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Monday, April 24, 2017

Dick Durbin, Tom Perez To 28 Percent Of Dems Who Oppose Abortion: Get In Line Or Get Out

Dick Durbin Screenshot/CNN
Dick Durbin, Tom Perez To 28 Percent Of Dems Who Oppose Abortion: Get In Line Or Get Out
By Peter Hasson
23 Apr 2017, 06:21 PM

The28 percent of Democratswho oppose abortion have no place in the Democratic party, according to two of the party’s leading figures.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin echoed party chair Tom Perez Sunday in saying that there is no room in the party for dissent on the abortion issue.

“I am committed to women’s rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is [committed],” Durbin said in an appearance on CNN. “We’ve made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time. I know within the ranks of the Democratic Party there are those who see that differently on a personal basis, but when it comes to the policy position, I think we need to be clear and unequivocal.”

Those who personally believe abortion is wrong can be allowed in the party, Durbin added, “as long as they are prepared to back the law, Roe versus Wade, prepared to back women’s rights as we’ve defined them under the law.” That is: all members of the Democratic party are expected to publicly support abortion, regardless of what they personally believe.


Perez, who has struggled to unify the moderate and far-left wings of the Democratic party, also demanded conformity from party members on the subject of abortion.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,”Perez said in a statement on Friday. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Durbin and Perez’s disavowal of pro-life Democrats followed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders coming under fire for supporting a Democratic mayoral candidate in Nebraska who previously opposed abortion but later reversed his positionunder pressure from liberal activists.

Despite Durbin and Perez’s demands for ideological purity, a not-insignificant minority of the Democratic party is pro-life. Pew Research Center found last year that 28 percent of Democrats say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Hispanic voters — a key voting bloc for the Democratic party — are deeply divided on the subject of abortion. Pew found that49 percent of Hispanics say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, while 48 percent say it should be legal in most or all cases.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosiappeared to contradict Perez and Durbin on Sunday.

“Of course” Democrats can also be pro-life, Pelosi said on MSNBC. Pelosi quickly changed the subject, however, and did not address whether Democrats can support pro-life policies, in addition, to personally opposing abortion.

The 2016 Democratic party platform called for repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal taxpayer dollars for abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. Before 2016, no major party platform had called for taxpayer-funded abortions. (RELATED: Democratic Platform Calls For Taxpayer-Funded Abortions)

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

An "Increasingly Worried" Chinese President Tells Trump To "Exercise Restraint" Over N.Korea

France, and the European "populist wave", may be fixed for now, but geopolitical concerns remain as was made clear last night when during a phone call late on Sunday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, the North Korean neighbor called for all sides to "exercise restraint" as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters. China, which has repeatedly called for the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is "increasingly worried" the situation could spin out of control, leading to war and a chaotic collapse of North Korea, something we cautioned over two months ago

Xi told Trump on the phone that China resolutely opposed any actions that ran counter to U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Chinese foreign ministry said quoted by Reuters. China "hopes that all relevant sides exercise restraint, and avoid doing anything to worsen the tense situation on the peninsula", the ministry said in a statement, paraphrasing Xi. The nuclear issue could only be resolved quickly with all relevant countries pulling in the same direction, and China was willing to work with all parties, including the United States, to ensure peace, Xi said.

A potential risk catalyst is just hours away: North Korea prepares to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday. It has marked similar events in the past with nuclear tests or missile launches.

That said, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the call between the two presidents was the latest manifestation of their close communication, which was good for both of their countries and the world.

On Sunday, Trump also spoke by telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who later described the conversation as a "thorough exchange of views".

"We agreed to strongly demand that North Korea, which is repeating its provocation, show restraint," Abe told reporters. "We will maintain close contact with the United States, keep a high level of vigilance and respond firmly," he said. Abe also said he and Trump agreed that China should play a large role in dealing with it.

According to Reuters, a Japanese official said the phone call between Trump and Abe was not prompted by any specific change in the situation. Envoys on the North Korean nuclear issue from the United States, South Korea and Japan are due to meet in Tokyo on Tuesday. The U.S. government has not specified where the carrier strike group is, but U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive "within days".

Meanwhile, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun gave no details about the South's plan to join the approaching U.S. carrier group for exercises, apart from saying Seoul was holding discussions with the U.S. Navy. "I can say the South Korean and U.S. militaries are fully ready for North Korea's nuclear test," Moon said. South Korean and U.S. officials have feared for some time that North Korea could soon carry out its sixth nuclear test.

As reported on Friday, satellite imagery analyzed by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, found some activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site last week. However, the group said it was unclear whether the site was in a "tactical pause" before another test or was carrying out normal operations.

Adding to the already tense situation, North Korea detained a U.S. citizen on Saturday as he attempted to leave the country. The arrest will be a topic of discussion when Trump hold a top level briefing with Senators on April 26.

As a reminder, Trump sent a carrier group for exercises in waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning, amid growing fears North Korea could conduct another nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Angered by the approach of the USS Carl Vinson carrier group, a defiant North Korea said on Monday the deployment was "an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade". "The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic consequence from its foolish military provocative act," Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary on Monday.


"What's only laid for aggressors is dead bodies," the newspaper said.

Two Japanese destroyers have joined the carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific, and South Korea said on Monday it was also in talks about holding joint naval exercises.

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New Orleans to Take Down Confederate Monuments

Confederate Statues N_perr__1493038303_198.49.27.212

Workers in New Orleans began removing the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early Monday, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation of racism and white supremacy.

Trucks arrived to begin removing the first memorial, one that commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, around 1:25 a.m. in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials said have made death threats.

Workers who were inspecting the statue ahead of its removal could be seen wearing flak jackets and helmets. Police officers watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel.

Three other statues to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis will be removed in later days now that legal challenges have been overcome.

“There’s a better way to use the property these monuments are on and a way that better reflects who we are,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.

Nationally, the debate over Confederate symbols has become heated since nine parishioners were killed at a black church in South Carolina in June 2015. South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds in the weeks after, and several Southern cities have since considered removing monuments. The University of Mississippi took down its state flag because it includes the Confederate emblem.

New Orleans is a majority African-American city although the number of black residents has fallen since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina drove many people from the city.

The majority black City Council in 2015 voted 6-1 to approve plans to take the statues down, but legal battles over their fate have prevented the removal until now, said Landrieu, who proposed the monuments’ removal and rode to victory twice with overwhelming support from the city’s black residents.

People who want the Confederate memorials removed say they are offensive artifacts honoring the region’s slave-owning past. But others call the monuments part of the city’s history and say they should be protected historic structures.

Robert Bonner, 63, who said he is a Civil War re-enactor, was there to protest the statue’s removal.

“I think it’s a terrible thing,” he said. “When you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money. You start losing where you came from and where you’ve been.”

Since officials announced the removals, contractors hired by the city have faced death threats and intimidation in this deep South city where passions about the Civil War still run deep.

Landrieu refused to say who the city would be using to remove the statues because of the intimidation attempts. And the removal will begin at night to ensure police can secure the sites to protect workers, and to ease the burden on traffic for people who live and work in the city, Landrieu said.

“All of what we will do in the next days will be designed to make sure that we protect everybody, that the workers are safe, the folks around the monuments are safe and that nobody gets hurt,” Landrieu said.

Landrieu said the memorials don’t represent his city as it approaches its 300th anniversary next year. The mayor said the city would remove the monuments, store them and preserve them until an “appropriate” place to display them is determined.

“The monuments are an aberration,” he said. “They’re actually a denial of our history and they were done in a time when people who still controlled the Confederacy were in charge of this city and it only represents a four-year period in our 1000-year march to where we are today.”

The first memorial to come down will be the Liberty Monument, an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League.

Landrieu has called the Liberty Monument “the most offensive of the four” and said it was erected to “revere white supremacy.”

“If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it’s that one,” he said.

The Crescent City White League attempted to overthrow a biracial Reconstruction government in New Orleans after the Civil War. That attempt failed, but white supremacist Democrats later took control of the state.

An inscription added in 1932 said the Yankees withdrew federal troops and “recognized white supremacy in the South” after the group challenged Louisiana’s biracial government after the Civil War. In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors “Americans on both sides” who died and that the conflict “should teach us lessons for the future.”

The Liberty Monument had been the target of a previous lawsuit after the city removed it from a location on the main downtown thoroughfare of Canal Street during a federally-financed paving project in 1989. The city didn’t put the monument back up until it was sued, and moved the monument to an obscure spot on a side street near the entrance to a parking garage.


Jesse J. Holland covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. Contact him at, on Twitter at or on Facebook at


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Freedom Quote

"The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people,too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution."

-- Ronald Reagan

Judd Gregg: Trump gets his sea legs

Judd Gregg: Trump gets his sea legs
By Judd Gregg - 04-24-17 06:00 AM EDT

No president in our time has gotten off to a more disruptive start than Donald Trump.

The Trump presidency began with an inaugural speech that was a proclamation of pessimism. Its only redeeming quality was that it was short.

This was followed by the debacle of the executive orders on immigration. There is logic for these kinds of orders, in terms of strengthening safeguards on immigration from nations identified as sanctuaries for terrorism. But the administration did not do its homework.

Compounding these troubles was of course the abortive attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Accomplishing this was a top goal declared by Candidate Trump during his campaign. But someone forgot to tell the president's team that they were doing high-stakes politics, not building high-rise buildings. An entirely different skill-set is needed for politics.

This and other missteps have caused the left - and most of the media - to rejoice.

But their hallelujah chorus may be a bit premature. The president appears to be getting his sea legs.

Firstly, thanks to the guile of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), he has succeeded in placing a young, extremely talented conservative on the bench of the Supreme Court, in the shape of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

It would be difficult to overstate the long-term impact of this confirmation. The president deserves accolades for announcing his list of potential nominees and then nominating someone of such ability. A promise was kept and action taken.

Secondly, he has surround himself with some exceptionally successful and capable people, who are able to give him thoughtful and independent counsel. He seems to be listening and taking advantage of their strengths. Policies are being adjusted to reflect reality.

One of the greatest weaknesses of President Obama's team was to look at the world with glasses tinted by the unreality of the views of the hard left. The Trump team, throughout the transition and into the first period of his presidency, simply changed glasses to those of the unreality of the hard right.

Issues and crises do not respond well to ideologues.

Ideology needs to be an anchor to action, but the action has to be rooted in common sense. Most of the people Trump has chosen to help him seem to intuitively understand this from their prior, broad experiences and successes outside of government.

The leading example of the president's sense of balance came when, during the same weekend, he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and attacked a Syrian airfield.

The Xi meeting appears to have been a constructive and valuable first crossing of key leaders. China is unquestionably our most important international relationship, since that nation is on the rise and close to becoming our equal both economically and militarily. Getting the relationship right is critical.

By attacking Syria in the midst of the talks with the Chinese leader, Trump and his team made it clear they know how to deliver a message in real world terms.

It also appears that the discussions with Xi could lead to some effort by China to cooperate in managing the North Korean threat.

When Trump backed off his prior claims that China was manipulating its currency, he sent a clear signal that he was willing to accommodate and deal with the reality of politics.

Along with these major league efforts, the administration is successfully leveling the regulatory playing field for employers. Eight years of progressive Democratic governance had massively tilted the regulatory system against those engines of economic growth.

One big item left on the agenda that will test Trump's "sea legs" is tax reform. There is no more testy exercise then passing a major tax reform bill, especially if it must be essentially revenue neutral, as this will have to be.

If he and his people engage on this well, they could reach a bipartisan bill. Such bills have been done before. Reagan-Rostenkowski was the most recent 'final product,'  but Simpson-Bowles and Wyden-Coats also showed that bipartisanship is possible.

To do this, the president personally will have to draw in responsible Democrats, of which there are a number in the Senate.

Enacting tax reform will lift the enthusiasm of the doers in our nation. They will create jobs and make us even more internationally competitive.

For the president it would confirm that he has settled into the job and gotten himself on firm, winning ground.

This is something we should all want.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill. 

Here’s What Ronald Reagan Did When College Kids Went Ape At UC-Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley, the cradle of the free speech movement, just last week cancelled yet another conservative speaker. The college’s Young Republicans had invited Ann Coulter to speak on April 27. Campus officials cited “security concerns” as their reason for cancelling Coulter’s speech, but Coulter says it was all they had left after “imposing ridiculous demands” that hadn’t scared her away.

They demanded she speak off-campus; she acceded. They demanded she speak during the day when students are in class; she acceded. How mad are Berkeley officials that even though they cancelled her, she plans to speak on April 27 at Berkeley anyway? It’s almost like she has courage and a backbone.

Clearly, UC-Berkeley officials have neither, and this is not news. When the Young Republicans invited former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulis to speak in February, campus officials cancelled his speech a few hours before it was to start, also due to “security concerns.” They then hid behind their oak-paneled desks while violent protesters tore down metal barriers, broke windows, set fires, hurled rocks at police, attacked bystanders, and damaged a construction site.

Police were reportedly told to stand down and take no action against the violence. An attorney for the union representing UC-Berkeley police said, “When these rioters saw that there was no action taken against them, it emboldened them into acting more aggressively.” Indeed. When protesters were done demolishing the campus—to the tune of $100,000—they moved on to smash windows of local businesses.

What a Real Leader Does When Facing Petty Thugs

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him? He would have put a stop to it all right quick. Reagan had made campus unrest at Berkeley one of his major campaign issues when he announced his candidacy for California governor in 1964:

[D]o we no longer think it necessary to teach self-respect, self-discipline, and respect for law and order? Will we allow a great university to be brought to its knees by a noisy dissident minority? Will we meet their neurotic vulgarities with vacillation and weakness? Or will we tell those entrusted with administering the university we expect them to enforce a code based on decency, common sense, and dedication to the high and noble purpose of that university?

Not unlike another wildly popular, yet wildly unpopular politician, Reagan was elected partly to restore law and order. A group of protestors put the governor to the test in 1969.

They had been using a vacant plot of land for protests against the Vietnam War and decided to block the university from developing it. The day in May 1969 when the university attempted to erect a fence around the plot of land is called “Bloody Thursday.” A rally called to protest the action drew thousands and soon turned into a riot. Reagan ordered the Berkeley police and California Highway Patrol to shut it down.

A campus publication tells what happened next: “[T]hree students suffered punctured lungs, another a shattered leg, 13 people were hospitalized with shotgun wounds, and one police officer was stabbed. James Rector, who was watching the riot from a rooftop, was shot by police gunfire; he died four days later.”

Then Reagan Doubled Down

In an extremely controversial move, for which he never apologized, Reagan declared a state of emergency and sent in 2,200 National Guard troops. He enacted a curfew and banned public assembly for two weeks. The National Guard patrolled the streets of Berkeley, dispersing any crowd of four or more. It wasn’t pretty, but they restored order.

There is a classic, should-be-in-the-Smithsonian clip of Reagan at a press conference after the fact with university administrators. He says: “Those people told you for days in advance that if the university sought to go ahead with that construction, they were going to physically destroy the university.”

Someone in the crowd shouts that Reagan should have negotiated with the students. Reagan, with the incredulity of someone who understands that youth don’t run the world for a reason, says: “Negotiate? What is to negotiate? All of it began the first time some of you who know better and are old enough to know better let young people think that they have the right to choose the laws they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest.”

To underscore the point, Reagan got up and walked out of the room. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

The university eventually caved to the People’s Park protesters, long after Reagan was out of office. They caved to the Yiannopoulis protesters in February. Now they’ve caved to the Coulter protesters. Cave, cave, cave, cave, cave. Every time they cave, they put another nail in the coffin of self-discipline, decency, common sense, and respect for law and order.

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?

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100 Days: If The 2016 Election Were Held Again, Clinton Would Drop Six Points And Trump Would Still Win

Matt Vespa

Guy will have a deeper dive on this tomorrow, so I’ll give you a brief preview to the new Washington Post/ ABC News poll, which noted a few things. I’m sure you saw that President Trump has garnered the lowest approval ratingfor any president in the modern era. Does that mean his base is abandoning him? No. Not even close. They’re still holding strong. Moreover, to pour more salt in Hillary Clinton’s wounds, if the election were held today after Trump’s first 100 days, he would still win, and her support would have dropped six percentage points (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:

There are no signs of major slippage in support among those who voted for Trump. His approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94 percent. Among Republicans, it is 84 percent. Asked of those who voted for him whether they regret doing so, 2 percent say they do, while 96 percent say supporting Trump was the right thing to do. When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.

So, what does that look like post-100 days election hypothetical look like with these new figures? ABC 13 had more [emphasis mine]:

Among Americans who say they voted in the 2016 election, 46 percent say they voted for Hillary Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, very close to the 2-point margin in the actual popular vote results. However, while Trump would retain almost all of his support if the election were held again today (96 percent), fewer of Clinton's supporters say they'd stick with her (85 percent), producing a 40-43 percent Clinton-Trump result in this hypothetical re-do among self-reported 2016 voters.

That's not because former Clinton supporters would now back Trump; only 2 percent of them say they'd do so, similar to the 1 percent of Trump voters who say they'd switch to Clinton. Instead, they're more apt to say they'd vote for a third-party candidate or wouldn't vote.

In a cautionary note to her party, Clinton's 6-point drop in a hypothetical mulligan election relates to views of whether the Democratic Party is in touch with peoples' concerns.Although the sample sizes are small, those who say the party is out of touch are less likely to say they'd support Clinton again, compared with those who see it as in touch.

Still, there's no strong evidence that defectors primarily come from groups that favored Bernie Sanders in the primary. There are no broad differences by age, and liberals are 9 points more likely than moderates and conservatives to stick with Clinton. Similarly, nonwhites are 10 points more likely than whites to say they would not support Clinton again, with more than a third of them heading to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

As Streiff noted at RedState, not only would Trump have won again—he also would have won the popular vote.  Can Democrats finally admit that Hillary Clinton was the worst choice to lead the Democratic ticket? She was weak, unlikable, had no message, and the subject of a criminal FBI investigation. It’s more explicit than ever. Look for Guy’s deep dive tomorrow, which I’m sure will go further into the weeds on these points, especially how Democrats are viewed as more out of touch with the concerns of voters than Republicans.