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Ed Gillespie on Why Mark Warner Has Failed Virginia



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Ed Gillespie, former RNC Chair and aspiring U.S. senator from Virginia, joins NRO to explain why the voting record of his opponent, Mark Warner, doesn’t match the moderate-centrist image he claims.

Gillespie also talks about the difference between working for the candidate and being the candidate.

Tags: Ed Gillespie

Common Abortion Myths in Rolling Stone



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Rolling Stone recently published a piece by Lauren Rankin supposedly “debunking” the “seven most common lies about abortion.” If the rhetoric throughout her article wasn’t enough assurance of Ms. Rankin’s commitment to abortion, a quick Google search will land you on another of her pieces, in which she proclaimed that “being pro-choice is not enough,” and encouraged her readers to join her and “say it loud, say it proud — I support abortion.”

Ms. Rankin’s analysis of what she styles the “blatant lies” of the pro-life movement is not only biased; it is rife with non sequiturs and misinformation. Here are seven errors in her piece:

 

1. Abortion being “incredibly common” should raise concern about its risks, not a reason to dismiss their possibility.

Abortion advocates often cite the fact that abortion is common as somehow de facto proof that abortion is benign.

Lots of things that are common are unhealthy, dangerous, and have a more-than-trivial impact – for example, smoking, binge drinking, over-eating. Gossip, divorce, and crime are also common. Merely pointing out its prevalence does not prove something is good, good for you, or good for society.

The fact that abortion is common should have us concerned about even the modest increases in risks that it carries. As Dr. John M. Thorp of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina’s School of  Medicine wrote on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, “harms or benefits associated with such a commonly used procedure, even if rather modest, would ripple through a population and have a large impact.”

 

2. ”Legal” and “safe” are not synonymous.

Throughout her piece, Ms. Rankin writes as if the words “safe” and “legal” are interchangeable, i.e., legal abortion is safe abortion. History disagrees.

Deaths from legal abortion include that of Tonya Reaves, a young mother who died in July 2012 after her legal abortion in a Planned Parenthood clinic. Jennifer Moribelli’s death in February 2013 was the result of a legal abortion performed by Leroy Carhart, (in)famous for his late-term abortion practice. Holly Patterson died three weeks after her 18th birthday in 2003 after a chemical-abortion pill was given to her legally, though with off-label instructions for its use, by Planned Parenthood.

Holly was not the only victim of Planned Parenthood’s dangerous – but legal – chemical-abortion practice. It took multiple deaths and more than the “expected” rates of serious infection, for Planned Parenthood to stop instructing patients such as Holly to use the abortion drug vaginally. According to a 2009 study produced by Planned Parenthood: “Prompted by the deaths that occurred after medical abortion and internal data that show a higher-than-expected rate of serious infection, [Planned Parenthood Federation of America] changed its medical abortion protocol at the end of March 2006.”

While death from abortion is certainly noteworthy, abortion – whether accomplished by an invasive surgical procedure or by taking a combination of potent drugs – carries many other inherent physical risks of harm for women.

Numerous, well-documented studies in peer-reviewed international medical journals have found increased risks after abortion. Even Planned Parenthood’s website acknowledges undisputed risks of immediate complications from abortion, including blood clots, hemorrhage, incomplete abortions, infection, and injury to the cervix and other organs. Abortion can also cause missed ectopic pregnancy, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, renal failure, metabolic disorder, or shock. Immediate complications affect approximately ten percent of women undergoing abortions.

History shows that unregulated abortion or unenforced abortion regulations allow substandard clinic conditions to compound these risks.

 

Keep reading this post . . .

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Democrats Demand Boehner Strip Issa of Oversight Chairmanship



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The confrontation on Wednesday between Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa and the committee’s ranking member, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, led to calls from Democrats for House speaker John Boehner to strip Issa of his chairmanship. 

They are angry that Issa abruptly adjourned a committee hearing and denied Cummings’s request to speak, instead instructing committee staff to turn off his microphone. 

In a letter to Boehner on Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus asked Boehner to remove Issa from his position, arguing that the California Republican’s “deplorable” conduct constituted an abuse of his authority. Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, offered a resolution on the House floor condemning Issa for his “offensive and disrespectful manner,” but House blocked it by a 211–186 margin.

Team Issa pushed back, calling the uproar the result of “fake outrage” among the Oversight Committee’s Democratic members.

“This is just their political playbook when they don’t like the facts,” Oversight Committee spokesman Frederick Hill told National Review Online. “Their past two chairmen — [California congressman Henry] Waxman and [former New York congressman Edolphus] Towns — threatened to have a member physically removed from the hearing room and changed the locks on doors to keep Republican members out. Cummings and crew didn’t seem to have a problem with those things. Hard to take their complaints now seriously. Chairman Issa has been extremely patient in the face of an organized and determined effort to obstruct oversight of the federal government.”​

Towns changed the locks on the doors of the committee room in 2009 after Republican committee members posted a video online showing Democrats slipping out the side door of the hearing room in an attempt to avoid a vote on the Countrywide Financial investigation. Waxman in 2008 threatened to have Issa physically removed from a committee hearing after Issa interrupted him while he was questioning a witness. 

In Wednesday’s hearing, Cummings made his voice heard even though his microphone had been cut. “I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America, and I am tired of this,” he shouted as members began shuffling out of the hearing room. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation,” he told Issa of the committee’s probe into the IRS scandal. “There is absolutely something wrong with that and it is absolutely un-American.” 

Web Briefing: October 1, 2014

Grover Norquist on How to Win in 2016 and 2020



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Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform stopped by to talk about how conservatives can enact reforms at the state level, shaping the electorate so that it is ready for a conservative message in 2016 and 2020.

He also explains his mysterious button that features only a single “period.”

Tags: Grover Norquist

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Scenes from CPAC



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Check out National Review’s new Flickr photo stream and see what you missed today at CPAC 2014 — Senator Pat Toomey, Representative Tom Price, Ambassador John Bolton, and more, including special #StandWithBuckley images.

House Approves Loan Guarantees for Ukraine



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In a bipartisan 385 to 23 vote, the House of Representatives decided on Thursday to provide loan guarantees to Ukraine, Politico reports. President Obama already signed an executive order to extend $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, though this vote is the first Congressional action responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Obama’s executive order also authorized the Treasure Department to issue sanctions against “individuals and entities” responsible for Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

The House bill has no cap on the amount of money the U.S. can loan Ukraine. “Ukraine is an important partner to the United States, and this loan guarantee will help stabilize the Ukrainian economy during this period of political transition,” said Representative Kay Granger (R., Texas), chairwoman of the State and Foreign Operation Appropriations Committee.

The bill will next head to the Senate where senators led by Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) will work on a “more comprehensive” aid package, set to be complete next Tuesday.

Do as We Say, Not as We Do



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Here’s an interesting story from Bloomberg View about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB likes to use the “disparate impact” approach in its regulation of banks, but the American Banker has obtained data showing that the Bureau’s own employment practices might not fare very well under this approach (which puts a premium on racial/ethnic/gender bean counting). 

“Specifically, CFPB managers show a pattern of ranking white employees distinctly better than minorities in performance reviews used to grant raises and issue bonuses. Overall, whites were twice as likely in 2013 to receive the agency’s top grade than were African-American or Hispanic employees, the data shows.”

The point is not that the CFPB is discriminating; the point is that the numbers approach is one that ought to be used very cautiously. But try telling that to the Obama administration.

Trump: Real Unemployment Rate 21, 22 Percent



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Donald Trump is an eternal favorite among the political junkies who comprise much of the audience at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

By contrast to the long line of politicians he follows on the dais, the real-estate magnate seems refreshingly candid. The audience here laughs at his jokes and encourages his bombast. 

“I saw Tiger Woods this morning, Ernie Els, and Phil Mickelson, and I told them I’m going to CPAC,” he said as he took the podium on Thursday. The crowd cheered. He mentioned that he’d been to Moscow recently, because he owns the Miss Universe Pageant, of course, and picked up a trick or two for dealing with the country’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, who has caused so many problems for President Obama in recent weeks.

“We have so many problems with so little leadership,” Trump said ruefully. 

The Trump Organization chairman also addressed the economy, calling the unemployment statistic issued by the government each month a “phony” number. 

“The 6.7 percent is probably 21 or 22 percent in real numbers,” he said of the nation’s unemployment rate. (That number ticked down further, to 6.6 percent, in January.) “When you give up looking for a job, it’s like they consider you employed,” he continued. “It’s amazing.” 

The economy’s lackluster performance on President Obama’s watch elicited from Trump a comparison that was made several times during the course of today’s events: He likened the 44th president to the 39th, telling the crowd, “I think next month we will have surpassed the late, great Jimmy Carter.”

But Trump wasn’t all doom and gloom. He predicted that Republicans will take control of the Senate in the midterm elections and that the GOP can beat Hillary Clinton if they nominate the right candidate in 2016. 

“The bottom line is very simple,” he concluded. “Make America strong again, make America great again. We have such unbelievable potential; we have to use it. We need the right leaders.” 

LaPierre: Get Ready for a ‘Bare-Knuckle Streetfight’



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Met with cheers and a standing ovation as he took the stage, National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre quickly silenced the CPAC crowd with a foreboding message that underscores the importance of the “fight for freedom” in upcoming elections.

LaPierre repeatedly railed against “the political and media elites,” and accused them each of “lying to us” on every issue from guns, the NRA, Obamacare, the NSA, the IRS, Benghazi, among other controversies that have plagued the current administration.

“One of America’s greatest threats is a national media that fails to provide a level playing field for the truth,” he said. Yet, despite those efforts, he remained confident that Americans will overcome the “webs of deceit.”

For example, he pointed to states, communities, and schools that have adopted his suggestion to have armed guards in schools. Even with gun-control activists’ efforts to dismiss his idea in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, he said the public’s interest in providing the best protection for students prevailed. “We trust what we know in our hearts to be right,” he said.

But Democrats and the media won’t back down, LaPierre cautioned. He urged the audience prepare for the “bareknuckle street fight” that will be the 2014 and 2016 elections as Democrats look to win back the House and keep the Senate and White House “with another Clinton.”

Putin’s Lost Ground



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I’m noticing a slight change in the CW about Ukraine. Until yesterday it was mainly a series of lamentations about Western weakness and half-admiring declarations about the toughness, shrewdness, and ruthlessness of Vladimir Putin. Well, those views are still being expressed, and they are not wrong or foolish. Putin is a formidable opponent, and of course he has largely run rings around Washington and Brussels, and very noticeably around President Obama.

But more and more people are beginning to notice that he has not in fact gained ground in Ukraine but lost it. Three weeks ago he had remote control of the country through his satrap, Yanukovych, who was very reluctant to break off the deal with the EU because it was popular. He was half-pressured, half-bribed to do so by Putin, and he no longer rules Ukraine. Only Crimea is still under the control of the Kremlin by methods that are causing Putin a lot of trouble. He won’t find it easy to get eastern Ukraine back onto the plantation, however, let alone the whole country. If he tries to do so by rougher methods, he could lose altogether or gain only part of the prize, again at some international and financial cost. His best bet at present is to make life difficult for Ukraine as a sort of punishment. But that’s a lot less than he had before he boldly, decisively, ruthlessly, and unsuccessfully intervened.

Views like this are being expressed in London by Andrew Lilco (on Conservative Home), Alex Massie on the Spectator website, and, er, me, on the Spectator website and in the actual magazine. If I have value to add to the new CV, it is the argument that Putin wasn’t reversed by the U.S., the EU, Germany, or any great power but by ordinary Ukrainian demonstrators (with a little help from their friends in the Polish government).

Score:

Free citizens: 2

Authoritarian governments: 0

Okay, Andrew, that’s only the score at half-time.

The Short, Unhappy Life of ‘Reset’



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My Politico column today:

The “reset” with Russia had a brief, unhappy life. It began with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presenting her Russian counterpart with a mistranslated reset button reading “overcharged.” It ended with current Secretary of State John Kerry denying knowledge of the late, unlamented policy on Meet the Press on Sunday: “Well, I don’t know what you mean by the reset.”

Memories are short in Foggy Bottom. And understandably. Who wouldn’t try to forget a geopolitical initiative that has been exposed as willful naiveté and strategic obtuseness from the beginning?

George Kennan wrote the famous Long Telegram at the outset of the Cold War. President Obama would have needed only A Very Brief Telegram at the outset of his administration: “Bush’s fault.”


 

Rutgers Hosts Female Orgasm Workshop



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University of Michigan had a BDSM class. University of Arizona had the Condom Olympics. Many more have Sex Weeks, or some variant of that sort. Now Rutgers, a public university, has jumped into the fray.

On Tuesday, Rutgers hosted a female orgasm workshop as part of a week-long event called “Sexapalooza.” Sex educators Marshall Miller and Maggie Keenan-Bolger conducted the Tuesday night event for “orgasm aficionados and beginners of all genders.” Participants came to “learn about everything from multiple orgasm to that mysterious G-spot.”

The event was particularly marketed to struggling boyfriends who want to help their girlfriends to orgasm.

Other events at Sexapalooza, which ends on March 12, include a Sex Toy Workshop, complete with a sex-toy raffle,  a lecture called “Having Great Sex,” and a Sex Fair with “condom races, condom lollipops, and education tables.”

Sex Discuss Here!, the organization that ran the event, describes the female orgasm workshop as “our most popular program.”

Via Campus Reform.

Andrew Malcolm on WFB, the Pilot



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Andrew Malcolm, currently with Investor’s Business Daily and formerly with the Los Angeles Times and Laura Bush’s press office, joins us to tell us the story of the time William F. Buckley helped land a plane into London.

Airline security was a little different back then, huh?

Tags: WFB

AEI’s McShane on Common Core and Its Critics



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Mike McShane, an education-policy research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, joins NRO at CPAC to discuss Common Core, its critics, and the sterling policy miracle-worker known as Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Tags: Common Core

IRS Employing Convict Prosecuted for Tipping Off Al-Qaeda Suspect, Wrecking Terrorism Investigation



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Prepare to be enraged — make that more enraged — over the IRS.

At PJM, my buddy Patrick Poole breaks important news: It turns out that while the tax agency was targeting conservative groups for special investigative scrutiny, it was also giving a pass to a terrorism facilitator: The IRS hired, and is reportedly to this day still employing as a “financial-management analyst,” a former police officer who had been convicted by the Justice Department for tipping off a terrorism suspect — a close associate of top al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki — to the FBI’s surveillance of the suspect. 

Patrick writes:

Weiss Russell (he has changed his name from “Weiss Rasool,” the name under which he was convicted), is currently employed as a Financial Management Analyst in the IRS Deputy Chief Financial Officer’s office.

In 2008, Russell/Rasool was prosecuted for his role in tipping off Abdullah Alnoshan, a close associate of al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and a friend of Russell’s from their mosque. According to the Justice Department’s Statement of Facts filed at the time of Russell’s indictment, Alnoshan provided license plate numbers to Russell for cars he believed were conducting surveillance on him. Russell then checked those plate numbers in the FBI’s NCIC database, which came back to a leasing company which federal prosecutors claimed would have tipped off Russell to the bureau’s surveillance.

He left a phone message for Alnoshan that the FBI intercepted.

Alnoshan, after being caught destroying evidence, was eventually deported to Saudi Arabia — deportation is not unusual when a suspected foreign terrorist cannot be successfully prosecuted for a terrorism offense because of problems in the investigation. Rasool/Russell pled guilty in 2008 to an offense involving illegal use of the database. Although the government sought a jail sentence, the judge gave him only two years’ probation.

To get hired at the IRS, Rasool/Russell would have had to complete the standard federal form and be subjected to a background investigation. As an unidentified official tells PJM, “There’s no way anyone with his conviction for abusing access to a government database and damaging a terror investigation could have been vetted and approved without outside intervention. Changing his name shouldn’t have mattered.”  

Read Patrick’s story here. Apparently following the Lois Lerner strategy, the IRS has so far not responded to his questions about Rasool/Russell.

Rep. Tom Price on the Price of Budgetary Inaction



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Representative Tom Price joins us to talk about the GOP alternative to Obamacare, how the House Republicans’ budget priorities differ from that of the administration, and whether he’s thinking of any other . . . higher positions of leadership in the GOP House.

Tags: Tom Price

What Keeps Ambassador John Bolton Up at Night?



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Ambassador John  Bolton joins us at CPAC to tell us what keeps him up at night. 

Right now, his preeminent foreign-policy worry is the deal with Iran over their nuclear program — but he also notes that China is closely watching how the West responds to Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Crimea.

Tags: John Bolton

Rubio Urges Foreign-Policy Focus: If You Think Obamacare Is Bad for the Economy, How About Chinese Hegemony?



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In a speech that earned a standing ovation at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Senator Marco Rubio focused on foreign policy and his idea of the American dream, arguing at points that an assertive American stance abroad is essential to ensure economic security.

Conservatives who “think high taxes and regulation” are hurting the U.S. economy, Rubio said, should remember global instability and insecurity could be just as costly, if not more. “If you think Obamacare is bad for our economy, which it is, so is [China] controlling the South China Sea,” he said.

Rubio repeatedly insisted that he sees the best years ahead for America, but blamed President Obama for standing in the way. He criticized the Obama administration’s efforts to raise concerns about economic inequality, arguing that “this disunity” the president’s caused is “what’s holding us back from the American century.”

But much of the speech focused on Rubio’s recommendation that America take an assertive role in the world, urging forms of engagement beyond military force. The senator warned that young Americans could “inherit a world where the Chinese decide who gets to ship products through the South China Sea, and all the countries in that region are tributaries,” North Korea has the capability to hit the West Coast with nuclear weapons, and worse.

“Without American engagement,” Rubio said, such a world is a “real probability.”

Senator Rubio, a possible 2016 contender, won attention and accolades last week when he delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor condemning his colleagues who are friendly to Cuba and Venezuela. (Rubio’s parents emigrated from Cuba in the 1950s.)

Rubio has worked to restore his reputation among conservative activists after spending much of 2013 pushing an immigration bill in conjunction with Senate Democrats. He has since moved away from support of his bill, expressing skepticism that he’d trust the Obama administration to implement it, and it hasn’t been taken up by the Republican House.

A Nobel Debate



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Augsburg College, in Minneapolis, is host to an annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum. The event convenes laureates and other interested parties. This Sunday, there will be a debate: What are the merits of the Nobel Peace Prize, and what are its demerits? Is the prize worthwhile? The debaters will be Geir Lundestad, the secretary to the Nobel peace committee, and me. For more information, go here.

While I’m in plugging mode: Those interested in my history of the Nobel Peace Prize may go here.

Ala. Democrat Says Whites Would Force Daughters to Abort Their Black Children



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In a state legislature debate on a new abortion restriction, Democratic state representative Alvin Holmes told all white proponents of the bill that they would be in favor of abortion if their daughter was going to have a black baby, according to an AL.com report.

“Ninety-nine percent of all of the white people in here would raise their hands that they are against abortion,” he said. “On the other hand, 99 percent of the whites that are sitting in here now, if their daughter got pregnant by a black man, they are going to make their daughter have an abortion.”

The proposed bill, approved by the Alabama House of Representatives and now in the state senate, would ban abortions any time after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Holmes went on to talk of a hypothetical lawmaker’s daughter: “She’s going to have a black baby running around there in the living room, in the den, with the rest of them? They’re not going to let that happen.”

When he asked a specific lawmaker if she would let her daughter have a black child, she replied, “Yes, sir.” Holmes then asked what she would do with the child after it was born. “Let it run around in my living room and enjoy it as my grandchild,” she said.

“Well, I need to commend you then,” Holmes said. “It wouldn’t be one out of 100,000 that would do that.”

Holmes’s full remarks are below:

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