IRS changes expanded the number of wind producers and the conditions for eligibility so that a one-year extension is expected to cost taxpayers approximately $13 billion over the next decade.24 These considerations increase the true cost of electricity produced from wind power. While the costs of subsidizing wind power are dispersed across all Americans, the benefits are enjoyed by a select few wind industry favorites.

Without the PTC, many private investors would have no incentive to invest in wind energy because such investments would no longer be profitable. Warren Buffett, who has invested billions in renewable energy, stated, "[W]e get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” Thus, when the PTC is allowed to expire, investments in wind energy plummet.

This leads to a phenomenon known as negative pricing, where the seller pays the buyer to accept their product. Wind farms need to pay utilities to take electricity since wind is at its most powerful in the evenings, when most people are not using energy. This negative pricing distorts the market:

The PTC pays wind producers $23 for every megawatt-hour of electricity produced, regardless of market factors like supply and demand. Wind producers can then pay utilities (up to $23 per megawatt-hour) to take their power while still making a profit or at least breaking even. Subsidies, and the negative pricing they cause, distort the market for electricity and flood it with subsidized wind power. In some cases, this drives more conventional producers of electricity, such as nuclear plants, out of the market.

And this creates opportunity costs, meaning that the resources spent on the wind energy sector could have been instead on resources that were of higher value to the market.

"The subsidies are costly and they distort the market and as legislators and policymakers make those decisions, they should know what the real costs look like of regulation and subsidies in the energy sector,” Dr. Yonk said.

The study also highlights RPS standards, which are mandates for states to meet quotas for renewable energy. Twenty-nine states, as well as Washington, D.C., and two territories, have RPS standards. Since renewable energy sources tend to be more expensive than conventional energy sources, the study concludes that states with RPS have energy prices that are 38% higher than states that don't have RPS.

Another implicit cost of wind energy are transmission infrastructure problems. Wind farms tend to be farther away from transmission farms, which means the grid needs to be expanded and therefore results in higher costs.

"In order to build wind farms you have to go where there’s enough wind capacity… and often those are not conveniently located," Dr. Yonk said, describing the transmission expansion costs as "quite substantial." The study cites a report saying the costs are high as $27 per megawatt-hour.

The final implicit cost that the study highlights is a process known as baseload cycling:

In areas with high levels of wind power, the grid relies on existing energy plants to provide electricity when the wind is not blowing. These generators ensure that the station is always supplying a minimum amount of energy, also known as “baseload” power. Even though the generators are not used when the wind turbines are supplying plenty of power, they must be kept on standby, ready to be fired up at a moment’s notice. The generators “cycle” between use and non-use, hence the term “baseload cycling.”

Baseload cycling increases operation and maintenance costs as two energy plants (the wind farm and the baseload generator) are kept running to do the job of one. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory note that cycling increases emissions because firing up a plant multiple times in a single day uses more fuel than running at a steady rate throughout the day."

The study then cites a report saying that the extra cost of baseload cycling could be as high as $23 per megawatt-hour.

With the study's release, Dr. Yonk hopes that more research will conducted on the implicit costs of energy and hopes that legislators and policymakers will have that information going forward.

"This is a situation where policymakers are looking at what to do going forward… understanding the true cost of any source of energy and what goes into it is essential,” Dr. Yonk said.

Bill O'Reilly Rips San Francisco Politicians, Obama Administration, Congress Over Criminal Alien Murder in San Francisco

Last week Kate Steinle was shot and killed on a San Francisco pier by an illegal alien with a record of seven felonies and five deportations. Her killer admitted in a jailhouse interview that he went back to San Francisco because he knew he wouldn't be turned over to federal authorities thanks to sanctuary city policies. 

Monday night on the O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly didn't mince words when addressing the issue and holds San Francisco city officials and the Obama administration complicit in Steinle's death. O'Reilly also called on Congress to pass a law mandating five years in federal prison if caught back in the United States after being deported.

"Here is the dangerous part. According government statistics, 71% percent of non-American citizens in federal prisons are from Mexico. Colombian nationals are second, just 4%. Mexican criminals represent a whopping 16% of all convicts serving time in federal penitentiaries. That is a huge burden on the American taxpayer, and a dangerous situation for ordinary Americans like 32-year-old Kate Steinle," O'Reilly said. "Last Wednesday Kate was walking with her father in San Francisco when she was shot dead on the street for absolutely no reason at all. Police say 45-year-old Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal alien from Mexico, murdered Kate. Apparently Sanchez has seven felony convictions and had been deported five times. Yet he was still walking around the streets of San Francisco. That's because Mayor Ed Lee and the eleven members of the San Francisco City Supervisors refuse to cooperate with the federal government on criminal aliens. The feds asked the city of San Francisco to keep Sanchez in custody; the city refused. Ms. Steinle paid for that irresponsible and unconstitutional decision with her life. San Francisco is a sanctuary city, and violent crimes committed by criminal aliens have happened before. City authorities refuse to say how many because they know this is a huge scandal -- a black mark on the history of San Francisco, the most tolerant of cities. n 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act, which stipulated that local and state authorities were to cooperate with the feds in apprehending illegal aliens, especially criminals."

"In 2007 then Mayor Gavin Newsom issues an Executive Order stating that as a Sanctuary City, San Francisco would not cooperate with federal authorities on illegal immigration matters and would protect even criminal aliens. The feds did nothing. In 2010 the Obama administration openly said it would not punish cities that refuse to obey the 1996 law. So here's the deal. The mayor and city supervisors of San Francisco are directly responsible for the death of Kate Steinle and the Obama administration is complicit. Attorney General Loretta Lynch could order FBI agents to arrest Mayor Lee and the supervisors for violating federal law. She is within her authority to do that. I know that will never happen because racial politics drives the law these days, which is why Trump caught so much hell. The Constitution demands that the federal government protect Americans from foreign intruders. Obviously, that responsibility is not being met. And if you point that out as Trump did, you are a racist, a piñata for the open-border crowd to bash," he continued.

Violent crime committed by illegal aliens in this country is a major problem, for public safety reasons and for taxpayers. As O'Reilly mentioned, the government has an obligation to protect Americans from foreign invasion and the criminal illegal alien problem is fueled by political DC incompetence. Every GOP presidential candidate, as well as Democrat Hillary Clinton, has an obligation to address it.

Unhindered: Boko Haram Continues Its Onslaught

A series of blasts killed at least 44 people in Nigeria over the weekend in what looks to be the latest string of Boko Haram murders. One of the bombs exploded outside of a mosque during a Ramadan sermon, and another blew up in a restaurant. A third blast went off inside a church, and another targeted a major thoroughfare being used by a number of Muslim families.

The weekend violence primarily occurred in the cities of Jos, in central Nigeria, and Potiskum, in the northeast of Nigeria. Jos had been attacked last year by Boko Haram in a notorious attack that claimed over 100 lives. The blast in Potiskum — which occurred at Redeemer Christian Church of God — took the lives of a priest and four worshippers, including a woman and her two children.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but experts say they bear all the signs of Boko Haram. The jihadist group — which pledged its loyalty to ISIS this past March — has attacked Potiskum four other times previous to this attack. Those attacks killed upwards of 20 people.

This weekend's attacks come at the end of one of Nigeria's bloodiest weeks yet at the hands of Boko Haram. The terror group, based in northern Nigeria, had just carried out attacks on northeastern Nigerian villages that claimed the lives of over 150 people — mostly Muslims. The attacks are part of Boko Haram's aim of creating an Islamic caliphate in the image of ISIS. Like Boko Haram, ISIS has killed scores of Muslims deemed too lax in the practice of their faith or too wavering in their loyalty. Both organizations practice a rigorous level of Sharia law and have taken underage girls as slaves.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned last week's attacks as "inhuman and barbaric." He vowed that every "Boko Haram bandit ... would be hunted down without mercy and compromise." The recently elected president has pledged to defeat Boko Haram, but military efforts to stop the bloodshed have failed thus far.

The United States condemned the recent Boko Haram attacks in an official statement:

"As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and from terror. The United States continues to provide counterterrorism assistance to help Nigerian authorities develop a comprehensive approach to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram."

Boko Haram made major headlines in the Western world last year when it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in the city of Chibok. The kidnapping spawned the twitter slogan, #BringBackOurGirls. Since the 2014 kidnappings, Boko Haram has received less than its share of media attention in the West — even as its recent atrocities rival those committed by the Islamic State.

Idaho In No Rush To Remove Traditional Marriage Amendment From Constitution

While known for its potatoes and Napoleon Dynamite, the Gem State is also as red as they come concerning politics. The composition of the state legislature is overwhelming Republican, and the state constitution has marriage  defined as a union between one man and one woman. The problem is that section of state law has been struck down with the recent Obergefell decision from the Supreme Court, which said there's a constitutional right to gay marriage.

Nevertheless, some traditional marriage advocates say the provision should remain since it’s a “symbolic and historic piece of language.” Yet, it’s now completely irrelevant, so why keep something on the books if it won’t be enforced? Yet, the process to remove the language, which was adopted in a 2006 referendum won’t be easy (via AP):

…removing the language will likely be an uphill battle. Amending the Idaho Constitution first requires approval from the Republican-dominated Legislature. The proposal must then win a simple majority in a voter referendum -a tough task for even lesser politically-charged initiatives.

Idaho is one of 30 states that amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage that have not yet take steps to repeal their amendments, even though they have been rendered unenforceable by the Supreme Court's gay-marriage decision.

Idaho's gay marriage ban has been enshrined in the state constitution since 2006 after winning 63 percent of the vote.

Gay rights supporters argue removal is the natural next step to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling. But Republican lawmakers and gay marriage opponents counter that there is no legal need to change the constitution.

"Idaho should not remove that language," said Julie Lynde, executive director of Cornerstone Family Council. "There is no reason to obliterate traditional marriage. It's a symbolic and historic piece of language."

Furthermore, when Idaho lawmakers gather in Boise at the beginning of 2016, they'll be kicking off the legislative session in an election year. Republican lawmakers will be less likely to cast a vote that could be used against them by an opponent.

The article also noted that since the Republican leadership in the state legislature knows their constitutional amendment defining marriage is now null and void, there’s no reason to expend political capital on removing it; this takes us back to election year politics that was previously mentioned.

Yet, Idaho's American Civil Liberties Union chapter said confusion could occur with letting this amendment remain idle on the books:

For example, in 2013, a sheriff in Kootenai County declared that the Boy Scouts of America promoted a lifestyle that violated the state's sodomy law. [Leo] Morales [acting executive director of ACLU-Idaho] said the sheriff incorrectly interpreted an unenforceable state law because it was still on the books, even though the Supreme Court banned laws that attempted to regulate or criminalize sexual activity among consenting adults in 2003.

At the same time, AP noted that the state has removed obsolete constitutional language before, notably the 1890 provision that stripped voting rights to anyone who promoted polygamy … in 1982.

So, for the folks in Idaho elated by the Obergefell decision, you’re probably going to have to wait as long as the social conservatives who want to re-argue gay marriage bans before the Supreme Court (again) until the language is removed from the state constitution; in other words, it could take a very, very long time.

Team Clinton: Yes, We're 'Worried' About Bernie

Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is, on average, roughly 40 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton in national polls, but that doesn’t mean Team Hillary isn’t taking him seriously as a competitor.

“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

“It's to be expected that Sanders would do well in a Democratic primary, and he’s going to do well in Iowa in the Democratic caucus.”

A new Quinnipiac University poll released last week found he doubled his share of Democratic supporters in Iowa in just seven weeks. Some polls in New Hampshire show Sanders less than 10 points behind Clinton.

Palmieri said Sanders's rise won't prompt a shift toward negative campaigning and that Sanders's strong crowds only underscore the differences in the campaigning tactics between the two campaigns.

“We don’t need to attack each other. He'll run his campaign, we'll run ours. The imperatives for us are different. We think what works for her, particularly in Iowa, is doing a lot of small events, staying a long time, being one of the last people, if not the last person, to leave the room. That works better for us right now,” she said.

While Sanders, as The Hill notes, has closed the margin a bit in recent polls—even beating Clinton among Democratic men in a June Granite State survey, she will most likely still be the Democrats’ nominee for president. Regardless, any competition she faces from the left will only help Republican contenders in the months ahead. 

Sen. Baldwin: First Amendment Applies To Institutions of Faith, ‘But I Don’t Think It Extends Far Beyond That’

Our friends at NewsBusters posted this little tidbit from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who said on the June 27 broadcast of Up with Steve Kornacki, that the First Amendment only applied to institutions of faith.  The discussion revolved around the Obergefell ruling from the Supreme Court, which said there is a constitutional right to gay marriage.  

Tammy Baldwin: “Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that. We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception. Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

Well, that simply isn’t the case. Of course, the free exercise clause applies to individuals. For goodness sake, just look at First Amendment law that involves members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that compulsory flag salutes were a violation of free speech and free exercise in the First Amendment; school officials had punished the students and their families, all members of Jehovah’s Witness, for this infraction.

At the same time, there are restrictions on the free exercise of religion. As the First Amendment Center wrote, “the Supreme Court has interpreted this clause so that the freedom to believe is absolute, but the ability to act on those beliefs is not.” As an example, they noted that an article of faith permitting human sacrifice probably would not be held as a right protected by the First Amendment. But the right for an employee to discuss his faith at work–to a certain degree–is legal, as long as he or she does not create a hostile work environment. Moreover, if a co-worker informs another that his or her religious discussions makes them uncomfortable, the person engaging in religious conversation should respect the request and stop talking about it.

Yet, even with respect to the recent gay marriage ruling, Baldwin seems to be unaware that religious exemptions for marriage-related business have rarely–if at all–been upheld by the courts, even in states with statutes similar to that of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Nevertheless, overall, this isn’t a proper reading of the First Amendment.

WSJ: By the Way, Rick Perry's Major Address on Race Was Excellent

Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) stumbles in 2012 are well known. Initially perceived to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, a series of embarrassing gaffes and misstatements forced him to exit the race much earlier than anyone anticipated. Currently, he’s polling in the low single-digits.

In Washington last week, however, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Perry wowed a crowd at a famous journalism center, in part by making a direct — and impassioned — pitch to African-Americans in a way other candidates simply have not:

The media continue to dismiss Republican Rick Perry’s presidential prospects even as they pretend that Democrat Bernie Sanders poses a serious threat to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Perry has a far better chance at becoming President than Mr. Sanders does, and last week the Texan gave the speech of the campaign so far.

At the National Press Club on Thursday, Mr. Perry delivered thoughtful, often moving, remarks about race and the Republican Party. (We reprint excerpts nearby.) The former Texas Governor doesn’t spare the GOP, Texans or Americans for historical offenses against African-Americans. He also scores his party for giving up on even trying to win support among African-Americans, a failure that he says has cost the GOP “our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all.”

Click through to watch some highlights from his remarks, with some added commentary. It's definitely worth a listen.

In any case, and more pressingly, is Perry not correct? After all, the Republican Party was formed, at least in part, to stop the spread of slavery westward into the new territories. Indeed, Lincoln said it best when, writing a friend in the Democratic Party shortly before taking the presidential oath of office, “You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us." Thus the point of Perry’s speech, I think, was to proudly recover and retell American history as it happened, and to remind his rivals to stand once again for the principles for which Lincoln exemplified. For too long, he intoned, Republicans have dismissed a whole segment of Americans simply because they were perceived to be “unwinnable.” This is wrongheaded thinking — and no way to run a Republican campaign, he said.

Perry’s words ring true for their own sake, of course. However, if the Republican Party wants to win the general election in 2016, all candidates running should remember recent history, too:

America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

This means that the Republican Party can no longer afford to be apathetic or averse to campaigning for every single vote. I therefore hope Perry's competitors get the message — and follow his example.

Watch the full clip of Perry’s remarks below:

South Carolina Senate Votes To Remove Confederate Flag

The South Carolina Senate has voted to take down the Confederate flag, which flies above the State House grounds in Columbia. Now, it's up for debate in the State House (via NYT):

The South Carolina Senate voted Monday to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House. The bipartisan proposal, which emerged after last month’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, was approved by a 37-to-3 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Senate has one remaining ratification vote, now virtually assured of success.

The debate will shift to the House of Representatives, which Republicans also dominate, where the timeline for — and tenor of — the debate remains less clear.

The Senate’s vote on Monday marked a resounding shift in South Carolina, where less than three weeks ago removing the Confederate battle flag from a memorial near the State House was viewed as politically impossible.

The killings at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, however, revived a debate that fractured the legislature about 15 years ago and yielded, at least in the Senate, quick action in the debate over a symbol revered by many whites but regarded as an offensive vestige of segregation and oppression by most blacks.

On Monday, with the desk of a slain member draped in black, the Senate defeated a series of amendments that would have undermined the bill, including one that would have allowed the battle flag to fly each year on Confederate Memorial Day. Later, in a dramatic roll call vote around 4 p.m., the Senate overwhelmingly voted in support of evicting the flag from the grounds of the State House, where it has flown for more than five decades.

The issue of removing the flag and placing it at the Soldier’s Monument­–a memorial commemorating the Confederate dead–was in stasis since 2000 when lawmakers agreed to move the Confederate flag to the memorial, but only by a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature, according to the Post and Courier. 

Is this a knee-jerk reaction? A solid majority of Americans see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, instead of racism. Moreover, on June 24, Nia-Malika Henderson reported that even some Democrats are cognizant of the fact that such swift action on the issue of the flag could “alienate” future allies, especially after the June 20 rally that was held to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds:

I appreciate the rally, but it has no impact on the legislative process," said state Sen. Darryl Jackson, a Democrat who helped hammer out the 2000 compromise. "The politics of the flag are the politics of the primary voter."

From his church pulpit on Sunday [June 21], Jackson urged patience on the flag issue, saying later that it could be interpreted as disrespectful to the dead to turn so quickly to politics.

"People are saying let's get some action now, but I don't want to alienate people I will need for a compromise," he said. "If we don't get a bi-partisan consensus, we will be fighting for the next 100 years."

There is a framework for such efforts. South Carolina lawmakers forged a bipartisan agreement this year on body camera legislation after the shooting death of Walter Scott by a white police office.

"This will not be done in a knee-jerk fashion," said Marlon Kimpson, a Democratic state representative. "I'm going to be in focus groups with business leaders and talking to constituents. The massacre opened up an opportunity but to build a super majority will require a lot of work."

Medicare Advocating a Change for End-of-Life Care

When the life of a loved one is coming to an end, it is reported that there isn’t a single specific point at which end-of-life care begins; it very much depends on the individual. End-of-life discussions are fundamental in ensuring the needs of both the ill and the loved one are met.

Now, Medicare is making advances to have these crucial discussions that will start paying for physicians to have these advanced-care planning conversations with patients. It's a new policy that could be released in the foreseeable future.

This has been a critical issue ever since the Obama administration tried to implement a policy that paid doctors to have private insurers to cover advanced-care conversations in 2010. It didn't pass. At the same time:

many states have passed laws making it easier to document end-of-life care goals in medical records, and in Congress, bipartisan bills in both the House and the Senate have called for physician reimbursement for such conversations. No bills have made it to floor votes, however.

Patient needs are still at the forefront of these discussions, especially since it's been reported that:

"Many patients in the ICU can't make decisions about their own care, surrogates often speak on their behalf and collaborate with the treating physician to determine treatment goals. But in many cases, they have no idea what the patient would want. Recent research shows that fewer than half of terminally ill patients have advance directives. And one study showed that discussions about end-of-life care are most often hampered by patients and their family members who don't want to talk about such plans."

Now, with Medicare's change at hand, an educated and sound recommendation is going to be readily available.

"many surrogates have no experience in making end-of-life decisions for someone else and struggle in that role, says Hutchison. Depressed and anxious over their loved one's illness, making decisions without a recommendation from the treating physician may be overwhelming, Hutchison argues. A physician's input can help family members, who have no medical background or training, to make decisions, but doctors should be open to other perspectives."

Audio: Bandler's Banter Podcast Episode 1

I will be hosting this podcast, Bandler's Banter, every week, and will also feature Daniel Davis and Brooke Carlucci. This podcast discusses the SCOTUS rulings, the Confederate flag and climate change.

White House: We Aren't Going to Comment on Murder of Kate Steinle By 7-Time Felon Illegal Alien

Speaking to reporters from the White House Monday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to issued comment on the murder of Kate Steinle, who was killed by a seven-time felon illegal alien last week in the sanctuary city of San Francisco. Her killer was deported five times before taking her life and admitted he went to San Francisco because he knew he'd be able to escape federal authorities thanks to sanctuary policies. 

"I can't speak to this specific case," Earnest said. "I'd refer you to DHS."

After refusing to issue comment on "this specific case," Earnest launched into an attack on Republicans for not passing President Obama's illegal immigration agenda.

Earnest also touted Obama's policy of "not tearing [illegal immigrant] families apart" while ignoring the fact Kate Steinle's family has been permanently torn apart by an illegal alien thanks to open border and lax enforcement policies at both the local and federal levels.

NRA: Don't Use Gay Marriage Ruling To Justify National Reciprocity On Concealed Carry

Across social media, there have been memes, blog posts, and articles about how the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges should be applied to national reciprocity regarding concealed carry permits. The day national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders becomes law of the land will be a great day for civil rights in this country. Yet, it is not; we still have to continue to fight for it. At the same time, the National Rifle Association is reminding gun owners that they shouldn’t view the Obergefell decision as a reason to carry their firearms in states that still don’t recognize their concealed carry permits. For starters, the Supreme Court hasn’t decided if carrying a loaded handgun in public* is a constitutional right.

…we strongly advise concealed carry license holders not to assume Obergefell provides them with the legal basis they need to carry without an in-state license in strongly anti-gun states such as Maryland, New Jersey, or New York. Doing so at this point would still subject the traveler to arrest and criminal prosecution.

This is so for a number of reasons, chief of which is that the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled squarely on the question of whether the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a loaded handgun in public, and if it does, whether states must recognize each other’s permits. The landmark cases of Heller and McDonald only concerned the question of handgun possession in the home.

Until the Supreme Court rules on the issue conclusively, certain reliably anti-gun jurisdictions can be counted on to exist in a state of denial and defiance. If states and lower courts can ignore a congressional statute like Firearm Owners’ Protection Act – and they do – they certainly can ignore arguments that the philosophical bases for interstate recognition of same-sex marriage compel interstate recognition of concealed carry permits.

One way to set up the legal battle to clarify the right to carry in public in all 50 states could come from the lawsuits from residents in “may issue” carry states over the “good” or “justifiable” need clauses. So far, the Supreme Court has rejected to hear arguments from petitions that directly challenge such statutes in Woollard v. Gallaghera Maryland-based lawsuit– (2013) and Drake v. Jerejian, which challenged New Jersey’s concealed carry process (2014). The plaintiff in the New Jersey case–John Drake–has two permits from Utah and Florida, which allows him to carry in 38 states, except for his home state. The Drake case also asked the question that the NRA wants to be clarified before the Court, which is “whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense.” I’m sure more lawsuits will appear before the Supreme Court–and I hope they do.

*I think it is a right, but until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, supporters of the Second Amendment must let the process work–and that process can take a long time.

Christie on Iran Deal: "This Is the Single Biggest Disaster" of Obama's Presidency

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Iran deal. The Obama administration, it seems, is hell-bent on reaching an agreement, notwithstanding protests from concerned congressional lawmakers and the state of Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry, for his part, believes the deal “could go either way” at this point, but Republicans are hoping it only goes one place: nowhere.

“This is the single biggest disaster in the seven years of the Obama administration,” Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said Monday morning on America’s Newsroom, who is officially running for president in 2016. “He is giving the largest sponsor of state-terrorism a glide-path to a nuclear weapon and a nuclear Middle East. It is wrong. He should walk away from the table.”

And yet, Christie said he believes some sort of accord will eventually be reached.

“I think he does [it] because he cares more about his legacy than anything else right now,” he added. “He cares about the two l’s: legacy and library.”

Unsurprisingly, however, Christie is not the only Republican raising concerns about an eventual deal.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), who sent a strongly-worded letter to the regime last winter reminding Iran's leaders that a nuclear agreement, green-lighted by the administration, would always be temporary and non-binding, explained yesterday on ABC News’ This Week why the deal is so lopsided — and unfavorable to the US.

"If we had anytime, anywhere inspections, if there was no sanctions relief until there was long-term demonstrable performance on Iran's part, if they fully answered all the past work they've done to weaponize their nuclear program, then that might be a better deal,” he said. “But that's not the deal we're going to reach.”

“It [the proposed deal] also doesn’t address the concessions that have already been made,” he continued. “Like letting them keep their underground fortified bunker, letting them keep their centrifuges and a stockpile of uranium, letting them keep their ballistic missile program, letting them keep their American hostages, and letting them continue to foment terrorism all around the world and destabilize the Middle East.”

Other Republican presidential candidates, meanwhile, are equally as nervous that a dangerous, sign-at-any-cost nuclear deal will soon and inevitably be brokered. Stay tuned for updates.

UK Labour Party Leadership Candidate Demands Police Action To Protect Abortion Clinics

One of the candidates to succeed Ed Miliband as Leader of the British Labour Party has tabled a motion in the House of Commons demanding police action to protect abortion clinics. Left-winger, Jeremy Corbyn MP, was one of seven Members of Parliament to back the move, which includes calls for a “buffer zone” outside clinics.

The buffer zones would give police the right to remove protesters when they believe their activities are preventing women from “accessing treatment… free from intimidation.” There would also be national guidelines for police, explaining the circumstances in which they can remove protesters.

The proposal was put before the House of Commons as an “Early Day Motion” (EDM), which does not have the force of legislation but is designed to pressure government. In this case the EDM was tabled by Diane Abbott MP, who is seeking the Labour nomination for Mayor of London.

The group said they were “deeply concerned” about the escalation of anti-abortion protests in the UK. They claimed the protests were “having a significant impact on women's ability to access safe, legal reproductive healthcare services and advice.”

The motion also claimed there had been one case of an abortion clinic closing as a result of the protests, although it did not give further information. It said a second unnamed clinic was unable to open as a result of “local fears about anti-abortion activity.” Anti-abortion campaigners were described as “threatening” and are accused of trying to “harass and film women.”

Support for the motion is not widespread among the 650 members of the House of Commons but winning the backing of a Labour Leadership candidate does lend credibility to the proposal. Mr Corbyn was considered an outsider when he entered the race but he now has the backing of the powerful Unite Trade Union. Unite is the Labour Party's biggest donor and has been accused of using its votes to push its members ahead in the party.

Mr Corbyn is no stranger to controversy, in 1999 he divorced his wife because she wanted to send their son Ben to a selective Grammar School rather than a local school. The school Corbyn favored was in a poor part of central London and had been identified as “failing” by inspectors.

He is also a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which wanted Britain to give up its nuclear deterrent during the Cold War. He has claimed in the past he could not be friends with anyone unless they were left-wing.

There are around 185,000 abortions every year in the UK, almost all of them are performed under Section C of The Abortion Act 1967. The provision allows abortions if there is a risk to the mental health of the mother should the pregnancy go ahead. Section C has been used to effectively roll out 'abortion on demand' despite the law have been intended to only allow medical reasons for the procedure.

If Corbyn becomes Labour Leader he would contest the 2020 General Election as the party's candidate to be Prime Minister. To become the Prime Minister he would need to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons, with the side effect that he would have the votes to push through whatever he wanted. The US Constitution was especially written to avoid placing this much power in one person's hands.

Illegal Immigrant Kills Woman in San Francisco; Chose City for 'Sanctuary' Policies

A horrifying story out of San Francisco: In broad daylight outside of Pier 14 this past Wednesday, 32-year-old Kathryn "Kate" Steinle was shot and killed by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported from the United States five times.

In an interview with an ABC affiliate, Sanchez said he kept returning to San Francisco because he knew there would be no effort to find and deport him. The city passed an ordinance in 1989 that prohibited officials from cooperating with immigration officials--meaning that San Francisco is a "sanctuary city."

ICE is now blaming San Francisco law enforcement for releasing Sanchez after drug charges against him were dropped. Sanchez had previously been convicted of seven felonies. Four of the seven were related to drugs.

Further, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says San Francisco had him in their custody earlier this year but failed to notify ICE when he was released.

"DHS records indicate ICE lodged an immigration detainer on the subject at that time, requesting notification prior to his release so ICE officers could make arrangements to take custody. The detainer was not honored," ICE said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Sanchez said in an interview that the shooting was an "accident" and that the shooting occurred while he was under the influence of pills he had discovered in a dumpster. He also said he felt "sorry for everybody."

Watch Reporters Embarrass Themselves By Allowing Hillary Clinton Staffers to Literally Rope Them Off

Over the weekend Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participated in the Gorham, New Hampshire Independence Day parade. She's been avoiding the press for months, but this time things were taken to a whole new level.

In order to avoid a "chaotic" situation, Team Hillary asked reporters to walk behind a rope where they were corralled by staffers holding bold ends while proceeding down the street.

Look, I understand a need for some type of protocol, but this is ridiculous. Not because the Clinton campaign came up with the idea, but because reporters actually stood in a rope circle while back peddling down the street during a parade. So. Embarrassing. The dignity of the press has reached a new low. 

H/T Ed Morrissey

NYT: Why, It Looks Like Obamacare is Causing Massive Rate Hikes

Here is the New York Times' front page on Independence Day, when few Americans were paying close attention to current affairs:

Two stories on "progressive" welfare states collapsing under the crush of reckless, unsustainable profligacy -- and one on Obamacare's double-digit rate increases:

Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives...Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said: “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

"It's working," they insist, as the 'Affordable' Care Act slams Americans with higher costs.  President Obama, who continues to claim that his unpopular law is surpassing his wildest expectations, has nothing but anti-reality tantrums to offer:

President Obama, on a trip to Tennessee this week, said that consumers should put pressure on state insurance regulators to scrutinize the proposed rate increases. If commissioners do their job and actively review rates, he said, “my expectation is that they’ll come in significantly lower than what’s being requested.” The rate requests, from some of the more popular health plans, suggest that insurance markets are still adjusting to shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act. It is far from certain how many of the rate increases will hold up on review, or how much they might change. But already the proposals, buttressed with reams of actuarial data, are fueling fierce debate about the effectiveness of the health law.

Alas, Obama speeches cannot alter the laws of economics. But wait, the Times notes, there is a way for consumers to mitigate the effects of huge 2016 premium increases: People can go through the headache of dropping their current plans in pursuit of arrangements with less steep hikes -- which, in turn, could threaten access to doctors and care:

A study of 11 cities in different states by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that consumers would see relatively modest increases in premiums if they were willing to switch plans. But if they switch plans, consumers would have no guarantee that they can keep their doctors. And to get low premiums, they sometimes need to accept a more limited choice of doctors and hospitals.

Keep your plan, keep your doctor, etc. Please recall that the president and his allies repeatedly pledged that everybody's rates would drop under Obamacare. Comprehensively, spectacularly false. Why the huge spikes? Simple cause and effect:

In their submissions to federal and state regulators, insurers cite several reasons for big rate increases. These include the needs of consumers, some of whom were previously uninsured; the high cost of specialty drugs; and a policy adopted by the Obama administration in late 2013 that allowed some people to keep insurance that did not meet new federal standards...Insurers with decades of experience and brand-new plans underestimated claims costs...The rate requests are the first to reflect a full year of experience with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards that require insurers to accept all applicants, without charging higher prices because of a person’s illness or disability...In financial statements filed with the government in the last two months, some insurers said that their claims payments totaled not just 80 percent, but more than 100 percent of premiums. And that, they said, is unsustainable.

Behold, a peek at Oregon's approved -- i.e., finalized -- 2016 premium increases:

Costs are jumping drastically because Obamacare's provisions are driving a price spiral, fueled by an older, sicker risk pool. It's almost as if the law's critics were right. About almost everything.

Greek Socialists Have Humiliated British Conservatives

British politicians have always been renowned experts at 'gobbing off' about the European Union. The sport has a few simple rules: rant a lot with no real desire to achieve anything. It's a sport that has been the mainstay of the Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, since he took office in 2010.

The latest examples are his attempts to loudly ask for almost nothing in negotiations with the European Commission. Today, Cameron's strategic aim of making EU nationals wait a little bit longer before they claim generous taxpayer funded welfare checks has been shown up for the joke it is by the Greeks.

Yesterday's vote in Greece demonstrates there is a real alternative to the Brussels takeover. As such, Britain, like every European country, does have a choice, if only its leaders had the vision to abandon this failed EU project.

Whatever the long-term impact of the Greek vote there must be an examination of the mechanism for it leaving the Euro. Under the existing treaties there is no way out. To create one would break the “ever closer union” commitment, long seen as the central pillar of the European 'project' and something British Conservatives have tried and failed for decades to destroy.

Yet a tiny country and it's Socialist government have just delivered weakened "ever closer union" in one hastily organised vote. If Greece leaves the Euro altogether it will be a huge game changer for Britain.

For years Eurocrats have talked about a “two speed Europe”, the problem with this is it implies in the end every country will end up in the same place: under the thumb of a powerful socialist Brussels. If Greece leaves the Euro “two speed Europe” is dead, instead a “two system Europe” would have to develop.

This would mean Germany, France and the Benelux countries effectively becoming one country with the Euro as its currency. Places like Britain would have some sort of trade deal, and maybe even continued membership of a far looser and less dictatorial European Union.

Either way the Greeks have come up with far more options for Britain than David Cameron has. Not least because they had the guts to call for a referendum and then campaign against the EU. Cameron's plan is to use the referendum to confirm Britain’s membership of the EU: heaping an historic defeat on British Conservatism (despite Cameron being Conservative Leader).

...Greeks Have Been Treated Badly...

Greece's bravery can only partially mitigate it's difficult position though. The Euro is destroying the country but Greeks would still rather eat rats than leave any club of Western European countries. Two of their nearest neighbors are the Muslim countries of Albania and Turkey, and despite decades of peace they feel threatened.

The Greeks have also had a bad press for not “paying their bills”, although this is pretty unfair. They have been pushed into a monetary union that does not include fiscal transfers. So their monetary policy is being set to please Germany, but the only thing they are given to lighten the load is loans.

The US uses things like welfare, Medicaid and Medicare to help ensure poorer states like Alabama do not experience economic problems as a result of having the same currency as Wall Street.

Washington, D.C. does not expect poorer states to take out loans to pay for these services, they expect the richer states to pay through federal taxes. If Germany is going to massively benefit from the Euro, why are they complaining that Greece deserves some compensation for the boom in Northern Europe. Perhaps German reticence to pay for Greece is proof the Euro is a really bad idea.

So Greece is in ruins: unemployment is running at 25 percent, the country cannot pay its bills and its economy will continue to tank as long as it remains in the Euro. But unlike Britain, Greece is fighting its corner, despite being small and having a lack of political clout.

Imagine if British Conservative leaders had the guts the Greeks have shown? They might actually get the concessions they want rather than just capitulate. They would forget about the minor dispute over access to welfare and start to talk about real reform. If the EU tried to ignore them they would seriously talk about walking out, and when the world's fifth largest economy starts to get belligerent other countries listen.

The fact is the British Conservative leadership has not done this, and so far look unlikely to start. As we stand today Greek Socialists have done more to deliver British Conservative aims than the British Conservative government has. Pretty shameful really. Perhaps it's time to stop being wary Greeks who bear gifts!

Party in New Hampshire: Romney Hosts Rubio and Christie

GOP presidential candidates Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had some fun over the weekend at Mitt Romney's Lake Winnipesaukee home in New Hampshire. 

On Friday night, though, Romney had the Christies as overnight guests. But they weren't the only non-family members in the house. Fellow GOP hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and his wife, Jeanette, also joined the Romneys for Friday night's slumber party.

"Governor Romney heard that his friends, Governor Christie and Senator Rubio, along with their families, would be in Wolfeboro over the July 4th holiday weekend. He and Mrs. Romney opened their home to their friends and look forward to celebrating America’s birthday," said an aide to Romney, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

Both presidential candidates were in New Hampshire campaigning and participating in the famous Wolfeboro Independence Day parade.

Christie, who endorsed Romney during his 2012 campaign, just announced his run for president last week. Rubio was endorsed by Romney for the U.S. Senate back in 2010 during his run against Charlie Crist and announced his candidacy for president in April.