Cruz Warns Indiana Voters: Trump Is a 'Pathological Liar,' 'Think About Your Children'

Speaking to the press in Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday, Ted Cruz unloaded on Donald Trump perhaps more than he has at any point in the 2016 campaign. The Texas senator warned Hoosiers that Tuesday’s primary will have national significance and that a victory for Trump will jeopardize American values.

In his remarks, Cruz called Trump "narcissistic" and a "pathological liar." Then, Cruz reminded voters that Trump once admitted he doesn’t like to ask God for forgiveness.

“What does that say” about him? Cruz asked. “I’ve asked for forgiveness three times already today.”

Trump’s bullying and lack of humility are not presidential qualities, he argued.

“Think about your children,” Cruz pleaded. “This is not who we are. This is not our values.”

Cruz’s testy press conference comes a day after his combative 7-minute exchange with a Trump supporter on Monday. The senator offered the voter information about Trump’s not-so-conservative record on guns, etc., but the sunglass-wearing voter insisted on calling him “lyin’ Ted.” Safe to say, Cruz didn’t win his vote.

If Hoosiers come out today and deny Trump another victory, it “will change the entire trajectory of this campaign,” Cruz said. “Indiana can do it.” 

Heidi Cruz: My Husband Is Definitely Not the Zodiac Killer

Sen. Ted Cruz's wife Heidi has addressed the bizarre-yet-slightly-humorous meme that says Ted is the Zodiac Killer. According to Heidi, she's pretty certain her husband isn't the Zodiac (especially since he was born after the first crimes took place), but the "garbage" on the internet doesn't bother her.

From Yahoo:

Heidi spent Monday morning traveling across Indiana in support of her husband’s presidential campaign. At a cafe in Carmel, Yahoo News asked for her reaction to a series of jokes Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore made at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night where he repeatedly called her husband “the Zodiac Killer.”

“Well, I’ve been married to him for 15 years and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn’t bother me at all. There’s a lot of garbage out there,” Heidi said.

Despite Heidi's confirmation of something we already knew, the meme just won't die:

...sigh.

Killed in Combat: Navy SEAL Shot While Advising on Front Lines Against ISIS

The Defense Department has confirmed a Navy SEAL working on the front lines near Mosul as an advisor to Peshmerga troops has been killed by ISIS small arms fire. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is acknowledging the SEAL was killed in combat, a term the Obama administration has avoided using to describe two previous U.S. troop casualties in the fight against ISIS since 2014. 

Earlier today Carter announced an American serviceman had been killed, but the details were not released.

The military official said the soldier was killed by "direct fire" after Islamic State forces penetrated the peshmerga forces' forward line. The American was three to two to three miles behind that front line before the attack was launched, the official added, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.  

‘Political Asteroid’ Incoming: Trump Leads GOP Opponents By 34 Points In California

In April, radio host and commentator Hugh Hewitt noted that he doesn’t see how GOP frontrunner Donald Trump could get to 1,237 delegates by the time the Republican Party has their nominating convention in July. Speaking with MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, Hewitt’s rosy hypothetical gave the billionaire 51 of Indiana’s 57 delegates, but added that he wouldn’t nab any in Nebraska, South Dakota, or Montana. At the time, Trump needed 392 delegates to reach 1,237. Hewitt’s projections after 14 of the remaining 15 contests placed Trump only at 273. That would mean Trump would need to clinch 119 of California’s 172 delegates, which Hewitt said he doesn’t think is possible, unless a “political asteroid” hit the Golden State. Well, from the latest poll, Mr. Trump has a whopping 34-point lead, so that asteroid might be incoming (via the Hill):

Donald Trump leads his GOP presidential rivals by 34 points in California ahead of the state's primary on June 7, according to a poll released Monday.

Trump is at 54 percent support, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 20 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 16 percent, according to the SurveyUSA poll published by ABC7.

All three candidates spoke at the state GOP convention over the weekend, and California is the final major state with delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination up for grabs.

[…]

The survey of 2,400 Californians, including 2,011 registered voters and 529 likely GOP primary voters, was conducted April 27–30.

That’s almost insurmountable, though Hewitt said the Cruz team is organized in California, whereas Trump isn’t. Let’s see what happens.

Republicans Halt Obama HHS Nominee Over California Abortion Mandate

Congressional conservatives are taking a stand against the Obama administration’s abortion agenda by blocking one of the president’s Health and Human Services nominees. Until the White House investigates whether California is unlawfully forcing health insurers to cover abortions, Mary Wakefield, the deputy HHS secretary candidate, will have to wait.

The Senate Finance Committee, led by Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), is placing an obstacle before Wakefield – not out of personal animosity, but concern for the right to life and religious freedom in California. A couple of years ago, the state’s department of health mandated that insurers provide coverage for abortions as a “medically necessary procedure.” As a result, some churches and Catholic institutions were forced to violate their religious beliefs. Pro-life groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation condemned the directive as discriminatory and filed lawsuits against the state’s department of managed health care, but the mandate remains.

The rule, Hatch and others argue, violates the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits any kind of discrimination against insurers who opt out of abortion coverage. The HHS Office for Civil Rights began an investigation into the matter in December 2014, but as of today it seems little progress has been made.  

While Wakefield may not have been privy to California’s biased law, she will be used as a symbol of resistance until the administration proves it is seriously looking into this intolerant decree.  

ICE Gets More Taxpayer Money For Fewer Deportations

In the real world, Americans don’t typically get paid more money for doing less work than they were before, but this is the government we’re talking about. Thus, it’s only fitting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received more taxpayer money in the last few years despite the fact that the agency has deported 43 percent fewer illegal immigrants from 2012 to 2015.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

ICE deported nearly 410,000 aliens in 2012 when it received roughly $2.8 billion in taxpayer funds. In 2015, the agency expelled just 235,413 aliens but received around $3.5 billion to fund its deportation programs, according to the DHS statistics.

Deportations dropped by 174,436 over the past three years despite an increase in funding totaling more than $680 million, according to statistics highlighted Monday by the Senate subcommittee on immigration and the national interest.

In total, ICE was shown to have received around $3,901 more in funding for each illegal immigrant it failed to deport over the years.

“ICE removed nearly 43 percent fewer total aliens from the United States in FY 2015 than it did in FY 2012—and nearly 62 percent fewer aliens from the interior of the United States,” the subcommittee found, adding that from 2012 to 2015 the agency's budget for detention and removal grew roughly 25 percent.

And the reason for the decrease in deportations? Lawmakers placed the blame squarely on the Obama administration’s policies.

“This dramatic decline in deportations is the direct result of policies implemented by the Obama administration to get around plain law passed by Congress,” the subcommittee noted.

O'Reilly: Trump Will Be Nominee, Even if Cruz Wins Indiana

Many have called Indiana’s primary a do-or-die state for Sen. Ted Cruz, but Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly isn’t convinced.

On CBS’ “The Late Show,” Monday evening, host Stephen Colbert wanted to talk about Indiana, and specifically, understand “what the hell is going on” with the race.

To O’Reilly, Indiana isn’t as big of a deal as the media is making it out to be because Trump can’t be stopped, he said.

“I called the race three weeks ago for Trump—you can’t stop him,” O’Reilly told Colbert. “And what the media does—the TV media—they try to get the horserace so you watch, but it was over three weeks ago after New York.”

The Democratic race has also been over for weeks now too, he added.

 “Same thing with Hillary Clinton. Feel the Bern all you want but the Bern’s gonna be in the refrigerator. And Clinton’s gonna be the nominee… so it’s Hillary versus Trump.”

If Cruz manages to pull off a win in Tuesday’s Indiana primary, it will give the Texas senator “a little bit of a thing to hang on to,” O’Reilly said, “but it’s still gonna be Trump.”

 For his part, Cruz says he’s staying in the race as long as he has a “viable path to victory.”

“I am competing to the end and the reason is simple,” he said on the campaign trail. “If Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump become president we’ll see liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court and we’ll see the Heller decision overruled, which means the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms will be stripped away from every law abiding American. If we allow the next president to be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump we will see the same economic stagnation, we will see taxes rising on the American people. We will see jobs going overseas."

Panetta Reflects on Bin Laden Raid: I Wouldn’t Have Guessed Al Qaeda Would Metastasize Like It Has

Five years ago on Monday, justice was served. It was the day President Obama gave the order to send a group of Navy SEALs into Abbottabad, Pakistan to find and kill Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader behind the September 11 terror attacks.  In a new CNN special Monday night entitled "'We Got Him': President Obama, Bin Laden and the Future of the War on Terror," Obama offered new insight into the minutes and hours leading up to the decision to give the green light on the successful raid.  

“Everybody had had their say by the time I made my decision,” Obama told CNN’s Peter Bergen.

“We had prepared as well as we could,” with the limited information they had received, he added.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta joined Wolf Blitzer on CNN Monday night ahead of the network special to weigh in on the new developments. What is Panetta surprised to know about the terror threat now that he didn’t know then? Blitzer wondered.

“I would not have guessed Al Qaeda would have metastasized as it has,” and give way to even more terrifying terror cells like ISIS.

While there continue to be elements of Al Qaeda that are dangerous, ISIS, he said, is a clear and present danger that deserves more of our attention. Al Qaeda was a central threat, but ISIS is dispersed and more difficult to track, he explained.

Blitzer also asked Panetta why the U.S. has not been able to capture Al Qaeda leader Al-Zawahiri.

“It’s not for lack of effort,” Panetta said. The former CIA director thought it would be a “matter of time” before we pinned him down and he’s “not sure” why it hasn’t happened. Yet, he is confident they will find him.

One other interesting exchange between Panetta and Blitzer came when the CNN anchor asked if the former CIA leader thinks Pakistani leaders were intentionally hiding Bin Laden.

“I’ve never seen clear evidence,” Panetta answered. “But I’ve always suspected someone down the line… knew he was located in that area.”

Nice Try: Transgender Woman’s Story About Harassment At North Carolina Bathroom Seems To Be A Lie

Oh, here we go again. It’s another story of harassment against the LGBT community that appears to be a tall tale. Transwoman Alexis Adams said she was “humiliated beyond belief” when security guards escorted her out of the Transit Center in Durham, North Carolina. Her offense: using the woman���s bathroom and taking a selfie. Yet, security camera footage showed something very different (via Fox8):

“I couldn’t think. I couldn’t speak. I was speechless,” she said. “It was embarrassing. I was outed in front of everybody.”

The Durham woman said she wanted to make a statement by going into a woman’s restroom and snapping a selfie in the mirror.

She said a custodian confronted her when she came out of the stall and she was escorted out.

The city of Durham owns the Transit Center and recently released surveillance footage of the alleged incident after the original story was aired.

Adams can be seen in the video entering the public bathroom alone. About four minutes later, a custodian enters. Shortly later, Adams can be seen leaving the restroom by herself.

That’s not exactly being escorted out by security, Ms. Adams. When confronted with the footage by Fox8, there was prolonged silence followed by Adams saying, “You had to be there to witness it.” Without a doubt, the LGBT community faces harassment and discrimination, but this story appears to be a hoax. Did Adams not know that there were surveillance video cameras on the premises? Moreover, stories like these make it harder for actual victims of discrimination to come forward.

As Christine wrote, in Austin, Texas, a gay pastor alleged that a Whole Foods baker wrote an anti-gay slur on his cake. As it turns out, the whole episode was a giant lie. First of all, the baker who handled the cake is also part of the LGBT community, so major fail there. Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist broke down this hoax, listing rules for the precious cupcake brigade when it comes to manufacturing a hoax. Rule number one was picking a believable villain.

For Adams, saying “you had to be there” doesn’t cut it. Either security escorted you out, or they didn’t. From the footage, it appears this never happened.

WSJ: Hillary Has Some 'Explaining to Do' in Coal Country

Remember when Hillary Clinton proudly claimed she would put coal miners and coal companies "out of business?" She may have hoped those comments would not be a factor in the West Virginia and Kentucky primaries, but now that the primary schedule has brought her to coal country, it's all too clear that voters have not forgotten her controversial pledge. 

Soon after Clinton made the remarks at a CNN town hall in March, she walked them back, knowing they may come back to bite her in the Appalachia. In a letter to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), she admitted she made a mistake and insisted she had coal miners' backs.

That apparently did little to convince West Virginians. Recently, officials told Manchin the Clintons were "not welcome" in their town and Bill Clinton, who did manage to enter the state, received an icy reception from protesters who interrupted his speech over the weekend. 

As the Wall Street Journal notes, she has some explaining to do

Will Hillary's coal comments jeopardize her chances in West Virginia and Kentucky? Will it matter?

Update: Hillary was also confronted at a campaign stop on Monday by a laid off coal industry worker who asked her how she could dare ask for their friendship. In her response, Clinton insisted her remarks were "taken out of context."

The Republican National Committee released the following statement from spokesman Michael Short, who says that Clinton cannot have it both ways on an issue important to Appalachia voters.

“If Hillary Clinton really stood with coal country she’d be calling on the Obama EPA to stop taking a wrecking ball to their way of life," Short said. "Given her steadfast support for Obama’s War on Coal, her promise to ‘put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business’ may have been one of the few honest moments she’s had this entire campaign.” 

Ben Shapiro: Donald Trump is a Liar and He's Lying to You

Is Donald Trump a liar? Yes. Ben Shapiro has all the details surrounding what he's lying about and who he's lying to. 

Poll: Ohioans Want Kasich To Leave The 2016 Race

A new poll shows that nearly half of Ohio voters think that their governor, John Kasich, should drop out of the 2016 election. Curiously, more Ohio Republicans want Kasich to drop out than Ohio Democrats. Reasons for wanting him to drop out include concerns that he's neglecting his gubernatorial duties and that he's wasting taxpayer money.

PPP's newest Ohio poll finds voters in the state are getting sick of John Kasich's Presidential campaign. Only 38% think he should stay in the race, compared to 49% who think it's time for him to drop out. Those numbers have shifted substantially from early March when 52% of voters wanted him to continue on in the race and just 34% thought he should drop out. And the numbers for Kasich when it comes to dropping out are actually even worse for him with Republicans than they are with Democrats- 58% of GOP voters in Ohio think it's time for him to let it go, compared to only 33% who think he should stay in.

Kasich has only won his home state of Ohio, but came in second in four of the last five primary contests. He has 153 delegates, which is fewer than the 167 won by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who dropped out of the race in March.

Is it time for Kasich to pack it in? Or should he hold out and try to win an improbable victory in Cleveland?

Ouch: Pro-Abortion Emily's List Just Lost a Bunch of Elections

As the country becomes increasingly pro-life, with America's largest generation of Millennials leading the way, the extreme pro-abortion movement is suffering and failing to resonate with voters on election day. 

Last week, the pro-abortion lobbying group EMILY's List got crushed in a series of primaries, prompting supporters to question their strategy moving forward. More from Roll Call

Katie McGinty won Pennsylvania’s Senate Democratic primary last week thanks in part to a major investment from EMILY’s List, which spent nearly $2 million to help her overcome a difficult opponent.

It was the only good news on an otherwise dreadful night for EMILY's List which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights — the group also lost a quartet of races that has Democratic strategists questioning if its political operation requires a strategic reassessment.

Its most high-profile defeat was in the Maryland Senate Democratic primary, where an astounding nearly $3 million spending binge couldn’t prevent Rep. Donna Edwards from falling to fellow Rep. Chris Van Hollen by about 15 points.

But Edwards's defeat wasn’t the only stinging shortfall: Three other House candidates who had been endorsed by EMILY’s List also failed to win nominations in their Democratic primary races. In each case, the endorsed candidate lost badly.

The majority of Americans, including women, believe late-term abortion should be illegal. EMILY's List candidates, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, refuse to detail what, if any, restrictions should be placed on abortions.

Back in 2012 NARAL President Nancy Keenan resigned and lamented about a lack of young pro-abortion leaders to fuel the movement. As the country changes, the abortion movement is suffering from a lack of activists and a lack of single issue, abortion voters.

ICYMI: Criminal Justice Reform Nabs Four More Republican Sponsors

While the news cycle has been dominated by 2016 election politics, especially the antics of Donald Trump, there’s a critical battle on the Hill that seeks to create a fairer criminal justice system, which currently bleeds taxpayers $80 billion a year. Recently, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 has been subject to discussion among lawmakers, which garnered support from four additional Republican senators­–Thad Cochran (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK)­–last week.

Holly Harris, executive director of the U.S. Justice Action Network, commented on this development, saying:

American taxpayers are spending too much money locking up too many people for far too long – and we aren’t getting the public safety return we deserve. On behalf of our eight partner organizations representing conservative and progressive views, we applaud Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy and the bipartisan group of Senators who have worked so hard on legislation that safely reduces the federal prison population and makes our justice system fairer and more effective. We urge the full Senate to bring this legislation to a vote.”

Even veterans groups are starting to get behind the effort. On April 14, Dan Caldwell, Vice President for Political & Legislative Action with Concerned Veterans for America met with Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Sen. John Boozman (R-MO). Caldwell also a drafted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), urging the chamber to move “swiftly” on this bill, especially since the bill includes a provision that would assist veterans released from federal prison.

There has been resistance to this effort from the left and right. During the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference in March, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a Democrat, viewed this as a “Trojan horse” effort that will do nothing but shift costs from the federal level to the state and local municipalities. He also said that there is no such thing as a nonviolent drug offender, and added that statistics don’t mean much to the parent who’s trying to do everything they can to keep their kid safe and alive, while the drug dealer is on the street corner every day. Taking that element off the street is a big deal to those people. That’s a fair point. Things are viewed differently at the street level, but let’s not disregard facts and statistics. You simply can’t in any serious conversation on policy.

At the conference, Townhall ran into Derek Cohen, Deputy Director for the Texas-based Right On Crime, and Joe Luppino-Esposito, a policy analyst with the organization, where they noted that a lot of the rhetoric against criminal justice reform deals with some folks “unable to see the forest for the trees.” Esposito added that there is an argument that taking the low-level drug dealer off the streets might create an aura of safety, but the replacement for that dealer will be on the streets before he (or she) could be processed by authorities. It’s an expensive whack-a-mole game that doesn’t tackle who is really the source of the problem regarding drug trafficking: the kingpins.

Cohen also mentioned that back in the 1980s, we had a spike in violent crime, drug use, and trafficking, though criminology and policy discussions relating to the subject was in its infancy. There were no abstract concepts. Looking back, everyone agrees that the various tough on crime measures did reduce crime by 20 percent—but the question is what accounts for the remaining 80 percent.

Esposito said that it’s here where Clarke’s “we don’t need to be smart on crime, we want to be serious on crime” starts to look like nothing but a good slogan because it’s hard to take someone seriously when you shut yourself off from the facts, and the facts are there. He added that it would make a lot for sense to look at the 40 states that have initiated criminal justice reforms that Right on Crime has advocated to do something serious about crime, incarceration, and the costs associated with both.

Jason Pye, an ally in the criminal justice reform fight and communications director for FreedomWorks, said at the time:

Speaking for FreedomWorks I appreciate David Clarke’s service; I’m sure he means well, but what we know is that the policies of the last three decades have increased the number of prisoners, what we call mass incarceration. We have 2 million people in prison across the country that stay in federal and local jails…we know it costs $80 billion a year. What we’ve seen at state levels, states like Texas and Georgia, they implemented sentencing reforms and corrections reforms that reduced the cost.

Pye added that Texas saved $3 billion over roughly a ten-year period. Georgia started in 2011, and they saved $265 million. These are real savings that could be invested elsewhere. Recidivism rates have dropped–nine points in Texas alone–due to work training, education, and giving them the ability to be productive citizens.

Concerning Clarke’s remarks about statistics not mattering to parents at the street level, Pye said that people in that camp are just making emotional appeals. The argument is that we want our communities to be safe, but what we have seen in Texas (after their 2007 reforms) are crime rates dropping to their lowest levels since 1968.

He also mentioned cases, like Weldon Angelos, who is serving a 55-year jail sentence without the possibility of parole for dealing $1,000 worth of marijuana in three separate police stings, while also possessing a firearm. Yes, Angelos broke the law and deserved to go to prison, but as a first-time offender, did he deserve what’s pretty much a death sentence? When he is released, he’ll be around 80 years old. Even the judge who sentenced him feels the punishment is outrageous (via ABC News):

As a result, Angelos may not live long enough to experience freedom again. His case has haunted the federal judge that put him there.

"I do think about Angelos,” said Paul Cassell, a now-retired federal judge in the Utah circuit. “I sometimes drive near the prison where he’s held, and I think, ‘Gosh he shouldn’t be there. Certainly not as long as I had to send him there. ... That wasn’t the right thing to do. The system forced me to do it.”

[…]

Paul Cassell, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, now teaches law at the University of Utah. But he says the Angelos case still weighs on him, which is the reason he agreed to speak to “Nightline” about his ruling, something federal judges rarely do.

When Cassell delivered his ruling in the Angelos case, he was quick to point out how severe the sentence seemed compared to other, violent crimes.

“If he had been an aircraft hijacker, he would have gotten 24 years in prison. If he’s been a terrorist, he would have gotten 20 years in prison. If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55-year sentence? I mean, that’s just not right,”

And circling back to the costs, the taxpayers are set to eat a $1.5 million bill for keeping Angelos a guest of the government.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) signaled at the beginning of this year that he will lead the charge against criminal justice reform on Capitol Hill, with Pye commenting that maybe he should consult with his own governor, Asa Hutchinson, who backs such overhauls in our system. He also said that one only has look at Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina - all Republican states that have initiated criminal justice reforms, to see that they’ve reaped public safety dividends.

Keep in mind, no one is advocating that people convicted of drug offenses should be set free or get no jail time, but when the length of prison time for a first-time drug offender exceeds that of a terrorist or a child rapist, there’s something inherently unfair and unjust about that sentence. Moreover, it’s a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

Religious Freedom Around The World Further Declines

Just as press freedom around the world has been steadily declining in recent years, religious freedom is also under attack. 

“By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last Annual Report in 2015.   From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in this report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide," a new report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom states.  "[These] are crises in their own right which cry out for continued action on the part of the international community, including the United States.   To be effective, such action must recognize the unmistakable fact that religious freedom is a common thread in each of these challenges, and deserves a seat at the table when nations discuss humanitarian, security, and other pressing issues.  The United States and other countries must fully accord this right the respect it deserves and redouble their efforts to defend this pivotal liberty worldwide."

The report suggests the State Department add Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syrian and number of other countries to its list of "countries of particular concern."

"ISIL threatens the region, Iraq’s stability, and human rights and religious freedom for all Iraqis. ISIL’s violent religious and political ideology allows for no space for religious diversity or freedom of thought or expression," the report states. "The group has deliberately expelled minority communities from their historic homelands, forced them to convert to ISIL’s version of Islam, raped and enslaved women and children, and tortured and killed community members, including by stoning, electrocution, and beheading. ISIL has targeted all of Iraq’s smallest religious minority communities; its ongoing actions could well mark the end of ancient religious communities in northern Iraq."

In March, Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared ISIS is carrying out genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

You can read the entire report here.

Watch: Trump Supporter Calls Cruz "Lyin' Ted" To His Face

A small altercation took place on Monday between a Donald Trump supporter and Ted Cruz that may be a small representation of this year's entire primary race.  

Ted Cruz, the valiant conservative, tried and tried to inform the Trump supporter of his efforts in Washington, D.C. to topple the big-government machine.  

Time and time again, the Trump supporter was not having it and called Cruz "lyin' Ted" repeatedly.  

This is but a small dose of the mood in America.  

Watch:

Pakistani Interior Minister Not Happy with Trump's Prisoner Comments

In a recent interview on Fox News, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said that if elected he would free Shakeel Afridi, a man widely credited for tracking down Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  

Trump said he would get Pakistan to free Afridi "in two minutes," saying that Islamabad receives massive amounts of aid from the United States.

“I think I would get him out in two minutes. I would tell them [Pakistan] let him out and I’m sure they would let him out,” he said.

"Contrary to Mr. Trump's misconception, Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America," Pakistani Interior Minister Cheudhry Nisar said in a statement on Monday.

“Shakeel Afridi is a Pakistani citizen and nobody else holds the right to dictate to us about his future,” he affirmed.

These statements come on the fifth anniversary of the killing of Bin Laden.

Afridi has been accused in Pakistan of running a fake vaccination campaign in which he purportedly collected DNA samples to help the CIA track down Bin Laden. 

Obama Administration Moves Forward With Stripping Gun Rights Through Social Security

Late last week President Obama announced a new push for additional federal "smart" gun technology funding. After grabbing headlines and much attention, the move received praise from gun control groups like Michael Bloomberg's Everytown and criticism from law enforcement, the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 

But an issue flying under the radar in Obama's announcement is the Administration's decision to move forward with gun control measures through the Social Security system. Late last year it became clear if an individuals needs financial help managing Social Security benefits, the agency can deem that person mentally unfit to purchase a firearm. This policy is already in place at the Veteran's Administration, where people who have been assigned a "representative payee" have been permanently placed into the NICS background check system as ineligible to purchase a firearm without due process, a hearing or a trial. As background from the LA Times, bolding is mine:

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.

The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."

There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.

If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by "representative payees."

The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.

Last week, the Obama administration reiterated plans to push for policies in the Social Security Administration to place those who need a representative payee into the NICS no-buy background check system, stripping their Second Amendment rights without due process.

The Obama administration also posted online Friday a proposed regulation from the Social Security Administration that officials believe could help keep guns out of the hands of people who are not allowed to own a firearm because of mental illness.

A summary of the draft proposal said the Social Security Administration would identify people who receive disability payments because of mental impairment or because they are not competent to handle their own affairs, and would provide information on them to the Justice Department four times a year to include in the F.B.I.’s gun-purchase review system. The Social Security Administration would also notify those people — thought to total about 75,000 — that they are banned from buying or possessing a firearm under federal law.

Needing help to manage one's finances is not mental illness, despite the White House classifying it as such.

The use of the Social Security system to strip elderly persons of their Second Amendment rights when they apply for financial management help is alarming and legislation has been introduced to stop it. 

The Social Security Beneficiary 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act, sponsored by Texas Congressman Sam Johnson, would prevent the agency from placing those who need financial help into the gun background check system. The legislation is waiting for a vote in Congress. 

In the meantime, the Obama administration is using federal agencies to implement unfair, unconstitutional policies that take away the Second Amendment rights of tens-of-thousands of Social Security recipients. 

North Korea Just Temporarily Banned Weddings, Funerals, And Leaving Pyongyang

Kim Jong-Un has banned weddings, funerals, and free travel out of the capital city for the duration of the Worker's Party of Korea's gathering. The last gathering took place in 1980, and the banning of special personal events is to prevent any "mishaps" from happening that could disrupt the event.

The Worker's Party of Korea is North Korea's ruling party.

Weddings and funerals have been banned and Pyongyang is in lockdown as preparations for a once-in-a-generation party congress get underway in North Korea.

The ruling Worker’s Party of Korea, headed by the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, is due to stage the first gathering of its kind for 36 years on Friday.

Free movement in and out of the capital has also been forbidden and there has been an increase in inspections and property searches, according to Daily NK, which claims to have sources in the country.

The temporary measures are said to be an attempt to minimise the risk of “mishaps” at the event, according to Cheong Joon-hee, a spokesman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry.

This is disgusting, and so, so sad for the people of North Korea. A person should have the freedom to get married or remember a loved one on any day they wish--not just a day the government says it's permissible.

Situations like these are partly why I get so upset when politicians try to claim that there's somehow a better situation in North Korea than in the United States. North Koreans have no freedom whatsoever, and it doesn't seem likely that anything is going to change any time soon.

2016 RACE ROUNDUP: Inconsistent Polling and Big Stakes Produce a Fascinating Indiana Contest

Inconsistent polling out of Indiana indicates that Tuesday will be anyone’s primary to win or lose. Some polls show Donald Trump cruising to a comfortable win, while others have Ted Cruz as the clear victor. The stakes are high in the Hoosier State for the first time in 40 years. A little over 24 hours from now, could we have a Republican nominee? A win for Hillary Clinton in Indiana could convince Democrats that Bernie Sanders' momentum has stalled indefinitely, but she has a harder road ahead as she enters coal country thanks to her anti-coal comments in March.

Republican Primary

Donald Trump: “If we win Indiana, it’s over,” Trump said at a campaign stop this week. The businessman is leading by 15 points in the Hoosier State over Cruz, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Another poll the businessman is likely to reference in his speeches is this Rasmussen Reports survey that shows him beating Hillary Clinton by two points nationally. Trump is urging the Republican Party to unite behind him so he can start focusing on the presumptive Democratic nominee. He has already hinted on how he’ll challenge Clinton’s credentials, accusing her of using the “women’s card” to gain votes. “If she were not a woman, she wouldn't even be in this race," Trump said. 

Ted Cruz: Cruz has plenty of endorsements heading into Indiana on Tuesday, but does he have the votes? The Texas senator received the support of 50 state clergy and faith leaders, who say he stands for family principles, not political expediency. His campaign released a few ads highlighting Gov. Mike Pence’s endorsement, including “Pence for Cruz,” which highlights Gov. Mike Pence saying he’ll vote for Cruz because the Texas senator is pursuing the “Reagan agenda.” Cruz is also reminding voters he has the governor’s support in a radio ad. A Club for Growth Action ad, meanwhile, called “Imagine,” is telling voters that Cruz is the only candidate who can plausibly repeal Obamacare. He hasn’t forgotten about his foe Donald Trump, however. The Cruz campaign just released an ad called “Lying,” accusing the businessman of lying about Cruz’s record. The senator won a majority of delegates at the Virginia GOP convention this weekend.

John Kasich: Kasich’s own state of Ohio wants him to drop out of the 2016 race. Like Cruz, the Ohio governor has no mathematical path to the nomination, but he is banking on the RNC to declare him victor at a contested convention. During a campaign stop this weekend, Kasich again condemned Trump’s policy to deport 4 million illegal immigrants. Republicans, Kasich said, will not win the general election by “scaring every Hispanic in this country to death.”

Democratic Primary

Hillary Clinton: Clinton is hoping that her pledge to put coal companies "out of business" in March is long forgotten as the 2016 primary enters coal country. Unfortunately, those scars haven't healed. Activists interrupted Bill Clinton during his speech this weekend in West Virginia, while officials in another town wrote a letter to Sen. Joe Manchin insisting the Clintons and their anti-coal agenda were "not welcome." The Wall Street Journal also weighed in on Clinton's controversial coal remarks, writing that she has some "explaining to do" before she attempts to win over voters in the region. There is some good news for Hillary on the financial front, however. For the first time in 2016, Clinton has outraised Sanders in donations. Clinton’s April totals amounted to $36 million. Clinton is averaging about 7 points higher than Bernie Sanders in Indiana.

Bernie Sanders: Sanders can force Hillary to a contested convention, pundits argue. Yet, his underdog status may be too much to overcome, at least as far as the delegates are concerned. Can momentum be enough to propel him to the nomination? His donations fell steeply from March. Sanders’ donation totals fell steeply from $44 million in March to $25.8 million in April. Judging by Sanders’ rhetoric, though, he and his team are not letting these numbers stop them. Sanders’ wife, Jane, has been making media rounds defending her husband and even telling the FBI to hurry up already with its investigation into Hillary’s emails. 

Delegate Count

Republicans

Trump - 996

Cruz - 565

Kasich - 153

Democrats

Clinton - Pledged delegates: 1,645; Super delegates: 520

Sanders - Pledged delegates: 1,318; Super delegates: 39

Primary Schedule

Tuesday - D/R Indiana primaries

Puerto Rico to Default on Debt Payments, Begs Congress for Help

Puerto Rico’s economic troubles continue, as the island will default on $422 million in debt payments Monday by close of business.

“Faced with the inability to meet the demands of our creditors and the needs of our people, I had to make a choice,” Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said Sunday in a televised address. “I decided that essential services for the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico came first.”

Monday’s default could ramp up pressure on policymakers in Washington to move forward with legislation that would let the island restructure its debt, as well as establish an outside fiscal control board to monitor its finances.

At the end of 2015, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) set a March 31 deadline for action to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. That deadline slipped, and lawmakers are now on a weeklong recess with no bill as Puerto Rico suffers its largest default yet.

Attention now will turn to July 1 as the next potential deadline for action. On that date, the island is supposed to make roughly $2 billion in debt payments, and experts do not believe those payments will be made.

Padilla went on to blame Congress, saying he’s been warning Washington for close to a year now about the island’s financial situation.

“In our efforts to avoid a humanitarian crisis, we have repeatedly traveled to Washington to convey the urgency of the situation,” he said.

He also called on House lawmakers to get over the “internal partisan and ideological divisions” and move forward with the issue, singling out Speaker Paul Ryan to “exercise his leadership.”

The House Natural Resources Committee is still working on crafting a relief bill after progress on the measure stalled back in April.

García Padilla also reserved some scorn for investors in Puerto Rican debt that have lobbied hard against any legislation that would allow the island to restructure its debts.

Many lawmakers were spooked after the Center for Individual Freedom, a dark money group that does not have to disclose its donors, began running ads blasting the bill as a “bailout,” even though no federal money goes to the island under it.

Many believe Puerto Rican investors opposed to any deal helped finance the ads, and García Padilla said “pure greed” by “vulture funds and their lobbyists” was behind efforts to defeat the bill.

In closing, Padilla hailed its citizens’ commitment to America, noting the sacrifice many Puerto Ricans have made fighting in U.S. military conflicts.

“We have proven with blood our shared values with the United States. Now, Congress must show this commitment is mutual,” he said.

ESPN Edits Curt Schilling Out Of Documentary On Red Sox/Yankees Rivalry

ESPN has edited out footage from Curt Schilling's "bloody sock" game in the 30 for 30 documentary Four Days in October. The documentary now skips from game five to game seven, completely omitting any mention of Schilling's performance. Schilling was recently fired by ESPN.

Apparently Schilling also thinks that ESPN counts among the reasons why Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game suspension reinstated by a federal court. But what set him off Sunday was hearing that the evening’s telecast of “Four Days in October,” ESPN’s 2010 documentary about Boston’s stunning comeback from a 3-0 deficit against New York to reach, and eventually win, the World Series, was missing his crucial Game 6 performance.

[...]

The recounting of that performance, and Game 6 in general (including Alez Rodriguez knocking a ball out of reliever Bronson Arroyo’s glove), takes up about 17 minutes of the original version of the hour-and-five-minute-long documentary. ESPN apparently wanted to trim “Four Days in October,” which aired on ESPN2 after an Arizona-Oregon softball game and was likely timed to precede a live Red Sox-Yankees telecast on the main channel, down to fit into an hour-long time slot, with commercials.

While ESPN claims that the segment featuring Schilling was edited for time reasons, this seems a little suspect. (Full disclosure: despite her New England upbringing, this author is actually a fan of the New York Yankees.) The bloody sock game was a huge deal and it was a major turning point in the series. It doesn't make any sense to omit that from a documentary about the rivalry and that season.

Schilling, to his credit, had jokes:

So what do you think? Is ESPN "whitewashing history?"

SCOTUS Denies Local Seattle Franchises’ Challenge to Minimum Wage Law

In a blow to Seattle businesses, the Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the state’s controversial $15/hour minimum wage law. The law, which went into effect in April 2015, demands that a business franchise of 500 employees or more honor the minimum wage hike. It was the first state in the nation to make such a wage jump.

At the time of the law’s passage, IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira called it discriminatory.

“Hundreds of small, locally-owned businesses and thousands of their employees are unfairly threatened by Seattle’s new law. We are not seeking special treatment for franchisees, we are just seeking equal treatment. The city’s minimum wage statute arbitrarily and illegally discriminates against franchisees and significantly increases their labor costs in ways that will harm their businesses, employees, consumers and Seattle’s economy,” said Steve Caldeira, IFA president & CEO. “We hope the court will block the ordinance to save jobs and prevent Seattle from unfairly singling out one type of business – a franchise – for punitive treatment.”

In International Franchise Association v. City of Seattle, local franchises argued the law would place a heavy burden on local businesses, placing them in the same boat as larger companies like McDonald’s, instead of allowing them to continue operating as independent entities. Union officials pushed back, arguing franchisees enjoy special advantages that aren’t offered to other businesses. Luckily for the "Fight for 15" crowd, the hike doesn't look like it's going anywhere after SCOTUS put the case to a halt. 

Seattle is also reeling from May Day protests, where angry pro-unionists carried Molotov cocktails, bricks and other weapons to “peacefully” demonstrate on behalf of workers’ rights. 

Trump Tops Clinton In New Poll

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely U.S. voters finds Donald Trump with 41 percent ahead of Hillary Clinton’s 39 percent. Fifteen percent prefer some other candidate, and five percent are undecided.

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Trump leads 37 percent to 31 percent.  

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 27-28 with a margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.  The poll also found that 89 percent of Republicans see Trump as the presumptive nominee.

Expect to see more polls change over the next few weeks as the presidential campaign 'resets' and transitions from primary to general election mode.

 

Mrs. Sanders Wants FBI to Speed Up its Hillary Investigation

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

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

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

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

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

Sanders’ only problem? Those pesky superdelegates