Female Voter Focus Group Shreds 'Reckless' Hillary Clinton Over Email Fiasco

If Hillary Clinton wants to maintain a bunker mentality until Election Day, I would suggest switching courses. She hides while Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” for months—bad move. With the latest State Department Inspector General report that the former first lady had violated the Federal Records Act, Clinton is keeping away from the press. Her campaign maintains that she did nothing wrong, though the facts don’t hold water on that narrative. Moreover, it seems to be impacting her stance with young women voters, who have flocked to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, since they think that her private email system showed that she was “reckless,” not accountable for her actions, and played by her own rules. It’s a throwback to criticisms lobbed against them in the 1990s.

Last week, NBC News’ Chris Jansing sat down with a focus group of women voters, who pretty much savaged the former Secretary of State over her email fiasco.

“I take national security really seriously and the idea that she would have a private email server—it demonstrates someone who thinks they’re outside of the rules and not accountable. And it’s reckless,” said an undecided voter, who served in the Air Force for six years.

“Exactly,” responded another female voter in the group.

The Air Force veteran continued by saying, “the most disappointing part about all of it is that I don’t feel like she’s taken responsibility for it.”

“When people are in positions of power, they have a responsibility and a duty, to make sure that what they do is transparent. And the entire problem with this email server issue is that she’s [Clinton] not being transparent,” said another voter.

A Clinton supporter read the usual lines, like how other secretaries of state have done this, but also—in a bit of a stretch—said that Bernie supporters should view this email controversy as a criminalization of Clinton. And that Sanders’ supporters should see how these actions are somewhat in conflict with the Vermont Senator’s message of overcriminalization and criminal justice reform. The rest of the focus group roundly rejected that point.

The Air Force veteran concluded the segment by saying, it [the email server] speaks to her character…I want someone who I can trust, who I think has a character that is credible, and that I’m going to believe what that person says to me.”

After taking into account all of the exit polls from past primary contests, women voters under the age of 30 split for Sanders 68/31 over Clinton. Jansing said that this group looks at this election as an existential crisis, noting that many have student loans and want to start families.

It also proves that women are not monolithic in their voting behavior, which is a trap that many Democrats fall into when assessing the strength of their coalition. They obviously want someone who has a good character, who would be held accountable, and who does not consider themselves above the rules. That’s not Hillary Clinton.

A NBC News/WSJ poll showed that 19 percent of voters found Clinton as trustworthy and honest, while only 35 percent felt the same for Donald Trump. They’re very low numbers, but as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki noted—twice as many voters felt Trump was more sincere. Moreover, what the Clinton supporter in the focus group left out, and what Kornacki referenced, was that the State Department was never approached by the Clinton team over setting up this sort of email arrangement, and even if she did—it probably wouldn’t have been approved. Maybe that’s why “liar” is one of the most popular words used to describe Clinton.

Oh, and she doesn’t get it.

Tragic: Eight-Year-Old Venezuelan Boy Who Protested Drug Shortages Has Died

Venezuela’s health care system has been relegated to something out of the 19th century. Hospitals lack even the most basic supplies, like soap and gloves, with rolling blackouts—at times—having deadly consequences for the infants in the various maternity wards. The Washington Post’s editorial board mentioned that 200,000 Venezuelans with chronic illnesses don’t have access to medicine, though they failed to mention that left wing economics is partially responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country. Yet, for one eight-year-old boy, who protested the appalling scarcity of medicine, including the drugs he needed to fight his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his struggle ended with his death (via PanAm Post):

The eight year old whose image went viral several months ago after participating in a protest against Venezuela’s drug shortages died recently after he was unable to receive the medicine he needed.

“I want to get better, peace and health,” Sanchez’s sign read during a demonstration, which made him the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis turned Venezuela.

Oliver Sanchez was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just over a year ago, but shortages of medicines needed for treatment led him and his family to participate in the demonstration.

“We are in a desperate situation,” his mother Mitzaida Berroterán said at the time.

Sanchez’s cousin Ricardo Lobo told the newspaper Efecto Cocuyo that at the time, the child “asked for paper and a pencil and wrote the sign.”

Lobo said that what little medical care they could get ended up being by donation.

Sadly, the situation in the country is likely to get worse before it gets better. Besides the growing medical emergency, we have hungry Venezuelans going through garbage cans to find food.

NPR: Couric's 'Manipulation' Of Audio During Gun Owners' Interview 'Would Not Pass Muster' Here

It was not a good week for Katie Couric. Her new anti-gun documentary, which she also executive produced, Under The Gun, was literally put in the crosshairs after Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon discovered that an interview with gun owners belonging to the Virginia Citizens Defense League was deceptively edited to make them look like idiots. Luckily, Philip Van Cleave, president of the VCDL, released a copy of the audio showing that there was no pause, as depicted in the film.

It’s drawn considerable criticism on social media and some online publications. The film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, gave this weak sauce explanation for the pause:

“There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

Even Erik Wemple of The Washington Post found this to be utterly ridiculous:

…[W]e’ve scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse than the one in the block above. For starters, it appears to count as an admission that this segment of the documentary was edited. The artistic “pause” provides the viewer not a “moment to consider this important question”; it provides viewers a moment to lower their estimation of gun owners. That’s it.

[…]

Many of those who sampled the discrepancy between the video and the audiotape were already enraged by the depiction of these gun owners. The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends — all of it needs to happen here.

Couric had gone on the record saying, “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”

Now, we have National Public Radio tearing into the “manipulation” of this interview, noting that it would fall way short of its standards regarding interviewing practices. When you lose NPR, you know you’ve seriously messed up. It was a completely avoidable disaster:

This manipulation — and that's what it was — would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness in handling interviews.

It should be noted that documentaries operate with a different ethos than straight news. Under the Gun has a take, strongly suggesting there is a quiet consensus in favor of background checks among gun owners, aside from gun rights advocacy groups. This is not deception on a grand scale, but this handling of the interviews with the Virginia gun owners group is clearly unfair and unwarranted. People deserve to recognize themselves in how they appear in interviews.

This wound was both self-inflicted and rhetorically unnecessary — the director simply could have cut away after Couric asked the question and returned to it later. (Which the movie does in fact do, posing much the same question to Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who supports gun ownership rights.)

To show the gun owners blank-faced for an extended time didn't provide a pause for the viewer — it wiped away the notion these people had an answer to hear.

The deception reflects poorly on Couric, too. She conducted the interviews, serves as the movie's executive producer and has promoted it extensively. She saw a polished cut of the documentary before its release. She apparently expressed doubt about the insertion of the pause but failed to get it removed from the film.

Regardless, those nine seconds — fleeting moments for the film — amount to a team loss on an unforced error.

Van Cleave, the head of the Virginia gun owners group, said he came away from the interview with a largely favorable impression of Couric. He said that her questions were tough but fair, and that she played the devil's advocate but never attacked.

"Nothing in the interview made me think she would do what she did," Van Cleave told NPR. "We've got to be able to trust the press."

Pavlich added the since Couric’s documentary has been exposed for its editing, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN have ignored the story.

Young Man Pulls Over and Holds Flag Off the Ground Until Help Arrives

Cole Dotson was passing by a local school last Sunday when he noticed that an American flag had fallen to the ground. Apparently Dotson did not hesitate and immediately pulled over and lifted the flag from the ground. 

Fortunately, Cole's grandmother works for the school and came to help raise the flag to its proper position, taking a picture to capture the patriotic moment.  

Cole's mother was quite proud and wrote, "The flag fell to the ground, he saw it, stopped and held it until someone from school could come and put it back up."

“Thank you all for the support! I didn’t intend to get recognized for what I did. But I am sure glad to see the support and respect for the flag. I love this flag and this country. God bless America,” Cole wrote to his supporters.

At the end of the day, we must all remember that it doesn't matter what your occupation is, where you live, or how old you are, the American flag is bigger than anything or anyone in this country.  It is our job as American citizens to respect and uphold the integrity of what the flag means and Cole demonstrated that to all of us.    

Cole plans to join the military this summer.

De Blasio Forces Businesses to Acknowledge New Gender Identities or Face Fines

In December, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the Gender Identity/Gender Expression Legal Enforcement Guide for businesses, requiring them to acknowledge 31 gender identities. This week, the city's Commission of Rights outlined a new list of gender pronouns, including terms such as “bi-gendered,” “femme queen,” “genderqueer,” and “gender gifted.” Should employers fail to recognize these identities, they will face thousands of dollars in fines.

“The Commission can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct,” the commission's report reads. 

Here is just one example of what the commission cites as a violation.

Prohibiting an individual from using a particular program or facility because they do not conform to sex stereotypes.  For example, a women’s shelter may not turn away a woman because she looks too masculine nor may a men’s shelter deny service to a man because he does not look masculine enough. 

De Blasio is the latest PC police chief to bully citizens into bowing to social justice. America’s ultimate social justice warrior, President Obama, sent a letter to public schools earlier this month demanding they enforce new bathroom and locker room guidelines for transgender students. Boys who identify as girls and vice versa can use whichever facility they feel comfortable in, regardless of birth certificate, the White House ordered. In other words, inclusivity was more important than safety. 

Parents were outraged, but that means little to politicians who have a politically correct agenda.

New York businesses are going to be walking on eggshells thanks to the mayor's new policy. With the ever changing gender dictionary, how are employers to know if they’re being insensitive or not? One wrong word and they could be thousands of dollars poorer. 

Ouch: Libertarian Frontrunner Gary Johnson Gets Booed at Party's Convention

Libertarians seemed skeptical of their party’s frontrunner Gary Johnson at the Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando, Florida this weekend, after he picked former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his running mate last week. Weld was derided by attendees as “Republican-lite” and not a true Libertarian, which could prove problematic for Johnson considering that at LP conventions, the presidential and vice presidential nominees are chosen separately.

Things took a turn for the worse, however, when Johnson tried to defend his choice after rival Austin Petersen criticized him over it.

“It’s time for us to stop nominating failed Republicans, and start nominating successful Libertarians,” Petersen said. “In 2012, he didn't endorse Ron Paul, he didn't endorse you, he endorsed Mitt Romney. In 2016, he endorsed John Kasich. Why didn't your VP pick endorse you?"

Johnson admitted at a convention forum that choosing Weld was “beyond my wildest dreams” but tried to win over critics nonetheless, even saying that Weld was “the original Libertarian.” As you can imagine, this did not sit well with those in attendance, who promptly booed that response.

Weld himself also didn’t do much to win over the Libertarians in attendance, particularly at Friday night’s debate during which he seemed to stumble through responses.

Weld did little to help himself at a Friday night vice-presidential debate in which he got a chilly reception from the hardcore audience of Libertarian true-believers. Asked who did more damage to America — President Obama or President George W. Bush — Weld gave a classic politician answer. “I’d rate it a tie,” he said. He used the word “miasma” in his closing statement.

At one point, Weld said he would stay in the United Nations — an idea anathema to many in the crowd — and said that when people think of Libertarians they often think of “unattractive people” in their neighborhoods.

Weld advocated cutting taxes. One of his opponents yelled, “Taxation is theft!”

“He just didn’t make the case,” delegate Will Tyler White said about Weld, reports Politico.

Weld said he wasn’t worried about the cool reception he’s received thus far, but did tell Politico “the convention is highly unpredictable.”

“[H]aving two former Republican governors who were successful in blue states — who knows — that could turn out to be a negative in the minds of delegates. Stranger things have happened,” he said.

Most expect Johnson to walk away from the convention the party’s presidential nominee, but whether Weld will be chosen as VP remains to be seen. 

WaPo Editorial Board Averse To Blaming Socialism For Venezuela's Stunning Collapse

The Washington Post’s editorial board thoroughly documented the plight of Venezuelans, noting the lack of basic supplies, medicines, and food. They note how hospitals are seeing a dramatic increase in dead and dying babies, whose care is impacted immensely by the rolling blackouts. Over 200,000 Venezuelans are living with chronic illnesses and don’t have access to the medicines they need to survive. They do note how current President Nicolas Maduro is somewhere in fantasyland, enacting a state of emergency for 60 days, and putting tanks and troops on the streets to stop a supposed American invasion.

In short, the op-ed was riddled with how the nation has devolved into a catastrophic failure, and that the political system horrifically dysfunctional:

Thus does the delusional heir of Hugo Chávez drag a country of 30 million people, with the world’s largest oil reserves, over a cliff. By most measures, Venezuela is already a failed state: Amid crippling shortages of food, medicine, power and water, every societal ailment is soaring. Inflation is headed toward 700 percent, and the murder rate is probably the world’s second-highest, after El Salvador’s. According to the New York Times, deaths of infants under a month old in public hospitals are 100 times more common than three years ago, while a coalition of nongovernmental organizations says at least 200,000 people with chronic illnesses lack the medications for them.

An April poll, reported by the Miami Herald, showed that 86 percent of Venezuelans said they bought “less” or “much less” food than they used to, while only 54 percent said they ate three times a day. No wonder there have been numerous reports of mobs sacking food warehouses, as well as dozens of instances of vigilante lynchings of suspected thieves. In one particularly horrific case reported by the Associated Press, a man was burned alive outside a Caracas supermarket for allegedly stealing the equivalent of $5.

Thanks to Mr. Maduro and the corrupt and incompetent coterie that surrounds him, this chaos is likely to grow steadily worse. The regime has refused to adopt measures that might stanch the economic hemorrhaging, such as adjusting an exchange rate system that values the dollar at a fraction of its market value. It has meanwhile pursued a scorched-earth strategy toward opposition political parties that won two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly in December.

This month, Mr. Maduro issued a patently unconstitutional decree granting himself the power to ignore the congress and run the economy by fiat. The regime-controlled constitutional assembly has rejected every measure adopted by legislators, including an amnesty for political prisoners. Most seriously, the electoral authority is effectively refusing to respond to the opposition’s collection of 1.8 million signatures on a petition for a recall election — a recourse explicitly authorized by the constitution.

Yet, there is one thing that’s omitted by the publication: 21st Century Socialism is a disaster, and it’s led to the very problems that Venezuela is experiencing right now. Newsbusters noted the glaring omission. Yes, the nation’s budgetary apparatus was way too attached to oil prices, but allocating those funds with a hard left economic ideology was only going to bring misery the likes we are witnessing right now.

It’s got to the point where hungry Venezuelans are now sifting through trash trying to find food.

It’s Official: Rubio Is Not Running For Re-Election

After much speculation, former 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is not running for re-election. He said he might have considered it more seriously if his friend–Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera—wasn’t running. Heat Street was on a conference call with Rubio and Lopez-Cantera, where the Florida Senator urged the top donors present to back the lieutenant governor in the Senate primary:

Despite rampant speculation that Sen. Marco Rubio was reconsidering running for reelection to his Senate seat, the Florida Senator intends to keep his word and leave at the end of his term. In fact, Rubio was on a phone call with major donors Friday morning to urge them to support his friend, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Heat Street has learned.

The call was hosted by Trey Traviesa, who served in the Florida House of Representatives when Rubio was Speaker. Traviesa has been a long-time fixture in Rubio’s fundraising circles and was also a member of Mitt Romney’s national finance team.

Both Rubio and Lopez-Cantera were on the call. Two sources close to Rubio confirmed to Heat Street that Rubio was on the call to make it clear that he was not running for reelection and to urge the donors to support Lopez-Cantera financially. ”He was pitching CLC [the nickname for Lopez-Cantera] hard to these guys,” one source told us, laughing at how the call was taking place at the same time as media stories were flooding social media that Rubio was thinking of getting back in the race.

According to our sources, Rubio described to the donors how critical Florida would be to keep the Republican majority in the Senate, and said that Lopez-Cantera was the Republican candidate best suited to win in November. Heat Street has been unable to confirm the identities of the major donors who were on the call, but they are reportedly heavy hitters in the Republican fundraising world, and Rubio encouraged them to do everything they could to raise as much as possible for Lopez-Cantera.

Street added that Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, and even Donald Trump, have been urging Rubio to run for his seat this year, but apparently to no avail. Now, Rubio said he’s pretty much on the Trump train, even throwing the possibility of speaking at the Republican National Convention on the billionaire real estate magnate’s behalf (via USA Today):

This past week, the Florida senator told reporters he’ll not only vote for Trump, he'd be willing to speak on his behalf at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. And he didn’t rule out the possibility of serving in a Trump administration.

Rubio said his apparent shift isn't that hard to understand. Supporting Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is an easy choice, he said, compared to the prospect of a Hillary Clinton victory at the polls in November.

"Donald Trump will sign the repeal of Obamacare. She won’t," Rubio told reporters Thursday. "I want the successor to Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court to be a conservative. I believe that’s the kind of judge that he’ll appoint, and I know she won’t. I want someone that will defend life. I know he will and she won’t."

Rubio said Trump earned his status as the GOP presumptive nominee at the ballot box.

"He campaigned and the voters chose him," he said. "I respect that process. And so I’m going to support him. I’m going to vote for him.”

Rubio took some serious flak for the reversal. Yet, is he wrong? I was never a Trump supporter, even saying that the billionaire would never win the nomination, let alone the general election. Oh my have the tables have turned—but that’s politics. At times, things don’t go your way. Republican primary voters have spoken and they want Trump. These are the cards we’ve been dealt. Again, you don’t have to support Trump right now. Some may never support Trump, but at least we can agree that we’re all anti-Hillary, right? I don’t know if I can take the plunge for Trump. It’s a debate that might rage until Election Day, and this goes for a rather substantial proportion of the GOP. What I don’t think is helpful is for the party to engage in this unicorn search of finding someone to mount a third party bid. It’s going to split the party, and more critically, waste valuable time attack Hillary. Can that be the détente position? You don’t have to back Trump, but you should do everything you can to defeat Hillary Clinton. The other part of that equation can be decided, in private, in the ballot box on Election Day.

Sanders, Radio Hosts Get Into Testy Exchange Over Whether A Left Wing Agenda Can Work When Government Is So Bad

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump are making the rounds in California ahead of the June 7 primary. Trump has already clinched the Republican nomination, but Sanders and Clinton are still duking it out, despite the fact that Clinton is the likely nominee. Yet, as Sanders campaigns throughout the Golden State, the hosts of the John and Ken Show on KFI Radio got into a rather testy exchange with Sanders over his agenda and the efficiency of government in a recent interview that was transcribed by Buzzfeed.

The hosts noted that Sanders platform is far left, dotted with items like free college and universal health care. But they’re main question was how is this going to work, let alone garnering more support for these programs, when you hear stories about the inexcusable waiting times (and appalling care) at Veterans Affairs, along with the pervasive failure over at the Transportation Security Administration. Some of these security lines have resulted in travelers waiting hours to be screened prior to boarding. Airlines are not happy with the deteriorating situation. Recently, a top official dealing with was removed from his position as head of security for the TSA, though he had collected $90,000 in bonuses despite no improvements with the security line situation.

The impetus for the heated exchange was connected to a question asked concerning Sanders calling out Disney CEO Bob Iger for not paying his workers a living wage. Iger, a Clintons supporter, responded of Facebook, noting that that Disney has created thousands of jobs in the U.S.—and asked the self-described Democratic socialist what he has done to improve the U.S. economy, which has been minimal to say the least. The hosts then asked Sanders

HOST: “You didn’t answer the main question about what jobs have you created. It’s pretty vague, your background. What have you done in your life?”

SANDERS: There’s nothing vague—

HOST: I’m not really clear on what kind of jobs you’ve had, besides Senator.

SANDERS: I have been in the U.S. House of representatives and actually before that, I was a mayor of 8 years. You ever been to Burlington, VT?

HOST: Yeah, but have you ever not been paid by taxpayers?

SANDERS: All right, look, if you don’t like government my friend, that’s fine. I’m proud of the record I’ve established as a mayor, making Burlington, VT, one of the more beautiful small cities in America, proud of my record in the House, proud of my record in the United States Senate. You don’t like government? That’s your point of view. I am proud of what I have accomplished.

HOST: All right, let me ask you about that because obviously your proposals expand government a lot, cost a lot of money, when it comes to free health care, free college educations, when we look at the government and we see the VA feeding cockroaches to veterans in Chicago—

BERNIE: All right, you know—

HOST: We see the TSA—

BERNIE: Hold on—

HOST: What is it that you see about the government that we don’t between let’s say the TSA and the VA for example?

BERNIE: What I see is—apparently you love the work that Wall Street is doing—

HOST: No, no, you’re generalizing.

BERNIE: Wait a second! Can I respond to you?

HOST: No, we don’t, but you’re generalizing, that’s not fair. What do you know about us?

SANDERS: Why did you just—you just told me that the VA is feeding cockroaches. I was chairman of the Veterans committee. Millions of veterans every day are getting high-quality, uh, health care. Now, in some instances, the health care is inadequate and people are doing a bad job—of course, it’s a huge healthcare system. You don’t think that happens in private hospitals? You don’t think that happens in private doctor’s offices? So the answer is, yeah, if the question is, do I believe that government should play an important role in making sure that elderly people can live in dignity so that we have decent social—

HOST: That wasn’t my question!

SANDERS: Excuse me! Can I—excuse me!

HOST: My question was about—

SANDERS: Wait a minute, you know, you invited me on the program. And I’m happy to be on the program. And I’d like to answer your questions, but I have to respond. I do believe that government should make sure that all of our people earn a decent minimum wage by raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Yeah I do believe the United States should join every other major country on earth in guaranteeing health care to all people.

HOST: My question about the VA was, it’s pretty clear from the scandal the last couple of years that the veterans are waiting weeks and sometimes months. Sometimes, they’re dying before they get an appointment and sometimes the supervisors are lying about the waiting lists and lying about the response time. And in Chicago, they’re breathing in black mold at the nursing home and they’re being served cockroaches. It seems like there’s a lot of dysfunction spread around the country. What I want to know is, it would help get more support for your ideas if we saw the TSA running properly, the VA running properly, and similar agencies that the public has to deal with.

SANDERS: Well, I think it goes without saying that we want all of our government agencies to run as cost-effectively and as efficiently and as well as possible.

HOST: Why don’t they?

SANDERS: Excuse me. But if you all think that the private sector today is doing just a great job, let’s talk about Wall Street’s greed which drove this country into the worst economic recession and the fraud, the rampant fraud that exists on Wall Street who paid $5 billion, Goldman Sachs paid $5 billion to the government as a settlement because they were selling worthless subprime mortgage packages. You can talk about corporations that are shutting down all over America and moving to China where they pay people a few bucks an hour and bring their products back into this country.

Sanders then said he had to run, but hoped to continue this discussion at a later date. The total cost of Sanders’ agenda is a staggering $33 trillion over the next ten years, which would add $21 trillion to the national debt. Oh, and the projected $15.3 trillion in tax increases aren’t going to be enough to pay for this left wing goodie bag.

Huh? MSNBC's Brian Williams Says We Dropped Atomic Bombs On Japan 'In Anger'

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell discussed President Obama’s speech at Hiroshima, where he said, “death fell from the sky,” and where he hoped for a nuclear-free world. It was the first time a sitting president had visited the city, which we decimated in one of two atomic bombings during World War II that ended with Japan surrendering to the United States, ending humanity’s most destructive war.

Mitchell referenced the work of former U.S. Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Sam Nunn (D-GA) for their work in trying to curb the spread of nuclear material, where Brian Williams added that we used nuclear weapons against Japan “in anger” (via NewsBusters):

ANDREA MITCHELL: And Brian, just a word to two men that you knew very well, Dick Lugar and Sam Nunn, the fact that they had this nuclear threat initiative and that they controlled through a bipartisan act of Congress, controlled the spread of nuclear materials, non-state actors and materials even in this age of terror, all these decades after the end of the Cold War is just remarkable and I don't think they get enough credit for it.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: It is and that is still the threat that people worry about that this material will fall into the wrong hands. If people have found the U.S. to be preachy in the years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki about the use of weapons, it’s because we’re the only nation to have used them in anger. Sometimes, I am amazed that the world has been without these weapons all the years since, but it is a point of, a great pride by the people who have seen to it.

Mitchell then thanked Williams, and NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss, for “helping us understanding the context better.” Beschloss had compared Obama’s speech to John F. Kennedy’s 1963 address at American University. Both the United States and the then-Soviet Union were discussing whether to implement a nuclear test ban treaty.

Yet, the notion that anger was seemingly the primary motivating factor in dropping atomic bombs is nonsense. We did it to end the war. Period. Williams previously stated on the broadcast that between 300,000 to 1 million Japanese were killed in the serial and incessant bombing campaigns we conducted throughout the country prior to dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One could make the argument, like the late Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, that proportionality should have been considered prior to the use of nuclear weapons. Of course, I disagree. I’ve already written about the outrageous casualty projections made at the time by the Joint War Plans Committee for our planned ground invasion (Operation Downfall) of the island nation, which would have soared into the hundreds of thousands for our forces—and into the millions for the Japanese. The atomic bombings were conducted to save lives and end a horrible war. It was a moral act. Given that Obama’s visit has somewhat rehashed the debate as to whether nuking Japan was necessary, are liberals more disconcerted about the method in which we decided to end 262,000 Japanese lives, or is it the death toll itself?

Again, if liberals and historical revisionists are aghast at the death toll from just the atomic bombings, they seem to forget the 300,000 to a million that were killed prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki through our sustained air campaigns. At least 100,000 men, women, and children were killed when we firebombed Tokyo in March of 1945—where’s the outrage over that act? When you take a look at the casualty estimates for the ground invasion, the very conservative ones show that over 1.2 million Japanese and American lives were saved through the atomic bombings. How is that immoral? It is not.

We should never be apologetic, hesitant, or ashamed, at using weapons at our disposal that bring wars to a swift end.

Friday Fun: National Spelling Bee Recap

Last night was the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and for the third year in a row, it ended in a tie. Eleven year-old Nihar Janga and Jairam Hathwar, 13, tied to share the highest honor in spelling after Janga nailed "gesellschaft" and Hathwar got through "Feldenkrais." At this point in the competition, the list of words had been exhausted and co-champions were declared.

This was Janga's first year at the Bee. Hathwar's brother Sriram was co-champion at the 2014 Bee.

Of course, half the fun of the Bee is the drama of the competition, and this year didn't disappoint. Between the dab, an Adele reference, and a few other lighthearted antics, this year's Bee was full of moments nearly designed to go viral.

Still, silliness aside, the competition was fierce and nail-biting. Janga could have clinched a solo victory twice, but tripped up on spelling "ayacahuite" and "tetradrachm," meaning the competition would continue.

Despite the fact that Bee organizers had changed the rules to attempt to prevent ties after the back-to-back tie finishes of the 2014 and 2015 bees, the list of championship words was no match for Hathwar and Janga. The two competed for nearly three full hours.

Perhaps the most talked-about moments at the Bee were Janga's antics. After clapping in Hathwar's face when he missed a word...

The Texas native threw up the "X" (reminiscent of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant) to celebrate his victory.

Bryant approved.

Off the stage, the Scripps official Twitter account was having quite a bit of fun. Their correction of a troll's attempt to mock the Bee went viral and the user eventually deactivated their account.

Next year's Bee will be held in late May.

Bernie Sanders Asked About Failures of Socialism in Venezuela and Refuses to Comment

It's no surprise Democrat Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is an advocate of socialism. He's openly advocated for socialist policies on the 2016 campaign trail and back in the 1980s, Sanders argued bread lines are a sign of economic progress. 

"You know, it's funny. Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is when people are lining up for food. That's a good thing. In other countries, people don't line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death," Sanders lamented at the time. 

But now that Venezuelan socialism is leading to the downfall of the country, with citizens hunting dogs and cats for food as the government fails to equally provide, Sanders doesn't have much to say. 

During an interview with Univision this week, Sanders was specifically asked about the current failing of socialist systems throughout South America. Sanders avoided commenting. MRC has the video and transcript: 

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: I am sure that you know about this topic: various leftist governments, especially the populists, are in serious trouble in Latin America. The socialist model in Venezuela has the country near collapse. Argentina, also Brazil, how do you explain that failure?

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: You are asking me questions…

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: I am sure you’re interested in that.

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: I am very interested, but right now I’m running for President of the United States.

LEÓN KRAUZE, UNIVISION: So you don’t have an opinion about the crisis in Venezuela?

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Of course I have an opinion, but as I said, I’m focused on my campaign.

Sanders is focused on his campaign while Venezuelans are focused on surviving.

Univision, Telemundo Report On Venezuela’s Socialist Disaster, ABC, CBS, and NBC…Not So Much

If the majority of Americans are unaware of the pending collapse of Venezuela, blame the Big Three (CBS, NBC, and ABC). They have yet to cover the economic catastrophe that’s unfolding in a nation that once prided itself as a beacon of 21st Century Socialism. Low oil prices and left wing social programs have brought on what’s increasingly becoming a humanitarian crisis that’s impacting every aspect of the country’s socioeconomic sphere. It’s truly awful. Donald Trump may have attacked Telemundo and Univision, but they have done a much better job reporting on Venezuela’s disastrous conditions. The Media Research Center crunched the numbers and found that the Hispanic news networks had between 26 to 33 minutes of coverage for the month of May, while ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News have only mentioned Venezuela in reference to the Zika virus:

Unlike their English-language counterparts at ABC, CBS and NBC, however, between May 1-23 America’s top Spanish-language television networks, Univision and Telemundo, have dedicated 33 reports and nearly an hour of coverage to the convulsive developments in one of the world’s leading oil-producing countries. And unlike both Spanish-language television networks’ coverage of domestic U.S political developments, which tends to favor the liberal Obama administration, the dominant narrative in Univision and Telemundo’s coverage of Venezuela has been decidedly hostile to the Socialist government in power.

While ABC, CBS and NBC have ignored the economic disaster in Venezuela, all three networks have only mentioned Venezuela in their coverage in the context of the Zika virus outbreak. Meanwhile, during the May 1-23 period under study, the top Spanish-language television network in the U.S., Univision, dedicated over 30 minutes of coverage to the ongoing political and social crisis in Venezuela. Almost 15 minutes of that time took place during Univision’s Sunday public affairs show, Al Punto, including an interview with Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Specifically, Univision and Telemundo have shown their viewers the severe shortages of basic necessities like food, medicine and personal hygiene products, riots and looting around the country, as well as growing clashes between state security forces and demonstrators seeking to remove Maduro from power. This sample from Telemundo below is indicative of the coverage.

Liberal PAC Backs Canova Over Wasserman Schultz in Primary Race

Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had a tough week. First, Democratic candidate for president Bernie Sanders endorsed her primary challenger and helped fundraise for him, then there were reports that some congressional Democrats wanted her out of her position as DNC chair before the nominating convention in July.

Now, progressive PAC Democracy for America has also thrown its support behind her primary challenger, Tim Canova.

“DFA members are backing Tim Canova in this race for Congress, not for who he supports or who supports him, but because he has spent his life challenging the power of Wall Street banks, multinational corporations, and the systemic political corruption that keeps them profitable at the expense of everyone else,” DFA Chairman Jim Dean said in a statement.

“Simply put,” he continued, “if Democrats are going to be the party that confronts the wealthy and powerful who dominate our political process and enable growing income inequality, we need political revolutionaries like Tim Canova in the U.S. Congress.”

Canova welcomed the endorsement.

“DFA members in our district are overwhelming in support of our campaign. They understand that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has failed us by standing with Republicans and corporate interests against the people of South Florida,” he said. “This district deserves a nominee who will stand with working Americans, not wealthy elites. I'm glad to have them on board as we continue to build a grass-roots campaign that believes in progress for all.”

Based on their reasons for supporting Canova, it’s not surprising that DFA has also endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential contest. 

The Week in Cartoons

This past week was certainly an interesting one. From the arrival of a superbug to concerns over Zika to a bizarre comparison of lines at the VA to waiting for Space Mountain, it was full of bizarre headlines. In addition to all of this, the 2016 election chugged along per usual.

Here are the ten best cartoons to sum it all up:

1.

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4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Venezuelan Socialism Is So Great That Starving People Are Now Eating From Garbage Cans

Fox Business’ Elizabeth McDonald has obtained some horrifying footage of hungry Venezuelans eating from the garbage, as the nation continues its death spiral brought on by a dependence on oil and socialist tendencies. In April, the nation’s chamber of food noted that food producers had about 15 days of inventory left. Mass looting of supermarkets has ensued. It’s become so bad that there are reports of Venezuelans hunting dogs, cats, and birds for sustenance. Rolling blackouts are common, which has impacted hospitals, which lack basic medical supplies, including soap and gloves. Things have become so bad that dead and dying babies are becoming the norm.

Now, on top of hungry Venezuelans prying into trashcans, the nation could be on the verge of defaulting on its massive debt (via Fox Business):

People in the nation’s capital, Caracas, have resorted to eating and fighting over old food thrown away in garbage bags outside shopping malls where restaurants are located.

"They're ripping through garbage bags searching for food, the government says this is not happening, but we are very hungry here in Venezuela," says a male bystander on camera. A local says: "We are starving, we are eating dog food and food meant for farm animals."

Another video shows drivers in Venezuela pulling over to join in the ambush and looting off grocery trucks. That is what happened on the national highway to Puerto Ordaz, in southern Venezuela, where the country's largest oil reserve and a major steel operation is located. The National Guard is shown on camera standing back, not doing anything.

"People are starving, the last resort for them is to loot and steal rice," one bystander says on camera. "The National Guard is here but no one is paying any attention to them at all, they're letting it happen."

[…]

The situation in Venezuela is growing more desperate by the hour as its unraveling socialist economy is trapped in a debt vice. The collapse in oil prices has Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Hugo Chavez, desperately fighting to avoid a default on its $185 billion in debt. Wall Street and government sources indicate that would be the largest default in history, with Venezuela’s debt about double the roughly $100 billion in debt Argentina had when it defaulted in 2001. Estimates of the amount of assets and reserves remaining in Venezuela that could be used to pay back its debt have ranged from Bank of America Corp.’s $50 billion to as low as Nomura Holdings’ $10 billion. Venezuela’s foreign reserves have sunk to their lowest levels in 13 years.

Law and order has reportedly broke down, with children’s lunches being stolen by hungry “thugs.” Coca-Cola has halted production due to a sugar shortage—and toilet paper has become a luxury item. It’s just a complete mess.

Surprise: Media Ignores, Makes Excuses For Katie Couric's Deceptive Edit to Make Gun Owners Look Bad

Earlier this week Washington Free Beacon reporter Stephen Gutowski busted longtime liberal activist and journalist Katie Couric for deceptively editing video in her new documentary, Under the Gun, to make gun owners look uninformed. She also framed them as supporters of terrorists and felons. 

As a reminder, from Couric's film: 

What actually happened: 

Couric is refusing to apologize for the move, as is her producer and the rest of the Under the Gun team. Couric's friends in the media are also giving her cover. 

According to the Media Research Center,  ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC all ignored the story. Fox News covered it. 

The New York Times refused to acknowledge the obvious edit:

I'll leave you with this:

Brutal: MSNBC Panel Dumps on Hillary's Email Lies For Seven Straight Minutes

The perfect bookend to my previous post today, in which I flayed Hillary Clinton and her defenders for their evolving dishonesty in light of a "devastating" new Inspector General report that undercuts and explodes various lies she's told for more than a year to spin away her national security-compromising email scandal. Here is the Morning Joe crew just slamming her updated talking points, which are unadulterated garbage. Rather than perform another in-depth fact check, I'll let MSNBC (!) do the heavy lifting, as they've done before, to their credit. Seriously, watch the whole thing. "Everything she said in there was just a lie:"

The only half-hearted defense floated in the entire segment comes not from Hillary supporter Mika Brzezinski, but by a Politico reporter, who suggests that perhaps not adhering to some email rules really isn't that big of a deal in the scheme of things. What this point completely misses, as Joe Scarborough points out, is the consequences of Hillary's deliberate failure to follow those rules or alter her behavior in the face of serious warnings. Because she used her unsecure bootleg server exclusively for all of her email use, she trafficked in thousands of classified emails -- including dozens at the secret, top secret and above top secret. That's the biggest reason the Powell comparison is fundamentally dishonest. In the extremely likely event that her server was penetrated by foreign hackers (the new report reveals Hillary's email guru being forced to shut down the server because it was under sustained malicious attack), hostile actors have all of that information. Information that the State Department deemed so sensitive and potentially harmful to US interests that they declined to release 22 emails in any form whatsoever, even with heavy redactions. That's the point here. National security. Hillary's arrogance is obnoxious, of course, but the stakes here are much higher than that.

I'll leave you with an additional reminder: The one big claim the Morning Joe panel didn't get around to tackling is her assertion -- replayed at the front end of the clip -- that she's turned over all of her work-related emails. She said this, by the way, while attempting to explain away why she was the only former Secretary of State approached by the IG who refused to cooperate with this independent investigation. The fact is that she and her lawyers unilaterally deleted 32,000 emails from that private server, which the IG's findings reveal she set up for the express purpose of 'thwarting records requests,' as the New York Times  has put it. Of those destroyed "personal" emails, we know for a fact (thanks to other hacks) that at least a handful of them were actually work-related. Would anyone else be surprised if there are additional work messages that magically disappeared with that batch of 32,000? If she'd wanted to be fully transparent, she would have submitted to supervision from a trustworthy independent entity (like the IG) during the deletion process. She did not, by design. Perhaps the only people who know the full truth are a small cadre of Clinton loyalists...and maybe the FBI.

Cruz Intends to Prevent Trump From ‘Watering Down’ Pro-life Language in RNC Platform

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is concerned how Donald Trump’s meandering record on abortion will affect the Republican Party platform. In a conversation with radio host Pat Campbell on Friday, Cruz vowed to prevent the eventual GOP nominee from pressuring the Republican National Committee from watering down its pro-life agenda.

“You have my word. One of the reasons that we are continuing to work to elect conservatives to be delegates, even though Donald has the delegates to get the nomination, we intend to do everything we can to fight for conservative principles to prevent Washington forces from watering down the platform," Cruz said. "The platform is a manifestation of what we believe as a party, and I think it is important that it continue to reflect conservative values, free-market values, constitutional liberties, Judeo-Christian principles, the values that built this country, and that is exactly what I intend to fight for.”

When he was still hot on the presidential campaign trail, Cruz routinely placed Trump’s waffling pro-life agenda in the spotlight, reminding voters that the businessman was proudly pro-choice in the 1990s. In April, when Trump said he “absolutely” plans to change the RNC platform to make allowances for abortion in cases of rape and incest, Cruz said his remarks proved he really is a "New York liberal.”

Trump's abortion comments are especially disconcerting, Cruz said, considering RNC Chairman Reince Priebus suggested the platform is fluid and will be up to the convention delegates to decide this summer at the convention.

Yet, the chair insisted the party’s pro-life tenets will be upheld.

"I think our platform is pretty clear on those subjects. Life begins at conception, and that 14th Amendment rights apply to unborn children."

Will Priebus' promise appease the pro-life movement, or should conservatives be worried about the Republican Party’s dedication to pro-life values come this July?

Clinton Saying That ‘Nothing Has Changed’ Regarding Emails ‘Is Not Borne Out By The Facts'

Yesterday, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski asked if Hillary Clinton was “lying straight out” over her email fiasco after a new State Inspector General report noted that she had violated the Federal Records Act by deleting emails she deemed to be personal. Now, we have The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that the Clinton campaign’s position in this controversy is “not borne out by the facts.”

Mitchell played a clip from Clinton’s interview with Univision on her reaction to the IG report:

“Well, there maybe reports that come out, but nothing has changed. It’s the same story. Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email—many people did. It was not at all unprecedented. I have turned over all of my emails—no one else can say that.”

Cillizza wasn’t having any of it:

“I mean, yeah—it’s not right. You can think this is a small issue or a big issue in the campaign, or no issue in the campaign, but what she said there is not borne out by the facts.”

He added that this report did look back at her predecessors, and that Secretary of State Colin Powell did have a private email address. But no one before her had exclusively used a private email for official business—“that is did not have a state.gov email address set up at all.” Moreover, Cillizza said that the rules over communications concerning government officials got stricter over time, so the rules “and what was allowable there” are not the same under Clinton.

Lastly, he said the report noted that this private system shouldn’t have been set up in the first place, and that the inspector general couldn’t find any evidence that Clinton and her team conducted a legal review over whether she could use a private email system.

In closing, Cillizza said, “What Secretary Clinton said there is not entirely accurate frankly. There are just facts that we know that have been unearthed by the independent—the independent inspector general’s office, and there’s an FBI investigation into her email set up. This is not just partisans talking back and forth.”

Earlier this month, CNN’s Jake Tapper took Clinton to task for saying that her email server was “absolutely permitted.”

“No, that’s no true. She says that because she permitted herself and there was no one absolutely prohibiting her,” he said. He concluded by saying, “A reminder to all the politicians out there. You’re perfectly entitled to your own opinions, not to your own facts.”

The Clinton campaign still contends it did nothing wrong

BONUS: Be sure to read Guy's post about how MSNBC's Morning Joe ripped into Clinton over her emails this morning. 

Yes, Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan Was A Good Thing

Editor's Note: In light of President Obama's visit to Hiroshima, I've re-published this post from last week. Please read Cortney's post about Obama's speech.

***

Today, President Obama visited Hiroshima. It was the first time a sitting president has done so. Of course, we’ve entered another arena of liberal debate: were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ethical/justified/moral? The answer is yes to all three. First, let’s delve into something a bit disconcerting, which is that an increasing number of Americans feel that the bombing was wrong (via WaPo):

In the first Gallup poll from 1945 just after the bombings, a huge 85 percent of Americans approved the bombings. However, figures from 2005 show a significant decline to 57 percent. Meanwhile, another poll conducted by the Detroit Free Press in the United States and Japan in 1991 found that 63 percent of Americans thought that the bombings were justified in a bid to end the war, while just 29 percent of Japanese did.

When Pew followed up on that question in 2015, they found that the numbers of people who thought the bombings were justified had dropped in both America and Japan — to 56 percent among Americans and just 14 percent among Japanese. The total percentage of people who thought the bombings were unjustified stood at 79 percent in Japan, up from 64 percent in 1991. In America, those who thought they were unjustified rose to 34 percent, from 29 percent in 1991.

[…]

This change may have contributed to a generational shift seen in Pew's research: Just 47 percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old said the use of atomic weapons was justified when asked last year, compared to 70 percent of those 65 or older.

We nuked the Japanese, so you can bet that approval for these bombings weren’t going to reach high points. Granted, the majority of Americans still approve of the bombings and think it was justified. For my generation who appears to be confused (and it’s not just this issue), I suggest watching Ken Burns’ The War, or read any history book that deals with the Pacific theater or World War II—specifically the twilight months of the war. The Battle of Okinawa saw the entire 100,000+ Japanese garrison annihilated, with American casualties soaring over 70,000 in 82 days of combat. If the bombs weren’t dropped, total American casualties were expected to be at least 500,000, while the Japanese were projected to be at least a million maybe more.

Just looking at Japan’s southern most home island, Kyushu, the casualty rate alone was estimated to be over 100,000, according to the Joint War Plans Committee (via  CIA):

On 15 June 1945, the Joint War Plans Committee submitted its draft of the requested paper to the Joint Planning Staff. (24) The paper presented essentially the same case for an invasion of Kyushu that had been made in the earlier debates preceding the operational directive of 25 May. It also incorporated the same forecast of Japanese forces (six combat divisions, two depot divisions, 350,000 men) that had been presented in intelligence estimates going back to mid-1944.

In response to the presidential request for casualty estimates, the Joint War Plans Committee report laid down strong caveats on uncertainty and emphasized that the level of opposition and the time required to complete the operation could result in major variations. The report then offered the following figures as an "educated guess"

The JWPC assessment did not give a specific breakdown for each area individually, but a nominal breakdown can be derived by comparing the component figures given for each scenario. For example, the differences between the second and third scenarios for total casualties and numbers killed are 87,500 and 21,000, respectively. The operational difference between these two scenarios is the inclusion or absence of an attack on the Tokyo Plain. Thus, an interpretation could be made that the estimated casualty total for the attack on the Tokyo Plain was 87,500, including 21,000 killed. Subtracting these figures from the first scenario would yield figures for southern Kyushu of 106,000 total casualties and 19,000 killed, and a similar calculation shows 26,500 total casualties and 6,000 killed for northwestern Kyushu.

[…]

Attacking Kyushu would have meant invading an island many times larger than Okinawa; southern Kyushu alone is well over twice Okinawa's size in square miles. Kyushu was initially expected to be garrisoned by Japanese ground combat forces roughly three-and-one-half times the size of the forces on Okinawa. (82) Kyushu also had a civilian augmentation potential many times greater than Okinawa's. The initial estimates by the Joint War Plans Committee and MacArthur's staff of casualties that would be incurred in capturing southern Kyushu (105,000-106,000) were a little more than twice the Okinawa total.

By the first week in August, the estimated total of Japanese Army and naval ground combat troops on Kyushu was more than six times what it had been on Okinawa. Intercepted communications had been showing Japanese preparations to employ the same kinds of suicide attacks and other unconventional tactics and devices that had caused so many casualties in the Okinawa operation. The number of US Army and Marine troops to be committed in the landing was about three times the force that had been launched against Okinawa.

These figures are insanely high, and the Japanese were ready to fight to the death if Operation Downfall went into effect before President Harry Truman decided to use atomic weapons. PBS noted that Kyushu’s invasion plan–codename Olympic–had a casualty rate range of 31,000 for the first 30 days to 280,000 total. This does not include the Coronet phase­–the invasion of the largest island, Honshu, which includes Tokyo, which Truman did not sign off. Given what we know, more people would have been killed, Japanese and American combined, if we hadn’t used nuclear weapons against Japan. It was the right thing to do. It was the moral thing to do. Between the two bombings, 262,020 people were killed. This includes Japanese civilians who were instantly killed by the bombs and the radiation fallout that ensued.

Subtract the very conservative casualty rate (on both sides) of 1.5 million with that of those atomized in August of 1945, and you get 1,237,980. That’s a lot of saved lives—and that figure is probably higher since the Japanese casualty rate would certainly be in the millions. The atomic bombings saved lives and ended mankind’s most destructive war. Prolonging this theater of carnage would be immoral. Losing over 100,000 for an island that was to be used as a staging ground for the main island assault is ridiculously high. By these figures, more people (on both sides) would’ve died on Kyushu and those Japanese vaporized in Nagasaki. Is it because the two bombs were atomic?

If so, that’s a very silly reason. For months prior to the atomic bombings, Americans were bombing whole slates of Japanese cities, destroying at least 25 percent of its urban areas. In some instances, whole cities would be bombed back to the Stone Age. In one night, the United States killed over 100,000 civilians when we firebombed Tokyo in March of 1945. Where’s the outcry over that act, which went into the books as the most destructive air raid in history.

The late former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara gave a good counterpoint to the atomic bombings when he doled out how much of each Japanese city was destroyed by American airpower in the 2003 documentary The Fog Of War. He was trying to explain how proportionality should be a guideline in war. And that the destruction of the country’s cities through our serial air raids should’ve been taken into account when we dropped the atomic bombs. I still disagree due to the fact that the Japanese weren’t going to surrender, and (again) it would’ve saved millions of lives looking at the total butcher’s bill from the operation.

The atomic bombings weren’t pleasant. In fact, they were horrible. But so would’ve been sending millions of Japanese and hundreds of thousands of American troops into the meat grinder when two bombs ended up being the closing chapter in this brutal fight. Yes, there’s the argument that Truman wanted to scare the Russians. Yes, we sort of lucked out since the Japanese thought we had more atomic bombs—we didn’t. Nevertheless, they surrendered, and countless lives were saved. That’s rather righteous.

United Methodist Church Backs Off Abortion

The United Methodist Church has done a 180 on abortion. After years of supporting the Roe v. Wade decision, the church voted at its General Conference to split ties with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, as well as to repeal a resolution that supported a woman's right to an abortion at any point of her pregnancy.

Delegates meeting in Portland, Ore., voted 445-310 to repeal their 40-year-old resolution supporting Roe vs. Wade, and 425-268 to withdraw from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, whose pro-choice stance extends to late-term and sex-selective abortions.

The votes came in the came quadrennial session in which delegates sidestepped controversy over the denomination's bans on ordaining GLBT clergy and officiating at same-sex weddings by establishing a committee to consider the issues.

Wow. That's certainly a step in the right direction from one of the last remaining churches to endorse abortion. Let's hope that this vote sparks conversations to change the hearts and minds of members towards embracing life.

Donald Trump Releases Energy Plan

Donald Trump has released his energy plan, dubbing it an "America First Energy Plan" that focuses on fossil fuels, fracking, and the Keystone Pipeline. He claims that his plan will focus on ensuring that regulations will be good for the American worker. Trump praised North Dakota as an area that has been revitalized due to increased energy production.

Here is my 100-day action plan:

  • We’re going to rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
  • We’re going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
  • I’m going to ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
  • We’re going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas
  • We’re going to revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.
  • We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
  • Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. We will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.
  • Any future regulation will go through a simple test: is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

Trump emphasizes that the plans put forth by Hillary Clinton will harm the American economy and result in massive job loss.

Video: Feisty Debate With Democratic Operative Over Hillary Email Scandal

I joined Fox News' Gretchen Carlson yesterday afternoon to discuss Donald Trump's official clinching of the Republican nomination, and to debate the latest developments in Hillary Clinton's national security-endangering email scandal. In the first part of the segment, I reiterated that while I do not intend to vote for Trump personally, Republican voters have spoken. In response from Democratic strategist Bernard Whitman's attempt to bait me into supporting Hillary, I slapped that down in no uncertain terms, before pivoting to Hillary's email scheme. Via Right Sightings:

"I applaud Bernard for trying, but there's no spinning those facts."

Whitman leans heavily on the specious "other Secretaries of State did it too" argument, which we've addressed and refuted in depth. He also echoes the campaign by trying to pin this on Republican desperation, which is transparent nonsense, considering that the report was authored by an independent watchdog appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by a Democrat-controlled Senate.  In fairness to Whitman, there aren't many good arguments to make in Hillary's defense here, which is why her spokesman struggled at length on CNN to explain why his boss had refused to cooperate with the Inspector General probe -- while constantly claiming that she's been fully cooperative and historically transparent, or whatever:

Eventually, Fallon casts utterly baseless aspersions on the integrity of the IG: "There were questions raised about this office during the course of its investigation. There were reports about individuals in this office coming forward and suggesting that there were hints of an anti-Clinton bias inside that office."  The Clinton camp also attempted to besmirch the intelligence community IG (another Obama appointee, confirmed by Democrats) when that office was telling inconvenient truths about her unconscionable conduct.  Groundless, preposterous smears are all they have.  And laughable, incoherent excuses:

Pure rubbish.  Mrs. 'Fully Cooperative' and her top staff stonewalled the State Department's IG because she was talking about the scandal publicly?  That makes no sense.  Plus, much of what she's been saying for "many, many months" has been proven false, including by key elements within the report she hampered.  I'll leave you with NBC's Andrea Mitchell referring to the IG's findings as "devastating," in a very tough Morning Joe segment, and a screen grab that speaks for itself:

Watch: Democrats' Ads Link GOP House Candidates To Trump

House Democrats have released expensive ads connecting their Republican opponents to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) made a five-figure investment in a video campaign ad titled "Building Blocks" yesterday. The clip comes in 30 and 60-second versions, showing several blocks labeled with various issues and footage of Republican lawmakers.

"Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are built on the same reckless policies," a woman's voice narrates. Watch the entire clip, which is unlisted (unsearchable) on YouTube, below:

The clip targets independent and Republican female voters, bringing up conservative lawmakers' views on abortion, Planned Parenthood, and LGBT rights. Each shot of Trump is coupled with footage of a congressman who shares his opinion on these issues.

The video declares that the House Republicans are "Anti-Choice" and "Anti-LGBT." Footage of Trump voicing his support of "traditional marriage," and "some form of punishment" for abortion plays alongside these messages.

"Donald Trump’s ascension as the Republican presidential nominee means House Republicans will be on the Trump ticket in November, a deeply damaging and unavoidable reality," the DCCC said in a press release Thursday. "Further, Trump’s mantle as the leader of the Republican Party shines a national spotlight on the anti-immigrant, anti-women’s healthcare, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT positions of the House Republicans, positions they staked out long before Trump launched his campaign."

Though it targets 15 specific districts and their local candidates, the video also includes Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's comments against funding Planned Parenthood with taxpayers' dollars.

"I’ve always believed that, even before these disgusting videos came out," Ryan says in the clip.

Homeland Security Chairman Peter King is featured saying there are "too many Mosques" in the US, in conjunction with Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.

A clip of Steve King, a congressman for Iowa's fourth district, shows him commenting on immigrants, saying, “For every one who is a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and have calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

The online ad will run for the next two weeks during the congressional Memorial Day recess. The ad can be found on the DCCC website, but can only be found on YouTube through the video link above.

The New York Times lists the following candidates as targets:

In New Jersey, Scott Garrett; In New York, John Katko, in New Hampshire, Frank Guinta; in Maine, Bruce Poliquin; in Nevada’s third district, the Republican primary field; in Nevada’s fourth district, Cresent Hardy; in Illinois, Bob Dold; in Minnesota’s second district, the Republican primary field, in Minnesota’s third district, Erik Paulsen; in Colorado, Mike Coffman; in Iowa, Rod Blum; in Arizona’s first district, the Republican primary field; in Florida, Carlos Curbelo; in Pennsylvania, Brian Fitzpatrick; and in Virginia, Barbara Comstock.