ICYMI: Gun Owners Shred NY SAFE Act Forms on Registration Deadline Day

Governor Andrew Cuomo found defiance instead of compliance this week in New York as gun owners showed him just what they think of his "SAFE" Act. Tuesday marked the deadline for gun owners to register their "assault weapons" under the anti-gun legislation. But, they had a slightly different way of marking the occasion:

Roughly 70 opponents of the law who gathered outside the Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building in downtown Buffalo late Tuesday afternoon to shred State Police registration forms for assault weapons.

So, why is this law so unpopular? Well, barring the fact that "assault weapon" is merely a political term, the SAFE Act has already resulted in 1,200 felony charges. Turns out New Yorkers don't like legislation that essentially turns them from law-abiding citizens using their right to bear arms one day, and criminals the next.

“They have been shredding the Constitution for years,” said Rus Thompson, who led Tuesday’s rally. “You shred the Constitution, we’ll shred any form you want us to fill out. They can’t arrest a million people. What are they going to do?”

“Nobody is going to comply with this,” added Tim Swedenhjelm, a gun owner and a 30-year range safety officer from Springville. “We don’t call them ‘assault rifles’ because they’re not ‘assault rifles.’ Assault rifles are automatic weapons. These are not automatic weapons. When I hear politicians call them assault rifles, you know they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

It seems not even law enforcement is on the governor's side. Sheriff Timothy B. Howard of Erie County told The Buffalo News that, even though officers are required to report any individuals who don't register their firearms, his deputies aren't exactly going out of their way to do so:

I am not encouraging them to do it. At the same time, their own consciences should be their guide. I am not forcing my conscience on them. That is a decision they should make.”

Earth to Cuomo: You don't respect people's rights, they don't respect you.

Obamacare's "Unfolding Fiscal Disaster"

Obamacare is more than just a new entitlement. Charles Blahous of economic policy think tank Economics 21 writes about just how large of an impact that its provisions will have on the economy in the future. Spending on Obamacare's coverage expansion is immediately a massive entitlement expansion, and will only get worse.

Blahaus contrasts Obamacare with our other major entitlement programs and finds that ACA spends more than all but Medicare, and does so much faster:

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After these initial rollouts, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs grew far faster than originally envisioned, sometimes due to subsequent legislation, sometimes due to unanticipated healthcare cost growth. It wouldn’t be surprising for either factor to affect the ACA, which would be even more problematic for reasons given below.

When new enrollment figures were released last week, the national discussion focused on whether the ACA is fulfilling its coverage expansion goals. The largely unwritten and more important story, however, is that the ACA is rapidly becoming a colossal fiscal disaster as enrollment proceeds heedless of the concurrent collapse of the law’s financing structure.

With the Obamacare rollout largely solidified and Republicans likely unable to make any major dent in the legislation until after the 2016 election - and everything might hinge on a win there - this will continue to be a drain on the federal budget, and just one more massive health entitlement.

If the rosy economic and long term health projections don't pan out, spending on coverage expansion is going to look much worse.

PETA Uses Children to Shame First Lady for Using Real Eggs in WH Easter Egg Roll

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are disappointed with First Lady Michelle Obama. Why? Because she is using real chicken eggs Monday in the 136th White House Easter Egg Roll.

Who better to address this horrendous decision than three adorable children who seem to know just want to say…

PETA is known for using a variety of tactics to promote their message. These include suggesting to turn serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s house into a vegan restaurant, using Martin Luther King Jr. day to promote the rights of abused animals, and giving books full of graphic images of mutilated cows to elementary school children.

It is very unlikely Michelle Obama will take PETA’s advice and use plastic eggs in the roll. After all, she is using the event to promote her Let’s Move! initiative, which supports consuming eggs as part of a healthy breakfast.

Paying Attention Now? Gosnell Movie Campaign Reaches $1 Million After MSM Ignore Gruesome Abortion Story

Shortly after becoming the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever on Indiegogo, the Gosnell Movie project spearheaded by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney to expose late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his 40 year history of filthy abortion clinics and butchering of babies, has just reached $1 million in funds. That means they are nearly halfway to their goal of completing a movie about America's most prolific serial killer that the mainstream media all but ignored.

By reaching the $1 million mark, the Gosnell campaign also becomes the largest non-celebrity film on any crowdfunding website. McElhinney reacted to this incredible feat:

"We now have 11,000 people who through small contributions are sending a message to the media and Hollywood that they are tired of seeing the news being suppressed to protect uncomfortable truths."

To make a contribution to this impressive and important campaign, click here.

Kansas Students and Parents Not Thrilled About Michelle Obama Speaking at High School Graduation Ceremony

An invitation to Michelle Obama to speak at the Topeka Unified School District 501 graduation ceremony by the district has some parents and students crying foul. The First Lady's appearance caused the district to combine all five schools' graduation ceremonies into one mega-ceremony, and may force limitations on the number of tickets that can be distributed to friends and families. A petition drive has been started to request that the district reconsider their plans about the combined ceremony, or have Michelle Obama speak at a separate event from the graduation. The First Lady was invited to speak on the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that struck down segregation in schools.

Parents are concerned that the First Lady's visit would overshadow the fact that their children are graduating from high school, and the individual schools are upset with the fact that their unique graduation traditions will be set aside for the combined ceremony.

"I'm a single mother who has raised him for 18 years by myself," said Tina Hernandez, parent of Topeka High School senior Dauby Knight. "I've told him education is the only way out. This is one of the biggest days of their lives. They've taken the glory and shine from the children and put on Mrs. Obama. She doesn't know our kids."

Taylor Gifford, a senior at Topeka High School, started the petition drive not for political reasons, but because she is the oldest of eight children and is worried that her siblings and relatives would be shut out of the ceremony due to the new ticket limits. Graduates in years past have not been subjected to a ticket limit and were free to bring unlimited friends and family members to the ceremony. While no formal ticket limit has been set, families were advised last week to plan on receiving four tickets.

Gifford said her initial reaction to the news was excitement, saying she was "freaking out" about the prospect of the first lady speaking at graduation. When rumors of limited tickets surfaced, Gifford felt like the focus was being shifted from the students to Obama.

"People think it's a great opportunity, but it's the graduates' time. They are getting that diploma that they worked so hard for," Gifford said. "Families are feeling that they are being cheated out of the loved ones special day."

This is definitely a tricky situation, and it's easy to see where both sides are coming from. While the students are lucky that a figure like Michelle Obama is willing to speak at their graduation ceremony, it appears that this is creating a logistical nightmare for parents and students--who should be the main focus of the event. High school graduation is, for some of these students, the biggest event of their lives so far, and represents a major accomplishment that should be celebrated with as many people as possible. I think the obvious solution would be to revert to the original plan of separate graduation ceremonies for each school (meaning that graduates would be able to invite as many people as they wish), with the First Lady speaking at a different event that graduates can choose to attend.

Author and Terror Expert: We Are Less Safe Than a Year Ago

Runners will take their marks Monday at the start of the 2014 Boston Marathon, no doubt with last year’s cruel memories still fresh in their minds. Since Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev exploded two pressure cooker bombs at the finish line in 2013, killing three people and injuring almost 300 others, can participants feel any safer running the route this time around? Author and terror expert Robert Spencer thinks the answer is a tragic "no." Tuesday I had the chance to speak with Spencer about his new book, Arab Winter Comes to America. In both his book and during our conversation, he gave our country a poor grade for its efforts to stop terrorism. His harshest critique for the current state of Americans’ safety, was that political correctness under the Obama administration has left the United States vulnerable to attacks.

It’s been a year since the Boston Bombing. Would you say we are any safer in America?

“We are less safe, because the Boston bombing was a massive failure on the part of the FBI. They were told Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam. The Russians told us they were jihad. If the FBI had been able to investigate, maybe they’d look a little harder and could have thwarted the bombing.They didn’t find anything, so they stopped the investigation. [...] Islam stopped being mentioned in counterterror training.”

Would you say the Boston bombing victims were also victims of political correctness?

“Absolutely. 100 percent.”

How easy is it for a terrorist to enter our country and become an American citizen?

“As easy as saying it to me just now was.”

In a piece he penned at Jihad Watch, Spencer noted that just this week Somali Muslims protest counter-terror efforts in Kenya. He noted that, while Kenyan police might be cracking down too hard on Muslims after recent bombings, these charges of police injustice are similar to charges Muslim groups have made in the U.S. — that the FBI and police target Muslims indiscriminately:

So we see Muslims ostensibly opposing jihad terrorism, and yet protesting against counter-terror efforts in the U.S., Israel, Kenya and elsewhere. One might almost get the impression that these charges of brutality and disproportion are always leveled against any counter-jihad action, as a tactic to clear away all obstacles before the advancing jihad.

Spencer wondered how the US could stand to allow radical protesters within our borders.

“This is nothing short of grotesque. What kind of people are these allowed into our country?”

How many “extreme” Muslims would you say are in the US?

“There’s no telling - the situation is so fluid.”

Another example of someone with radical Islamist views who wreaked havoc on our country, was Nidal Malik Hasan. Hasan, who was a major in the United States Army, had touted his extreme views prior to murdering 13 people, yet our government did not act:

The US was waging a "war on Islam", Nidal Hasan explained to fellow graduate students at a military medical college in Maryland, before mounting a defence of Osama bin Laden and endorsing suicide bombers.

As his disgusted audience "erupted", he was halted by their lecturer after just two minutes. Yet two years later Hasan, still a member of the Army he had denounced, would violently conclude his demonstration.

What does one have to do before he or she is denied rights in our country?

“You’re innocent until proven guilty. But this (Hasan terrorist act) is an example of a politically correct culture, where’s there’s Islamophobia in the media. This could have been a career ender for them if they reported it. Career suicide.”

Media bias is something you talk about in your book. What if the Boston bombing had been carried out by Christian extremists? Would there be a difference in how the media covered it?

“It would’ve been a huge thing. They would’ve started an investigation of what’s going on in churches.”

What are a few of the unanswered questions about the Boston bombers?

“What are the connections of the Boston bombers to the Chechen jihad? Did they receive training? If so, who did they receive training from? How were they able to elude police, throw bombs back?”

The answers to those questions likely lie behind the dangerous veil of political correctness.

Keystone Pipeline Delayed Again

Yesterday the Obama administration delayed the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, once again. This time, the review period was extended, pushing back a potential decision until after the November elections.

Of course this is not the first delay the pipeline has faced. Back in November of 2011 the administration announced that they wouldn’t have a final decision until after the 2012 elections. Well I hate to tell you guys, but that was a year and a half ago! You are really late.

The State Department said they needed more time to review the public comments and to assess the impact of the pending lawsuit in Nebraska that could change the proposed route of the pipeline. Roughly 2.5 million comments were submitted to the State Department for review. Not shockingly, the department did not provide a specific date they expect to finish the review.

Of course the environmental lobby is loving this. But supporters of the pipeline are not going to sit by and let President Obama get away with this.

In criticizing the delay, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said: "Here's the single greatest shovel-ready project in America — one that could create thousands of jobs right away — but the President simply isn't interested."

He added: "Apparently radical activists carry more weight than Americans desperate to get back on the job."

President Obama has said he will make the final decision on pipeline construction based on the national interest. Let���s hope that creating more jobs and adding a new source of energy for the country will be enough to convince the president, and not is green allies.

There are plenty of democrats who support the pipeline.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who faces a tough re-election bid in November, said "today's decision by the Administration amounts to nothing short of an indefinite delay of the Keystone Pipeline."

Another democrat friend of the pipeline is Heidi Heitkamp of South Dakota.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., one of 11 Senate Democrats who signed a letter to Obama seeking a specific timeframe for a Keystone decision, expressed frustration with the latest delay.

"It's absolutely ridiculous that this well-over-five-year-long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time," she said.

Mr. Obama, do you not see that this is one issue that has truly united the party. You always talk of bipartisanship, but when the parties work together you ignore it and continue to delay a great project. I wonder if we will even have an answer before the 2016 elections. Sorry, I am a bit pessimistic lately.

Ouch: College Students Give Obama a Cold Reception in Pennsylvania

The president's speeches may need to be accompanied by a laugh track from now on, considering the crickets he received at his appearance in Community College of Allegheny County, in Oakdale, Pa., on Wednesday. Although he tried to tout his new spending program, both Obama's talking points and attempts at humor didn't go over so well:

At the end, when the president walked back from the podium to smile and wave at the roughly 60 people in the bleachers 20 feet behind him, he faced a unfriendly wall of faces. The White House video of the bleacher’s front rank shows three men with their hands crossed, one with his hands stuck in his pockets and one who let his arms fall by his sides.

Hm, I guess not all millennials are as enthralled with the 'Hope and Change' president as they were in 2008. The community college students standing behind the president weren't the only ones who were unimpressed:

Some of Obama’s applause lines fell so flat that no one is heard to respond, not even among the main audience, which was padded with his political supporters.

“I mean, there’s been great progress in this area. You’ve earned a great nickname — ‘Roboburgh’ — because you’ve got high-tech plants and workplaces that are adding jobs faster than workers can fill them,” Obama said, to silence.

His punchlines were just as popular:

The White House’s transcript of Obama’s speech includes the laugh lines that few of the almost 300 attendees laughed at.

“Hello, Allegheny County! (Applause.) Joe and I decided it was time for a guys’ trip. (Laughter.) Actually, Michelle and Jill wanted us out the house. (Laughter.) So we decided to take a little road trip,” says the transcript, even though the video shows the laughs were scattered and muted.

Sounds like the joke's on him. Watch more of the painful footage below:

Global Study of 40 Countries: 56 Percent Say Abortion is "Unacceptable"

I must say this is a remarkable feat of data collection. The Pew Research Center asked more than 40,000 people from 40 different countries around the world their opinions on seven moral issues, ranging from infidelity to birth control. The graph below shows the median answers respondents gave on each topic. As you might expect, extramarital affairs were widely perceived as the least morally acceptable behavior/issue on the list; contraception was the most:

 photo moralissue_zps7fe65311.png

Let’s analyze just the issue of abortion. Globally, a sizeable majority (56 percent) find these kinds of life-ending procedures unacceptable, while a plurality (15 percent) say they are. However, digging into the data a little deeper, the median responses from each respective country were far more interesting. According to the numbers, in the U.S. alone 49 percent of respondents said abortion was not acceptable while just 17 percent said it was. (Twenty-three percent -- shockingly -- responded that abortion wasn’t a moral issue at all).

So while generally speaking Western European and North American countries are more inclined to support abortion rights, according to the researchers, anti-abortion sentiment in the United States is strong. There were also zero countries on the list in which more than 50 percent of respondents said abortion was morally acceptable, although some countries came perilously close to that threshold.

Follow the link above to examine more of Pew's findings; there's a lot of data to digest.

Republican Governors Hit Obama Administration on Medicare Advantage Rates

In a new poll out yesterday we see that Americans are becoming less trusting of President Obama, and it seems there may be a new reason for many to worry about his honesty. At least three major governors are willing to step up and call out the president for his lies.

Governors Rick Perry, Rick Scott and Bobby Jindal all authored a letter together to the president about his latest act of political theatre. The Obama administration recently announced that the Medicare Advantage rates would experience a slight pay bump next year. But according to several insurance analysts, plan rates are expected to drop as much as 3.5 percent.

In their letter, the governors wrote, “This is on top of the 6 percent cut to fiscal year 2014 payments. Collectively, these cuts will significantly harm America’s seniors.”

Medicare Advantage is the private plan that offers Medicare benefits. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced last week that 2015 reimbursement rates would increase by .4 percent for Medicare Advantage. This announcement went against previous plans to cut funds to Medicare Advantage. This program provides coverage to almost 30 percent of all Medicare recipients.

If the planned cuts had actually gone into effect, it was expected that seniors would face premium increases and benefit reductions of $35 to $75 per month.

In their letter, the governors called on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work with Congress in order to prevent any plan cuts. It is expected that this current “pardon” for the Medicare Advantage program will be short lived.

Hopefully the governors’ letter will have some sort of impact on the way policymaking goes in the future. Perhaps democrats will learn that protecting the elderly community is not an option. Their benefits need to be protected.

ABC Refers to Chelsea Clinton's Pregnancy as American "Royal" Baby

Chelsea Clinton announced yesterday that she is expecting her first child with her husband Marc. While the majority of reactions to this news were positive, ABC took things to a whole other level when Good Morning America host Bianna Golodryga proclaimed that Americans now get to look forward to the birth of "their own royal, or, rather, presidential baby."

CBS had similar rhetoric, although stopped short of equating the birth of Bill and Hillary's first grandchild with the birth of the future King of England. Prince George of Cambridge is third in line to the throne and will become king following the death or abdication of his father, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Chelsea Clinton's baby, despite having a former U.S. president and Secretary of State as grandparents, is not assured of any kind of power.

By comparison, George Bush's daughter Jenna Bush Hager's pregnancy announcement was widely ignored by the mainstream media, despite also belonging to a family political dynasty.

Chelsea Clinton's baby is due later this year.

Glenn Beck Announces Big Movie Production Plans

Conservative radio and television host Glenn Beck will soon be making his mark in the film industry—and he’s already developing three original stories that will be made into movies.

“Everybody thinks they know who I am because of my stint on Fox — that was two years of my life,” Beck said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m much more into culture than I am into politics, and that’s where I intend on making my stand.”

Nearly three years after leaving Fox News, the controversial conservative radio host and media entrepreneur is ramping up a film division at Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of his popular radio show and digital media operation TheBlaze. Beck, 50, tells THR he has been refurbishing The Studios at Las Colinas, a 72,000-square-foot facility in Irving, Texas, where such films asJFK and RoboCop and TV shows including Prison Break andWalker, Texas Ranger have been shot. "We're getting it ready for some big plans," he says of the property, which he purchased in June.

Beck says he is developing three original stories as theatrical films -- one set in ancient history, one in modern history and a third he considers "faith-based" -- and has optioned several other ideas, some of which could be adapted into VOD features. He adds that he has purchased rights to his 2008 best-seller The Christmas Sweater back from Sony and will turn the story into a movie for television or theatrical release.

The Christmas Sweater is a semi-fictionalized recounting of a 12-year-old Beck celebrating his last Christmas with his mother before she died. He says his later real-life problems with drugs and alcohol (he's been sober since 1994) can be traced back to that Christmas.

"The meaning of The Christmas Sweater is that there are second chances," says Beck. "It is based not only on my childhood but a dream that I had as an adult after I sobered up."

While big plans are clearly in the works, it was too soon for Beck to discuss specifics, such as who will be involved in producing the films and which artists will end up telling the “great stories that aren’t typical.”

What is clear, however, is that he’s actively veering away from politics with this new endeavor. “We're beginning to agree that Republicans and Democrats suck -- they've built this machine to grind people into the ground. I hate this stuff,” Beck told The Hollywood Reporter. “I hate politics. I hate politicians and I feel like I'm wasting my life. Don't we all know what's happening? George W. Bush was taking us down a road, and Barack Obama is taking us down that same road. What difference does it make? I don't want to waste my life anymore."

Report: Chicago's Top Cop Cooking the Books on 'Declining' Crime Rate

Since the beginning of 2014 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy have been touting a declining crime rate in the Windy City, but according to a new report by Chicago Magazine, they may be cooking the books.

"City leaders manipulated crime statistics to create the appearance of a rapidly decreasing rate of crime."

Last weekend in Chicago, 36 people were shot over a two day period.

At least 36 people were shot in Chicago, four of them fatally, in as many hours over the weekend, with more than half of the shootings occurring over a half-day period stretching into early Sunday.

Officers responded to at least 27 incidents, starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the West Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side involving an attack that left a 17-year-old girl dead and two other people wounded, police said. There were also fatal shootings in the South Shore neighborhood Friday night and the Washington Park neighborhood early Sunday, both on the South Side.

It looks like it's going to be another bloody summer in the city with some of the strictest gun control law in the county.

Poll: Only 4% of U.S. Adults are Newly Insured, Half Choose Obamacare Alternative

Only four percent of Americans are newly insured this year, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. Even more interesting, is the fact that nearly half of the newly insured chose to get their insurance outside of the Obamacare exchanges:


These findings are based on interviewing with more than 20,000 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking from March 4-April 14. Gallup asked those who have health insurance if their policy is new for 2014, and if so, whether they had insurance last year and if they got their new insurance through a federal or state health exchange.

Overall, 11.8% of U.S. adults say they got a new health insurance policy in 2014. One-third of this group, or 4% nationally, say they did not have insurance in 2013. Another 7.5% got a new policy this year that replaced a previous policy. The rest either did not respond or were uncertain about their previous insurance status.

The key figure is the 4% who are newly insured in 2014, which most likely represents Americans' response to the individual mandate requirement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This estimate of the newly insured broadly aligns with the reduction Gallup has seen in the national uninsured rate from 2013 to the first days of April 2014. However, the calculation of the newly insured does not take into account those who may have been insured in 2013 but not in 2014.

The ACA envisioned that the new healthcare exchanges would be the main place where uninsured Americans would get their insurance this year, but it appears that a sizable segment of the newly insured Americans used another mechanism. These sources presumably include employee policies, Medicaid, and other private policies not arranged through exchanges.

Interesting. So when is Obama's vision of his law providing healthcare for millions of uninsured Americans supposed to come to fruition? It's seem even when the White House makes something mandatory, extends the deadline for months, and fines individuals for not complying, it still can't seem to get the result intended.

Surprise: Another Major Hillary Donor Pleads Guilty to Illegal Fundraising Charges


I say "another" because this is the second such guilty plea in the span of five weeks. First, the latest development:


A wealthy hotel executive and Democratic fundraiser who supported Hillary Clinton for president pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he secretly funneled more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three unnamed candidates and coached someone to lie about it. An informant caught Sant Singh Chatwal on tape in 2010 explaining that he believed his illegal fundraising bought him access to people in power. Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system." Chatwal entered the plea to evading contribution limits and witness tampering in federal court in Brooklyn as part of a plea deal...Court papers allege that between 2007 and 2011, Chatwal used his employees, business associates and contractors who worked on his hotels to collect contributions from straw donors in Queens, Long Island and elsewhere. He then arranged to pay the donors back, a violation of the election laws. As part the scheme, an unnamed business associate submitted a bill to Chatwal for $104,745 in 2011 for purported work done for one of Chatwal's companies. Prosecutors allege that $69,000 of the total actually was reimbursement for money the associate had raised via straw donors.


In a moment of candor, caught on tape, this guy explained that throwing stacks of money at powerful politicians is the "only way to buy them, get into the system." Without your checkbook, "nobody will even talk to you," he lamented. Really? Even within the party that routinely prattles about the "corrosive influence of money in politics," and slanders Republican donors? Perish the thought. At first, I thought I'd read about Mr. Chatwal's illegal conduct back in March. But then I realized that was a story about a different deep-pocketed Clinton contributor who admitted to breaking campaign finance laws:


A major Democratic donor pleaded guilty on Monday to funneling millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations to federal and local politicians, including an unnamed 2008 presidential candidate believed to be Hillary Clinton...According to prosecutors, Thompson funded a $600,000 shadow campaign “in coordination with and in support for a federal candidate for president of the United States.” The charges did not name the candidate. Last September, the Washington Post reported that Thompson allegedly paid a marketing executive “more than $608,000 to hire ‘street teams’ to distribute posters, stickers, and yard signs beginning in February 2008 to help raise Clinton’s profile during her primary battle with then-Sen. Barack Obama.”


And while we're on the subject, how about one more? I don't think there's been any definitive connection proven between Hillary Clinton and this criminal donor just yet, but he's certainly been pumping gravy into the correct political party's coffers:


The co-owner of a luxury car dealership in La Jolla has been fined $80,000 for funneling illegal contributions to the 2012 campaigns of San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis and ex-Mayor Bob Filner, the city's Ethics Commission announced. In an agreement with the commission, Marc Chase, 52, co-owner of Symbolic Motor Car Co., admitted that he laundered money from Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura into the mayoral campaigns of Dumanis and Filner. Azano was a major customer of Chase's company. Chase served as a "straw" donor to hide Azano's name. Dumanis was defeated in the primary. Filner was elected mayor in the November runoff. Chase laundered about $165,000 into the campaigns, as well as to the county Democratic party, according to the commission. Election law forbids contributions from foreign nationals.


But what's most important to remember is that the "un-American" Koch brothers are "trying to buy America."

When Economic Conservatives Come Out Against Tax Breaks

The U.S. tax code is an overcomplicated mess. Despite most Americans feeling like it's pretty easy to do, each taxpayer takes an average of 13 hours to do their taxes. This is highlighted by a chart from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, based on Joint Economic Committee on Taxation data, on the number of temporary or expiring tax provisions in the code:

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The conservative Club For Growth, a pro-economy advocacy organization, may come out against renewing these tax breaks. Former Congressman Chris Chocola, who is now the President of the Club For Growth, has said that they might score votes for temporary tax cuts as negative votes:

This is all a mistake. Congress needs to clean up the tax code and lower marginal rates across the board, but tax-extender legislation delays any serious reform. Congress should let the extenders expire permanently, and the Club for Growth, the free-market organization I run, intends to oppose the package. If a vote occurs, we'll likely include it on our annual congressional scorecard, which goes out to more than 100,000 of our members.

Many tax extenders are government spending disguised as tax breaks, such as a three-year depreciation for racehorses. Others amount to a kind of earmark: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) just added the credit for Broadway plays. Tax-extender legislation is also the occasion for campaign contributions, as lobbyists donate to ensure their special treatment continues. Recently, a reporter tweeted a picture of the Senate Finance Committee markup of the tax extenders bill. The room was packed. It filled up so quickly that some lobbyists had to watch the proceedings in the hallway on their iPads.

There's widespread disagreement on what the Congressional Budget Office has characterized as "spending through the tax code," which Chocola notes here is "spending disguised as tax breaks." Jeff Sessions took issue recently with the definition, saying that "when you allow a person to keep money that they earn... I don't believe that's spending by the United States government." The Heritage Foundation's J.D. Foster has called the elimination of tax expenditures as a "third wave of tax hikes."

Chocola has aligned the Club For Growth against these temporary tax breaks, however, and deigned a lot of them as "spending through the tax code." The Club For Growth joins other center-right organizations as standing against many of these temporary tax cuts. Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Tax Foundation have both previously joined the fight against these temporary tax breaks.

Chocola's introduction to his WSJ op-ed lays out some of the more egregious tax cuts in the temporary extenders legislation:

A $250-a-year subsidy for those who commute to work using New York's "bike share" program. Breaks for Broadway plays like "Of Mice and Men" starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, up to $15 million per production. A $71 million benefit for Nascar facilities. Billions in credits for the wind-energy industry.

And the CRFB laid out a breakdown of where these tax breaks are going:

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Gosnell Movie Exposing Late-Term Abortionist Becomes Most Successful Indiegogo Film Ever

First, the gruesome story was ignored by the media. Then, the crowdfunding website Kickstarter refused to host a movie about it. Now, all those obstacles are in the past. Filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, along with producer Magdalena Segieda, launched a crowdfunding campaign to expose the radical late-term abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell just a few weeks ago, yet they've already made movie history:

Gosnell, a made for TV project on the doctor who is America's most prolific serial killer, has just smashed through the $900,000 mark - overtaking the previous record holder which had raised $898,000.

The need for this film is understated. Gosnell's grotesque actions in his dirty abortion clinics would make anyone's stomach turn. He was convicted in the deaths of three babies born alive and acquitted in the death of a fourth. Shamefully, the mainstream media decided to not treat this story as headline news, perhaps because the details would taint the precious "right" to abortion. While restlessly reporting on the Republican "war on women," they missed the real war on women being waged in Gosnell's "House of Horrors."

The fact that this film has already broken funding records, however, proves that people want to hear this tragic tale. Segieda said as much in a new press release:

"This sends a message to the media and Hollywood that they need to stop ignoring stories that don't match their political beliefs. By helping Gosnell smash these records the public are making a very strong statement about their dissatisfaction with media bias."

These bold producers aren't resting until they hit the $2.1 million mark. Help them get there: Gosnell Movie.

National Poll: Half of Respondents Say They're "Less Likely" to Vote for Another Bush

As if his emphatic support for both Common Core and amnesty wasn’t hard enough for conservatives to swallow, a recent Rasmussen poll indicates that Jeb Bush might have a serious problem on his hands if he runs for president in 2016. Namely, 50 percent of likely voters say they’re “less likely” to vote for him for reasons beyond his control:

Fifty percent (50%) of Likely U.S. Voters said in a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey last month that they are less likely to vote for Jeb Bush for president in 2016 because his father and brother have already served in the White House.

Fourteen percent (14%) said the Bush family's presidential legacy makes them more likely to vote for the former Florida governor. Thirty-four percent (34%) say it would have no impact on their voting decision. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Clearly, there are other matters Jeb must also consider before making up his mind. For example, Politico reported earlier in the week that family issues will almost certainly impact his decision:

Republican donors and operatives are chattering about Bush’s publicity-shy wife, so worried she isn’t on board with a 2016 White House run that they’re urging people in the family’s orbit to make the case.

Columba Bush has long been deeply averse to the spotlight, especially after an embarrassing encounter with U.S. Customs while her husband was still in office.

Donors also wonder whether Bush is willing to subject his family and their personal lives to the inevitable scrutiny that comes with a national campaign. Two of his children have been in the news in past years for arrests linked to drug problems and public intoxication.

Is running for president really worth the grueling schedule, the personal attacks, the time spent away from home, and the constant and at times unfair media coverage? These are questions every presidential hopeful must answer -- and answer honestly. Plus, with Christie’s stock on the rise and his image improving, fundraising and securing endorsements could only prove more difficult for Bush over time, as they both represent the moderate -- or, if you prefer, the establishment -- wing of the party.

The consensus from inside Florida is that Bush will run and Sen. Marco Rubio (a close political ally and would-be establishment rival during the primaries) will bow out. Assuming Christie jumps in and Rubio instead runs for re-election, then, it’ll be Bush vs. Christie (and perhaps Walker) fighting for the centrist/moderate/establishment vote before facing down a Tea Party challenger. As Allahpundit recently sketched out, Jeb’s path to the nomination isn’t exactly impossible to imagine if he runs -- that is, if everything goes according to plan. But the question is, will he?

If he continues to poll this well in Iowa (of all places), I suspect he will.

Bloomberg's New Anti-Gun Group Out with First Ad: 'Are Your Children Safe?'

As Katie reported on Thursday, former-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving $50 million this year to help build a new "gun safety" group and campaign, Everytown. As my colleague Bob Owens over at Bearing Arms notes, "The prevailing theory behind the effort seems to be an attempt to market gun prohibition as “gun safety,” while attempting to destroy the number one gun safety organization the world has ever known, the National Rifle Association."

The group came out with its first big ad, and it’s exactly what one would expect of an umbrella group that houses gun control organizations like Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns—it pushes all the emotional hot buttons in the gun control debate.

It’s safe to say that for this ad at least, Bloomberg would agree with the NRA about responsible gun ownership, which is something that is important to advocate. But that misses the point here, as IJR explains:

The goal [of Everytown] is to create a grassroots network of concerned mothers, mayors and Hollywood celebrities that can work to persuade Congress as effectively as the pro-gun lobby.

The difference is while groups like the NRA want to protect the rights of responsible gun owners, Everytown wants to redefine them.

They want to attack the 2nd Amendment by having gun owners register their firearms, ban ‘assault’ weapons, and make carrying guns on school, church and playground property illegal.

Since none of the measures these gun control groups are advocating would do much in the way of preventing a situation like the one in the ad from happening, what’s with the ad then? Scare tactics right out of the gate? You betcha.

Analysis: Obama Celebrates Eight Million 'Enrollments,' Again Declares Debate 'Over'


President Obama addressed the White House press corps today, announcing that with the final numbers in, Obamacare's exchanges have attracted eight million sign-ups -- 35 percent of whom are "under the age of 35," he said. Several elements of his comments were misleading:


(1) At first blush, the 35 percent stat is both significant and impressive. As recently as last month, the share of "young invincibles" signing up for plans was struggling in the 25 percent range, far short of the actuarial target of nearly 40 percent. A leap into the mid-30's, while still shy of the goal, would constitute a major step, and would bode well for the risk pools' sustainability. Alas, the president was lumping children in with this group, wildly inflating the number. Among the actual key demographic (18-34), the accurate number is...28 percent. So despite the big enrollment spike at the deadline, not nearly enough of those people were young adults to move the relevant needle.


(2) As we've explained repeatedly, the number of so-called "sign-ups" does not accurately reflect the number of people who have actually secured coverage, which requires paying the first month's premium. Delinquent payments are deleted by insurers, and people who selected (but didn't pay for) those plans are not covered. Experts have estimated that roughly 20 percent of "enrollees" fall into this category, a ballpark figure that even Kathleen Sebelius has acknowledged. And the numbers vary from state to state. In California, the nonpayment rate is 15 percent. In Delaware, it's 37 percent. In South Carolina, it's 43 percent. If the one-fifth delinquency estimate is accurate, the number of paid enrollees through Obamacare marketplaces is 6.4 million. That total is higher than I thought it would be, but it's still short of the original goal.


(3) The official percentage of those 6.4 million enrollees who previously lacked coverage -- a crucial number in measuring the law's success -- is unknown. Three outside surveys peg it at somewhere between 25 and 33 percent. Applying the high end of that range (to be generous), the math would work out to 2.1 million newly insured Americans. The president glossed over these realities in his remarks, merely stating that people were gaining coverage "for the first time, in many cases." He neither offered, nor was asked, to expound on any enrollment data specifics. Of course, tracking the law's efficacy in reducing the ranks of the uninsured will be doubly difficult thanks to the Census Bureau's White House-suggested and -approved methodology change. For those of you who read this analysis, you'll be unsurprised to learn that the president again falsely attributed the recent (and ending) health costs slowdown to his law.


(4) The torpid crew of reporters (at least those who were called upon) who asked questions regarding Obamacare uniformly stuck to superficial politics and process fluff. In response to these gimmes, Obama issued a now-familiar declaration: This! Debate! Is! Over! He did allow that not everyone is a fan of the law -- a gross understatement -- but puzzled over why Republicans continue to rudely and myopically oppose a policy that was railroaded through Congress without their consultation, against the will of a majority of the public, and that remains unpopular to this day. 'Tis a great mystery. Obama also suggested on several occasions that enduring opposition was rooted in "spite" directed at him personally. As if no viable policy arguments against, say, expanding Medicaid exist. Speaking of which, he also claimed that states would be responsible for "literally zero" of the price tag associated with expanding Medicaid. That's demonstrably false -- a fact I pointed out on Twitter before effectively being told to shut up by a quasi-prominent Obamacare defender.


(5) Finally, in response to one of the aforementioned terrible questions, the president recommended that his party robustly defend Obamacare, while simultaneously averring that it's time to "move on" and deal with other issues. A telling contradiction. We love Obamacare and will defend it passionately, but it's imperative that we change the subject! The American people, he said, are more interested in more jobs, a growing economy, and improving wages than re-fighting the Obamacare battle. Perhaps he's unaware that the latter is empirically impeding the former litany of goals he laid out. Perhaps not. The important message is that Obamacare is working, resistance is futile, and we ought not waste our energy on it anymore. Tell that to these widows, or to this poor woman:


After receiving her new health coverage in January through the New York State of Health Marketplace, Arden Heights resident Margaret Figueroa, 49, who suffers from two chronic illnesses, went to her pharmacy to fill her prescriptions. Although her insurance company, EmblemHealth, assured her she was covered, her insurance card was denied. While she had signed up for new health coverage -- because her insurance carrier dropped her old plan -- the company's internal paperwork apparently wasn't filed. She also learned that all her long-time doctors didn't accept the new insurance plan. For Ms. Figueroa, who suffers from a rare neurological disease called Arnold Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia, this has led to three months of excruciating pain, withdrawal symptoms and immobility. "It's hard," said Ms. Figueroa, through her tears Wednesday at a press conference at Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) New Dorp office. "I have been in pain. I've been vomiting. I lost 22 pounds. The pain is unbearable. My medication helps me function during the day," added Ms. Figueroa, who has undergone four brain surgeries for her conditions, which require her to take numerous amounts of medication.


Silence, subject! The debate is over. And horror stories like yours have been "debunked" by Harry Reid and the media -- a "fact" that the president helpfully mentioned today, in an effort to minimize the financial and medical hardships his signature law is inflicting on millions of people.

Progress: Obama Announces 8 Million Obamacare Enrollees

Speaking from the White House late Thursday afternoon, President Obama announced there are now 8 million people enrolled in Obamacare, a small jump up from 7.1 million at the beginning of April and after former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has left office.

"Eight million people," Obama said. "Thirty-five percent of people who enroll through the federal market place are under the age of 35. All told, independent experts now estimate that millions of Americans who were uninsured have gained coverage this year."

The White House has still not produced numbers detailed how many people have paid for their insurance plans and has not defined what exactly "enrolled" means.

Joe Biden's Son Running for Delaware Governor

Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden has announced he will run for Governor of Delaware. The race is two years away, but Beau made the announcement saying that he won’t be running for re-election as the state’s attorney general in November.

This past year, Beau faced health issues and underwent surgery to remove a small lesion from his brain. He also suffered a mild stroke in 2010. The 45 year old made the announcement about his plans for the future in a written statement today. He did not make himself available for interviews or a press conference.

Biden's announcement Thursday that he will pursue the governor's office in 2016 will have ripple effects on the First State's politics. Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, a Democrat, and Rep. John Carney, who lost a Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2008 to now-Gov. Jack Markell, also have been seen as potential gubernatorial candidates.

Biden, the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, was first elected attorney general in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010, dedicating significant time last year to fundraising. He raised more than $1.4 million through his campaign and political action committees in 2013 and had more than $900,000 in cash on hand at the end of the year.

Even through recent weeks, Beau’s political director claimed he was planning on running for a third term for his attorney general seat. As the election is still far away, we will have to wait and see how this race will play out. Will Joe Biden’s track record affect his son’s political future?

Arkansas: Female Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Files Two Complaints Against Her Own Party

Well, if this isn't a burgeoning political headache for the party of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness,” I don't know what is. An Arkansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate has filed two complaints against state organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party. She claims Arkansas Democrats snubbed her at a dinner by refusing to let her speak, and on a separate occasion, referred to her primary opponent as “the next governor of Arkansas”…as she sat and listened.

From ABC’s affiliate KATV:

Arkansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Lynette Bryant has filed a complaint against the Democratic Party of Arkansas and the Saline County Democratic Party for "unfair treatment" against her candidacy.

So far, Bryant has filed the complaints with the NAACP and the Democratic National Committee. In the complaint, Bryant cites the denial of her request to speak at the upcoming Saline County Jefferson Jackson Dinner.

"Upon further conversation and restating my request to speak, Mr. (George 'Bucky') Ellis [Chairman of the Saline County Democratic Party] told me no, I could not Speak at the Saline County Jefferson Jackson Dinner again," writes Bryant.

Bryant also cites an instance where DPA Chair Vince Insalaco introduced Mike Ross, who is running against Bryant in the primary, as "the next governor of Arkansas" at an event that both candidates were attending.

Bryant concludes her complaint by asking the NAACP and the DNC to get involved in order to ensure a 'fair race.'

The Democratic Party of Arkansas (DPA) released a statement, which you can read here. The DPA claims they never endorse in primaries; but Dr. Bryant’s testimony is evidence she feels they’re not exactly being impartial, either. Of course, I assume her mistreatment has nothing to do with her race or gender, and everything to do with her own party’s eagerness to nominate a candidate other than her. Still, it’s rather ironic that the political party that always accuses Republicans of racism and waging a “war on women” is reportedly slighting an African-American female candidate who has every right to participate in the political process.

Obviously, if she is asking the DNC and the NAACP to get involved this is no laughing matter. She feels as if the system is rigged against her. And that’s wrong, no matter how you slice it.

Engaging in favoritism and shady campaign tactics is always indefensible. After all, Dr. Bryant should at least be afforded the right to make her pitch (and she will get that opportunity, we're told), even if the powers that be don't necessarily want to hear it.

New Poll Shows Maine GOP Governor With Slight Lead

Some good news out of Maine: A new poll by the Portland-based Pan Atlantic SMS Group shows incumbent GOP Governor Paul LePage with a slight lead over his Democrat challenger Rep. Mike Michaud. This is the first poll that has shown LePage with a lead over Michaud.

The live telephone survey of 400 Maine residents was conducted between March 31 and April 5 and included a mix of landline and cell phone interviews, according to Pan Atlantic SMS. It shows LePage with a 1.3 percentage point lead over Michaud, 38.6 percent to 37.3 percent, while independent Eliot Cutler trails both of his rivals with 20.3 percent. The governor's lead is well within the poll's 4.9 percent margin of error, meaning the poll shows LePage and Michaud in a virtual tie with more than seven months remaining before the election.

As LePage was elected by a razor-thin 10,000 vote margin in 2010 over independent candidate Eliot Cutler (who is running again in the 2014 race) and Democrat Libby Mitchell, the 2014 gubernatorial election has widely been labeled as a toss-up. Cutler is currently polling in a distant third.

LePage's election in 2010 marked the state's first Republican governor since 1994. LePage has focused much of his efforts on reforming the state's welfare system. Michaud is one of the few remaining members of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats.

While it's certainly far too early to cast any electoral positions, the polls are moving the right way for a LePage reelection.

NY Schools Struggle Where to Put Students Who Opt Out of Standardized Tests

A battle between parents and educators has erupted over standardized testing in the state of New York. These exams have been the norm under the No Child Left Behind Act, but parents, frustrated that schools are using these tests for teacher evaluation - as opposed to the students' academic progress - are launching a boycott and instructing their children to sit out of the exams.

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said the number of students and parents refusing the standardized tests was a "small but meaningful percentage." Just take a look at a few of the more surprising numbers throughout the upper region:

School District / Number of students refusing exam / 3-8 grade enrollment / Percent of students refusing test

West Seneca 877 3,087 28.41%

Lake Shore 287 1,135 25.29%

Wilson 120 562 21.35%

Springville-Griffith 151 833 18.13%

Alden 136 800 17.00%

Hamburg 269 1,718 15.66%

East Aurora 137 882 15.53%

Downstate is no different. In in Public School 368 in Harlem, Jasmine Batista, who has two sons the school, revealed to the NY Post how the tests negatively affected her 10-year-old:

“He was concerned that he would not go on to the next grade,” she said. “He was crying, he had no appetite, he couldn't sleep. He was so happy when that test was done.”

In addition to stress, parents cited a number of other reasons for telling their kids to reject the tests:

Some are educators who are upset that the exams are being used to measure how teachers and schools perform. Some are concerned that subjects such as social studies and art are being edged out as schools focus on preparing students for math and English exams.

Now, teachers and administrators are facing the challenge of how to deal with parents who are rejecting the standardized system and what to do with children who opt out of these exams. One school district in particular, Starpoint, where 8 percent of students opted out of the English Language Arts exam, decided to add the extra expense of hiring substitute teachers to supervise children in the hall as their peers work at their desks.

Despite the hostility between parents and teachers, New York is standing by the supposed merits of standardized testing:

State Education Department spokesman Dennis Tompkins defended the testing as “one of many tools that should be used to measure student growth and help inform instruction.”

What do you think? Are these parents in the wrong for telling their children to refuse to take the tests, thus stretching schools' resources by having to hire extra help? Or are they right to challenge state regulations that don't seem to improve their kids' education?

One thing's for sure: Educators are going to get headaches either way.