Planned Parenthood hired a Democratic polling firm to find out if taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is still popular, and found out that 64 percent of voters still want federal funding for the organization. Here's the question that voters were asked:
Some Republicans in Congress say that because of the undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, there should be an immediate vote to end all government funding for Planned Parenthood, including for services Planned Parenthood provides, such as cancer screenings and family planning. Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the Republicans who say Congress should vote immediately vote to end all government funding for Planned Parenthood, including for services Planned Parenthood provides, such as cancer screenings and family planning?
As you can see, the poll doesn't say anything about the fact that Planned Parenthood harvests and sells the organs of aborted babies or even that Planned Parenthood performs any abortions at all. It merely states that Planned Parenthood provides "services" such as "cancer screenings and family planning," services which will remain federally funded at other clinics (not that the poll tells you that either).
I'm honestly not sure what the results of an unbiased poll on defunding Planned Parenthood would look like. Most voters probably haven't heard about the latest undercover investigation, and I suspect that a large number of voters don't even know that Planned Parenthood performs more than 300,000 abortions per year.
Christie defeated his Democratic challenger Barbara Buono by 22 points in 2013. Walker won a recall election in 2012 by 7 points, even though the electorate that showed up to the polls backed Obama by a 7-point margin. In 2014, Walker won a second term by defeating Democrat Mary Burke by 6 points.
A third video about Planned Parenthood's involvement in human organ trafficking was released earlier today. You can read a summary of the video and watch it here.
Despite little national coverage, scandals surrounding former NBA star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson have been intensifying over past few months. Monday's report at Deadspin is a good place to start -- things have gotten so bad that Johnson's allies are accusing a local paper that's done a lot of damning reporting on Johnson of racism.
As Deadspin notes, there's "a variety of sexual, financial, and ethical improprieties" swirling around Johnson. Among other things, the mayor is suing -- and being sued -- by the National Conference of Black Mayors. And Johnson is also accused of using public money and resources for his own personal benefit involving work done for the National Basketball Players Association.
That last scandal is particulary interesting, because it mirrors accusations made against him in 2009, when he was accused of misusing federal grants meant for the Americorps program by Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service:
The most significant issue appeared to be Mr. Walpin’s actions in connection with St. Hope Academy of California, which was run by Mr. Johnson and Dana Gonzalez. St. Hope Academy received federal money from 2004 to 2007 from AmeriCorps. Mr. Walpin said a large amount of the money was spent improperly, some of it on personal expenses.
Mr. Walpin made a referral to the United States prosecutor in Sacramento, recommending that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gonzalez face criminal charges and be banned from future contracts.
According to Walpin, the chairman of the board of Corporation for National and Community Service, Alan Solomont, was a major Democratic fundraiser and was unhappy with his reports pointing out the misuse of federal money. Johnson was also said to be close to the Obamas, and shortly afterward the president abruptly fired Walpin from his job. The firing set off a flurry of inquiries from a bipartisan group of senators concerned that Walpin's firing had been been politically motivated. There were also allegations that the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Lawrence Brown, filed an ethics complaint against Walpin to help lift a ban on Johnson receiving federal funds as well as curry favor with the White House. Brown was seeking a presidential appointment to become United States attorney for the Eastern District of California.
A former ambassador in the Clinton administration, Marc Ginsberg, knocked Secretary of State John Kerry for sounding "like a used care salesman" earlier today on national television. Watch here:
"Well, it's surprising to me that at this point in time, what is leaking out here is this so called side and secret agreements that seem to be poisoning the atmosphere. And Secretary Kerry is beginning to sound like a used car salesman who's not revealing what's underneath the chastity of the car, whether it's rusty or not," said the former Clinton ambassador.
Ginsberg went on to say that "secret annexes" could "torpedo this deal."
Ginsberg worked as foreign policy advisor in the Jimmy Carter administration and as ambassador to Morocco for the Clinton administration.
Global Zero, a group dedicated to the total eliminiation of nuclear weapons worldwide, has a new video out in support of President Obama's Iran nuclear deal.
The video stars Hollywood celebrities Jack Black (iCarly, Prop 8: the Musical, School of Rock), Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption, Dolphin Tale 2), and the lesser-known Natasha Lyonne who co-starred in The Auteur Theory with TWS senior editor and Iran deal critic Lee Smith.
It also features American-born Queen Noor of Jordan, former U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering, and embattled former CIA agent Valerie Plame.
The video, an attempt at humor, offers a false trichotomy in that Congress can either choose President Obama's Iran Deal, go to war with Iran, or we all die "like totally fried by a major nuclear bomb dead."
Nowhere is it suggested that Congress could reject a bad nuclear deal with Iran and pressure the Obama administration negotiate a better one.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Representatives Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, call for the impeachment of IRS head Jim Koskinen. The congressmen accuse Koskinen of a host of serious transgressions including destruction of evidence, hiding the fact that evidence had been destroyed from Congress, and lying to Congress:
Mr. Koskinen made statements to Congress that were categorically false. Of the more than 1,000 computer backup tapes discovered by the IRS inspector general, approximately 700 hadn’t been erased and contained relevant information. But Mr. Koskinen testified he had “confirmed” that all of the tapes were unrecoverable.
He also said: “We’ve gone to great lengths, spent a significant amount of money trying to make sure that there is no email that is required that has not been produced.” In reality, the inspector general found that Mr. Koskinen’s team failed to search several potential sources for Ms. Lerner’s emails, including the email server, her BlackBerry and the Martinsburg, W.Va., storage facility that housed the backup tapes.
The 700 intact backup tapes the inspector general recovered were found within 15 days of the IRS’s informing Congress that they were not recoverable. Employees from the inspector general’s office simply drove to Martinsburg and asked for the tapes. It turns out that the IRS had never even asked whether the tapes existed.
[Koskinen] hasn’t acted on the president’s May 2013 promise to “put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again.” A Government Accountability Office report released last week found that the IRS continues to lack the controls necessary to prevent unfair treatment of nonprofit groups on the basis of an “organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.” In other words, the targeting of conservative groups may very well continue.
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Capitol Hill today that Iran "may" kill Americans or Israelis. Watch here:
A member of Congress asked the secretary of state, "Well, do you believe that Iran is the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism?"
"Yes," Kerry responded.
"And that they will use the conventional weapons made available by the Iran nuclear treaty to kill Americans or Israelis?"
"Well, they may," said Kerry. "They may. And we have, as you know, responded to that from 1979 when they took over our embassy forward, we have put sanctions in place specifically because of their support for terror."
And here's the full transcript of Rep. Mo Brooks's exchange with Kerry:
Mr. Brooks: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Kerry, my questions require brief answers to comply with my 5 minute time limitation and I hope you will cooperate in that context. Three months ago Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi stated that erasing Israel off the map is non-negotiable. Do you believe his comments accurately reflect Iranian government goals? Yes, no, or I don’t know?
Secretary Kerry: I think it accurately reflects some people’s rhetoric and some people’s attitude, but…
Mr. Brooks: In the Iranian government?
Secretary Kerry: I don’t think it’s possible for Iran to do that, and I think Israel has enormous capacity obviously…
Mr. Brooks: OK, I didn’t ask for all that other. I’m just asking if you have a judgement as to whether his comments accurately reflect Iran’s government’s goals.
Secretary Kerry: My judgment is, it is not an implementable policy by Iran.
Mr. Brooks: OK, well less than two weeks ago Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led a rally that was frequently punctuated by chants of “Death to America!”, and “Death to Israel!” Do you believe his comments accurately reflect Iranian government goals? Again—yes, no, or I don’t know?
Secretary Kerry: I think they reflect an attitude and a rhetorical excess, but I see no evidence that they have a policy that is implementing that against us at this point in time.
Mr. Brooks: Well do you believe that Iran is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism?
Secretary Kerry: Yes.
Mr. Brooks: And, that they will use the conventional weapons made available by the Iran nuclear treaty to kill Americans or Israelis?
Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi was widely derided for saying Congress had to pass Obamacare "so that you can find out what is in it."
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a town hall today in New Hampshire used the same logic when asked about the Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver oil from Canada to refineries in the United States.
A New Hampshire voter asked: "As president, would you sign a bill, yes or no please, in favor of allowing they Keystone XL pipeline?"
Well (four second pause), as you know, I was the Secretary of State who started that process. I was the one who put into place the investigation, I have now passed it off, as obvious, cause I'm no longer there, to Secretary Kerry. This is President Obama's decision, and I am not going to second guess him, because I was in a position to set this in moition and I do not think that would be the right thing to do.
So, I want to wait and see what he and Secretary Kerry decide... if it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.
It's a bizarre response from a candidate who should know more about Keystone XL than any other candidate running for office, as she was secretary of state during the time the Canadian company was applying for approval from the agency she ran.
Hillary Clinton warned her audience at a townhall today in New Hampshire that she was about to spew a lot of hot air.
"It's exciting to be back in Nashua and we do have water. There is no air conditioning, that's right. And you know any time you take a risk and come hear somebody running for office speak you know there's going to be hot air as well as everything else that goes along with it," Clinton warned the audience at the beginning of today's town hall.
In this week's edition of the boss's email newsletter -- Kristol Clear -- readers are asked to rank their top three picks for the GOP's 2016 presidential nominee. The boss writes:
It's time for our fifth GOP presidential preference poll. Our most recent one occurred a month and a half ago, just before Donald Trump got in the race (time flies when you're having fun!). So we need to have an all-inclusive Trump-included poll, whose results we can announce next Sunday, just before the first Republican debate.
(Speaking of the debate: May I make one last plea to FOX and the Republican National Committee? Please abandon the poorly conceived 10-person one-main-stage debate format. It simply won't be the case that there will be a statistically significant difference between, say, the 8th through 10th place finishers in the current average of national polls and those in 11th through 13th places. So the current arrangement is unfair. And it will make for a bad debate. Go instead to two 8-person debates on successive nights (or back to back one evening), or even three five person debates over three evenings. Those would actually be interesting and enlightening, and wouldn't exclude serious political figures who deserve a chance to make their case.)
Well, the GOP will debate a foolish debate format, but it needs the guidance of our non-scientific but very-revealing-due-to-the-perspicacious-character-of-our-readers poll. You know what to do: Tell us your first, second and third choices from among this motley crew, this colorful medley, this star-studded galaxy of GOP candidates.
As popular as it has been with readers of the newsletter, we wanted to give readers of the blog a chance to vote for their top three picks, which you can do below. And if you don't already get Bill's newsletter, subscribe for free!
This week, the Wall Street Journalwrote that in a report to Capitol Hill last week, the Obama administration said “it was unlikely Iran would admit to having pursued a covert nuclear weapons program, and that such an acknowledgment wasn’t critical to verifying Iranian commitments in the future.”
Of course, it’s been unlikely for quite some time that the Iranians would ever come clear about their covert weapons program. Tehran based its entire negotiating position on the claim that the nuclear program was entirely peaceful: The regime didn’t want a bomb, would never want a bomb, and thus never worked on a bomb.
The Obama administration believed otherwise, which was the basis of its own position—Iran has been working on a bomb and will soon get one unless the issue is resolved, preferably through diplomacy, but all options, as Obama used to say, were on the table.
The Iranians never changed their story. In order to support their account of reality, and defend their nuclear weapons program, the clerical regime barred the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting suspect sites and interviewing figures believed to be part of the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of the program. Across from them at the negotiating table, the Obama administration promised Congress and the American people that the Iranians would most certainly come clean on PMDs.
“They have to do it,” said Kerry said in April. “It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done.” As late as June, State Department spokesman John Kirby explained that “access is very, very critical. It’s always been critical from day one; it remains critical.”
The reason access is critical is because without establishing what nuclear work the Iranians have done in the past, especially the PMDs, it’s impossible to know whether or not Iran is abiding by the agreement. In other words, without resolving the PMD issue, any inspection and verification regime is virtually meaningless.
And yet the White House is now saying that Iran’s past work doesn’t matter. What’s important, said Kirby in a press conference today, and echoing Kerry, is not what Iran did or might have done in the past, but rather what their nuclear program is going to look like in the future.
In Africa today, President Obama said that he think he's a "pretty good president." So good, indeed, that if he ran for a third term, he "could win." But he cannot, he acknowledged, because it's against the law.
"I am in my second term," Obama said. "It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serves as president of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work, but under our Constitution, I cannot run again. I can't run again. I actually think I'm a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can't. So there's a lot that I'd like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law, and no one person is above the law, not even the president."
The undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood's involvement in the trafficking of aborted baby organs has gained so much attention in the press that Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, felt compelled to appear on ABC's This Week on Sunday to address the scandal.
As a crisis communications response, the interview didn't go well. Richards's demeanor was composed, but her statements gave the distinct impression that Planned Parenthood is panicking. Mollie Hemingway points out over at The Federalist that Richards relied on a few weak, miselading, or false talking points to get through her interview on Sunday.
Richards repeatedly claimed that the videos were heavily edited, but the full versions were released at the same time the condensed videos were released.
Richards also claimed that Planned Parenthood doesn't receive any financial benefit for "donating" fetal human organs to biotech companies:
Stephanopoulos: The Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has pointed out charging a fee for this material --
Richards: It's not a fee. It's not a fee. It's actually just a cost of transmitting this material to research institutions.
Stephanopoulos: But that does improve the finances of the clinic, doesn't it.
Richards: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
The simple fact is that after Planned Parenthood performs an abortion, it can either pay a medical waste company to dispose of the baby's remains or it can receive $30 to $100 or more "per specimen" to have the baby's body parts taken by a biotech company. The latter practice certainly leaves Planned Parenthood better off financially. As a top Planned Parenthood official said in the first undercover video, they "want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.”
But the talking point that conveyed just how panicked Richards and Planned Parenthood are was her incredibly dishonest claim that "the folks behind this [video], in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes, and in their churches. And that's what actually needs to be looked at."
David Daleiden, the person behind the video, is a 26-year-old pro-life activist. You can read Planned Parenthood's dossier on him here. Planned Parenthood's public relations firm suggests Daleiden should not be trusted because he once co-wrote an article with a college professor for "opposition outlet The Weekly Standard." As scary as that might be, no one has accused Daleiden of ever committing or condoning violence against abortionists.
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a Republican candidate for president, will address the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, on Monday evening on her foreign policy outlook. In her speech, Fiorina will discuss how as president she would broker a "new deal" with Iran, call for expanding defense spending, and address China, whom she calls "our rising adversary."
You can watch her speech live at 9 pm ET here. Fiorina's remarks as prepared for delivery are below: