Cortney O'Brien - Mrs. Sanders Wants FBI to Speed Up its Hillary Investigation
Posted: 5/2/2016 10:45:00 AM EST

The Sanders campaign has left its “damn email” days far behind them. When Bernie Sanders told the media to stop talking about Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails” at an early Democratic presidential debate, everyone thought he had missed a prime opportunity to strike her Achilles heel. Instead, he seemingly gave her a pass on one of her biggest scandals. Now, months later, as he has proven to be a worthy competitor, Sanders and his team may have altered their strategy and decided the FBI investigation is kind of a big deal after all.

During an appearance on Fox Business last week, Jane Sanders told Neil Cavuto she and her husband want the FBI probe to proceed sans politics, yet also noted she wants it to speed up.

“It would be nice if the FBI moved it along,” she said.

Clinton has suggested there’s nothing to see here in regards to her emails and has rolled her eyes at any questions about them. Yet, anyone with knowledge about national security knows that it was jeopardized when the former secretary of state handled classified information on an unsecure private server. It was unprecedented in State Department history, the DNC chairwoman even admitted.

The Sanders have indicated they are not going to sit idly by and watch the Democratic nomination be handed to Hillary, the party’s “anointed” candidate. The Vermont senator has challenged her to release her Wall Street transcripts and has exposed her waffling on the minimum wage. Thanks to his new offensive tactics, Clinton has been booed at just about every Sanders rally as of late.

Sanders’ only problem? Those pesky superdelegates

Guy Benson - NBC/WSJ Poll: Trump Running Away with Indiana
Posted: 5/2/2016 10:30:00 AM EST

On Friday, we expressed skepticism over a new poll showing Ted Cruz leading Donald Trump by 16 points in the Hoosier State, the only public survey showing the Texan ahead. Yesterday, a fresh NBC/WSJ/Marist poll found nearly the exact opposite result, with the controversial billionaire up by double digits. Trump's RCP average lead has swelled to more than four points; he appears to be on the verge of defeating Cruz in what virtually everyone agrees is a must-win state for the conservative Senator's campaign:

On Megyn Kelly's show Friday evening, I concluded that if Cruz loses Indiana tomorrow, that would basically be "all she wrote" for the GOP primary. Even if that new poll is off by ten points, this race will effectively end when the Indiana victor is declared tomorrow evening -- though Cruz would likely fight all the way through June 7.  The Cruz campaign is out with a new television ad in the state, casting Trump and Clinton as 'two sides of the same coin' and a pair of 'big government liberals:'

Trump does support raising taxes, and has recently attacked conservative leaders for refusing to do so.  He has also supported sweeping gun control legislation in the past, part and parcel of his long history of holding lefty views on virtually every issue.  He was -- and remains to this day -- a Statist, who openly  doesn't care about conservatism or the principle of limiting the scope and power of government.  Cruz's ad may be most off-base on the transgender bathroom issue, about which the Senator has been dinged by fact-checkers over his characterizations of that kerfuffle.  Trump has adopted more of a 'who cares, is this really a problem in need of a law?' approach, echoing Charles Krauthammer and others.  Incidentally, the same poll finds the Mitch McConnell and Chamber of Commerce-backed candidate holding a commanding lead over a conservative challenger.  Much of the moderate 'establishment' also backs Trump, who is deeply tied to the current status quo system.  They're winning.

Christine Rousselle - General Mattis: Count Me Out For 2016
Posted: 5/2/2016 10:24:00 AM EST

Retired General James Mattis will not be launching an independent bid for the White House. Mattis had been urged by a variety of conservative figures to consider running for president as an alternative candidate.

Two allies of Mr. Mattis sent emails to associates on Friday notifying them that the retired general had closed the door on a campaign. William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, said Mr. Mattis had decided “after much consideration” not to proceed.

“The thoughtfulness and patriotism — and for that matter, the modesty — Jim showed as he reflected on this decision make me more convinced than ever that he would have made a truly admirable president, and also a good candidate,” Mr. Kristol wrote. “But it’s not to be. So we won’t have a President Mattis.”

Joel Searby, a Republican strategist involved in laying the groundwork for a potential Mattis campaign, wrote in a separate email that Mr. Mattis had “decided definitively not to pursue a run for president.”

While it was incredibly unlikely that a third-party campaign for president could be successful, Mattis' potential candidacy was intriguing. Alas, it's just not meant to be.

Leah Barkoukis - WATCH: The Biggest Gaffes, Most Awkward Moments of Obama's Presidency
Posted: 5/2/2016 9:00:00 AM EST

Before handing President Obama the mic to speak at his last White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, the press made a tribute of sorts to the 44th president of the United States.

In a video that began with some of Obama’s more serious accomplishments as POTUS, it then took a comedic turn when CBS' Major Garrett, who narrated the video, said "it hasn't all been a smooth ride."

That’s right—the video below highlights Obama’s most awkward moments and biggest gaffes during his presidency.


Christine Rousselle - Indiana Primary Preview
Posted: 5/2/2016 8:35:00 AM EST

On May 3, residents of the Hoosier State will head to the polls in what is a surprisingly important primary. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has ceded the state to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in their pact, but frontrunner Donald Trump is still doing fairly well in the polls.

Who is voting?

Both Republicans and Democrats are voting on Tuesday in open primaries. A person does not have to be a registered member of a party to vote in the primary.

When are the polls open?

Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., local time.

Where do I go to vote?

Click here.

What are the polls looking like?

All over the place, but Trump has a double-digit lead in the latest NBC/WSJ/Maraist poll. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) by about six points on average.

How many delegates are up for grabs?

There are 57 Republican delegates. Thirty of those delegates go to the winner of the state, and the other 27 are divided up by the state's nine congressional districts. There are 92 Democratic delegates.

Leah Barkoukis - CIA Director Warns Against Releasing Secret 9/11 Pages, Says They're Full of Inaccuracies
Posted: 5/2/2016 8:15:00 AM EST

Despite mounting pressure to release 28 classified pages in a 2002 report on the 9/11 attacks, CIA Director John Brennan advised against it on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“This chapter was kept out because of concerns about sensitive sources of methods, investigative actions, and the investigation of 9/11 was still underway in late 2002,” Brennan told host Chuck Todd. “I’m quite puzzled by Sen. Graham and others because what that joint inquiry did was to tee up issues that were followed up on by the 9/11 commission as well as the 9/11 review commission. So these were thoroughly investigated and reviewed. It was a preliminary review that put information in there that was not corroborated, not vetted, and not deemed to be accurate.”

The issue of releasing these pages was stirred again last month when former Sen. Bob Graham said that he believed the 9/11 hijackers had received ‘substantial’ support from the Saudi government and other high ranking members of society.

"There are a lot of rocks out there that have been purposefully tamped down, that if were they turned over, would give us a more expansive view of the Saudi role," Graham told CBS’ ”60 Minutes” at the time.

The pages were classified under former President George W. Bush, who, as Graham stated, was concerned about revealing intelligence sources and methods. The Obama administration said in mid-April that a decision would be made in 60 days about declassifying the pages.

Brennan suggested, however, that doing so could be detrimental to our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“The 9/11 commission took that joint inquiry and those 28 pages or so and followed through on the investigation,” he said. “And they came out with a very clear judgment that there was no evidence that indicated the Saudi government as an institution or Saudi officials individually had provided financial support to Al Qaeda."

"I think some people may seize upon that uncorroborated, unvetted information in there that was basically just a collation of this information that came out of FBI files, and to point to Saudi involvement, which I think would be very, very inaccurate," he added. 

Matt Vespa - ICYMI: Louisiana Voters Feel Their Taxes Are Too High, As Budget Battle Continues
Posted: 5/2/2016 7:30:00 AM EST

At times, it’s your local officials that can turn your home budgets into a puzzling endeavor more than the policy antics emanating from Washington. Local taxes, fees, etc. can reap havoc on local communities, which is why every chance you can vote in local elections you should do it. I know county commissioners races aren’t as exciting as a presidential race, but they matter all the same. In Louisiana, Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected to succeed Republican Bobby Jindal, and he faces a budget deficit that soars into the hundreds of millions. There was the typical tug of war between the governor and the Republican state legislature. You can read about the drama here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. It’s the typical narrative. Both sides know cuts need to be made—it’s a matter of how much and where to cut. Republicans assign budget cuts, the governor vetoes them, and around and around we go. In these matters, increasing of taxes is discussed, especially when a Democrat is at the helm.

In February, Americans for Prosperity-Louisiana asked Harper Polling to conduct a poll on how residents of the Bayou State feel about the rates of taxation. To no one’s surprise, virtually everyone feels the rates are too high, and they pretty much oppose any tax increases to offset the projected $750 million budget shortfall:

A majority of voters in Louisiana say things in the state are “off on the wrong track” (53%) while just 28% say things are “generally headed in the right direction.” Republicans (25%/63%), Democrats (31%/47%) and Independents (24%/53%) all echo this sentiment.

Taxes: Too High or Too Low?

When asked about the amount of state and local taxes they pay now, 93% of Louisiana voters say that amount is either “too high” (46%) or “about right” (47%). Only 5% say the amount of taxes they currently pay is “too low.” Women are more likely than men to consider their taxes to be too high (women: 50%/42%, men: 40%/53%).


The three proposals which generated the most negative sentiment were the personal income tax increase, the sales tax increase, and the telephone tax increase. The Personal Income Tax increase generates the strongest opposition from Moderates (84%) and Independents (92%) of all the proposals. Younger voters aged 18-29 strongly oppose the personal income tax (80%) and the telephone tax (79%).

A majority of likely voters also oppose “the enforcement of a sales tax on items purchased online” (60%, 32% favor) and the increase in business taxes (59%, 29% favor). “The imposition of hotel taxes on short term rentals such as Airbnb” also generates a net negative response (37%/47%).

The only proposal that is favored by a majority of Louisiana voters is the increase in “Luxury taxes including increases in the tobacco and alcohol taxes” (58%/36%). The intensity gap on this proposal benefits those who favor it (42% strongly favor, 29% strongly oppose).

Nevertheless, some of those tax increases already went into effect on April 1:

Louisiana's sales tax will go up in two major ways starting next Friday. The new laws means the state will likely have the highest average sales tax in the country.

First, an extra penny will be added to the regular 4-cent state sales tax from April 1 through June 30, 2018. Second, some items that had previously been exempted from sales tax will now be subjected to at least some portion of the sales tax through June 30, 2018.


Smokers will be paying 22 cents more per cigarette pack starting April 1. The new tax will go from 86 cents per pack to $1.08 per pack. People who sell cigarettes will also not be getting as much back for reporting their sales taxes correctly starting next week.

Even with the new tax hike, Louisiana's cigarette levy will still be lower than those in Arkansas and Texas, but higher than the one in Mississippi. The tax is expected to bring in $11 million between April 1 and June 30 as well as $43 million annually in future budget cycles.


Starting April 1, taxes will go up by one to two cents per serving on all types of alcohol -- beer, wine, liquor and sparkling wine. The new levies are permanent and don't have an expiration date.


Starting April 1, state hotel taxes will also apply to online booking services such as Airbnb and others offering short-term rentals.


It's going to cost more to rent a vehicle in Louisiana starting next Friday, though the new law has been written to avoid having the tax apply to Louisiana residents.

A 3 percent tax will be added to most short-term vehicle rentals, but the tax will not apply to vehicles being rented because of an accident or other needed repair. In other words, the tax is aimed at tourists and other visitors renting cars.


Justin Holcomb  - China Successfully Tests New Hypersonic Warhead
Posted: 5/1/2016 7:40:00 PM EST

China successfully completed a seventh flight test of its new hypersonic warhead system last week in the northern central Shanxi province, according to an article on People’s Daily Online.

The test of the developmental "DF-ZF" was monitored after launch Friday atop a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai missile launch center in central China, said officials.

The system can travel at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10, which is 5 to 10 times the speed of sound.  U.S. intelligence fears that Beijing may use DF-ZF to “deliver nuclear weapons bypassing even the most complex of missile defense systems.”

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman first confirmed China’s hypersonic missile test in March 2015, saying that the missile test was not aimed at any country and was done for scientific research.

The U.S. Air Force made an attempt a a supersonic delivery system in 2014. The hypersonic vehicle built by Boeing Co. climbed to 60,000 feet, accelerated to Mach 5.1 and flew for about three and a half minutes before running out of fuel and plunging into the Pacific Ocean.

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic forces specialist, said the new Chinese hypersonic glider is a serious threat.

“The Chinese probably see this as one of their ‘assassin’s mace’ weapons which are designed to defeat the U.S.”

According to Schneider, a National Academy of Science study concluded that hypersonic speed was the equivalent very high levels of radar-evading stealth features against air and missile defenses.

“Hypersonic speed also gets you to the target very fast which may be decisive in dealing with mobile targets,” he said.

Matt Vespa - Huh? Carly Fiorina Is A ‘Racist’ For Ripping Mike Tyson’s Support Of Trump
Posted: 5/1/2016 6:30:00 PM EST

Donald Trump has been talking about the need for toughness on the campaign trail and touted his support from former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

“You know, all the tough guys endorse me. I like that, OK,” said Trump about Tyson.

Well, Carly Fiorina didn’t sit still for this yesterday, given that Tyson is a convicted rapist (via Politico):

Fiorina, standing beside Cruz as the two took questions from the media in Indianapolis, said she was “interested to see” the endorsement and blasted the real-estate mogul for calling Tyson "tough," referring to when the boxer was convicted of rape in the 1990s, in Indiana, no less.

“Sorry, I don't consider a convicted rapist a tough guy,” Fiorina told reporters. “And I think it says a lot about Donald Trump's campaign and his character that he is standing up and cheering for an endorsement by Mike Tyson.”

Tyson spent three years in prison after he was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant in Indiana in 1992.

“But Mike said: ‘I love Trump. I endorse Trump,'" Trump said Wednesday. “And that's the end. I'm sure he doesn't know about your economic situation in Indiana. But when I get endorsed by the tough ones, I like it, because you know what? We need toughness now. We need toughness.”

Apparently, Roger Stone, a Trump supporter, thought that Fiorina’s remarks are somehow racist.

Over a RedState, Strieff provided previous tweets from Stone that were racially charged, while Larry O’Connor at Hot Air noted, “Hoosier don’t forget,” alluding to the fact that Trump touted Tyson at an Indianapolis rally, where Tyson committed his vicious act. O’Connor also included radio host Greg Garrison’s opening monologue from his Thursday broadcast since he was the man who prosecuted Tyson back in the 1990s. He knows something about this incident.

“This was not Trump’s proudest moment and his affiliation with Tyson is hardly something to brag about. So maybe he should stop bragging about it,” O’ Connor wrote.

Trump had said that Tyson was wrongfully convicted of the charge (via Newsbusters):

It’s my opinion that, to a large extent, Mike Tyson was railroaded in this case… You have a young woman that was in his room, in his hotel late in the evening at her own will. You have a young woman who was seen dancing for the beauty contest, dancing with a big smile on her face. Looked happy as can be.

Roger Stone also thinks that Tyson was wrongfully convicted.

Still, I don’t see how this is racist. What Fiorina said was factual—Tyson is a convicted rapist. You can disagree concerning whether the conviction was just or not, but there’s no legitimate reference to race in that view. That debate about whether convictions are just or unjust speaks more about the conduct of those in our justice system. It’s a bizarre line of attack, as there is not a scintilla of race in Fiorina’s remarks, or the Tyson rape case itself; the victim was black. So, I guess we’ll just have to file this one with the other nonsensical incidents derived from Trump and his crew this election cycle.

Matt Vespa - Awful: Majority Of Palestinian Youth Support Knife Attacks On Israelis
Posted: 5/1/2016 3:03:00 PM EST

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict took a brutal turn over the past few months, with frequent knife attacks committed by Palestinian men and women against innocent Israelis. It was a new type of attack, which was not organized or strategized by Islamic terrorist organizations, but “lone wolfs” that could strike anyone at any second. In October of 2015, there were 609 attacks alone. Now, there’s a recent poll that shows the majority of Palestinian youths support the knife attacks (via Times of Israel):

The Jerusalem Media and Communication Center poll, carried out across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in April, indicated that 58 percent of Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 29 supported stabbings to one degree or another, but Gazans backed it significantly more than did their West Bank counterparts.

Over three-quarters of Gazans — 78.6% of the 365 polled — said they strongly or somewhat support knife attacks against Israelis, whereas 46.4% of West Bank residents expressed similar sentiments.

Nearly 38% of young Palestinians said they opposed stabbings – 47.4% in the West Bank but just 21.1% in the Gaza Strip.

Two-thirds of Gazans polled said the attacks serve the Palestinian cause, while just 40% of West Bank residents said the same. Only 21% of the total number of young Palestinians polled said the stabbings, which have persisted since October, are detrimental to the Palestinian cause.

The Washington Post  reported that in the past six months over 180 Palestinians have been killed in the recent spike in violence between the two sides, with 29 Israelis, four foreign nationals, including two Americans being killed lost to terrorist activity as well. They also noted that the West Bank village of Saer, a 20,000strong community, has generated more attackers per capita than anywhere else in the region. What has it reaped? Nothing but a lot of funerals and shattered families, yet the silver lining is that the frequency of the attacks are dropping. Moreover, unlike the youth survey, the overall majority of Palestinians opposing lone wolf knife attacks. Then again, while that number is dropping, the figure showing support for organized militias to conduct attacks is spiking:

“We’ve lost enough sons,” said Awni al-Jabbarin, the father of 20-year-old Muayyad, who was fatally shot by Israeli soldiers after he lunged at them with a knife at a highway junction.

Asked what the death of his child meant, the father stared off into the distance. “It achieved nothing,” he said.

He added, “I pray to God he is the last son of Saer to die.”


Israeli officials say it is too soon to declare an end to the six-month surge in violence. A bus bomb exploded in Jerusalem on Monday, injuring 21 people, two seriously. Authorities branded it a terrorist attack; investigators are searching for clues about who planted the device and why. The Passover celebrations are approaching, when tensions often spike, especially around access to a holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City that is sacred to Muslims and Jews.

Still, the trend suggests the flames may be burning down to embers.

According to Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, there were 20 significant attacks in March compared with 78 in October. This month, there have been four.


In the early months of the violence, there were especially large crowds at funerals and at Friday clashes with Israeli soldiers. But the numbers have steadily dropped.

“The atmosphere has changed. The people are tired,” said a senior Israeli commander in the West Bank who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Palestinians are understanding there is no efficiency in these terror attacks,” he said. “Most of the attacks do not succeed, and most of the time the Palestinian is arrested, wounded or killed, and no Israeli is hurt.”


Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research reported that his latest polling in March found “a significant drop” in the support for lone-wolf stabbing attacks compared with his December survey. Now, a majority is opposed to such assaults, even as a growing number support organized armed attacks by militias to gain national rights.


“The village just wants quiet now,” said Hassan Froukh, whose son Fadi, 27, was killed in a stabbing attempt, just a few weeks after the birth of his first daughter.

“Enough is enough,” he said.

Time will tell, but this decades-long battle between Israelis and Palestinians is probably going to continue way into our generation and the one after that.


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