Abe, Trump to Meet Nov. 17 in New York 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with U.S. Republican President-elect Donald Trump during a telephone conversation on Thursday that they will aim to meet in New York on Nov. 17.

Trump spoke with key figures at home and abroad over the phone after winning the U.S. presidential election. He was to meet President Barack Obama on Thursday to discuss a transition of power in preparation for his presidential term.

Abe talked to Trump over the phone for about 20 minutes on Thursday morning, according to a Japanese government official. The prime minister congratulated Trump on his presidential win, saying, “I’m sure the United States will become a greater country under the extraordinary leadership of incoming President Trump.”

Trump praised the achievements of Abe’s economic measures and said he is looking forward to working with Abe for the next few years.

Trump also said Japan and the United States have an outstanding partnership and that he wants to strengthen this special relationship further.

Abe proposed an early meeting, saying, “Peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, which is the center of global economic growth, is a source of U.S. strength. The strong Japan-U.S. alliance is indispensable to supporting peace and stability in the region.”

Trump accepted the offer and expressed his desire for forward-looking discussions between Japan and the United States.

They did not refer to issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, which Trump opposes, and an increased burden on Japan to cover the costs for stationing U.S. forces. Read the rest of this entry »


Plan Your Wednesday Morning Hangover

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…Trump leads in Florida by a minuscule 0.2 percent as I write this; in New Hampshire, it’s Clinton by 0.6 percent, and that’s helped along by the dubious 11-point lead she had in the WMUR poll of the state that was released this morning. The long and short of this is that if literally one more poll of NH were to drop showing Trump ahead by a few points, the average would shift and that state would probably also favor him very narrowly. And in that case, he’d be at … 270 electoral votes. He’s that close to being a perilously slight favorite to win the election per RCP’s polling averages. And note that RCP’s miss on Florida in 2012 involved a larger margin than either FL or NH are experiencing now. That year, Romney finished 1.5 points ahead in the Florida average and lost the state on Election Day by less than a point. Trump would be president with a more modest miss than that in New Hampshire this year.

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That said, there’s a question mark on this map. Observers of Nevada’s early voting like Jon Ralston swear that Dems have piled up enough ballots there to put the state all but out of reach for Trump, notwithstanding his lead in the polls. If that’s true then flipping NH on the map above doesn’t win it for him after all.

[Read the full story here, at Hot Air]

We end up with Clinton winning 274/264. And it’s not obvious which remaining blue state Trump could flip to tilt the election back to him. He’s already won Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and New Hampshire in this scenario. He’s close-ish in Michigan and Colorado, but they’re not as much of a coin flip as FL and NC are. Unless Ralston’s wrong about Nevada, even one of the rosiest maps for Trump still requires him to pull off one more major upset somewhere.

And this assumes, naturally, that you take RCP’s polling average as definitive rather than another site’s. Each election modeler chooses to include and exclude certain polls for their own reasons. Some, like FiveThirtyEight, choose to weight polls according to how accurate the pollster’s been in the past so that some polls count more than others. FiveThirtyEight currently has Clinton ahead by more than three points in New Hampshire’s polling average, making that state more durable for her; that being so, Trump is stuck at 266 even with Florida and Nevada in his column. The Upshot also has Clinton by three in New Hampshire and gives Clinton a better than 80 percent chance of winning the election. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Women Are Buying More Guns

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Gun control’s a little down in the polls, and gun sales are up. Why? Because more women are packing heat.

Keli Goff writes: A recently released New York Times/CBS poll included some headline grabbing findings about America’s evolving attitudes on gun control. The poll found that the number of Americans supporting a ban on assault weapons is 19 points lower today than it was after the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in 2011.Perhaps more significant, it found that the number of Americans supporting stricter gun control in general has slipped 7 points in just two months. While these numbers may come as a surprise to many, they shouldn’t, because in the last few years the backbone of the gun control movement has been undergoing an evolution of its own. More and more women are buying guns. As the number of female gun owners has risen, so has the number of women expressing skepticism of gun control.

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“Gun control has almost nothing to do with ensuring the bad guys don’t have guns. Women increasingly seem to be understanding this.”

— Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus

More than a third of the women who participated in the National Sports Shooting Foundation’s most recent survey identified as new gun owners. This data are consistent with those of other organizations, including the National Sporting Goods Association. According to the NSGA’s Annual Sports Participation Report the number of women who practice target shooting increased nearly 36 percent (from 4.31 million to 5.86 million) between 2004 and 2014, while the number of women participating in hunting increased 23 percent (from 2.68 million to 3.3 million). In response to a request for comment, an NRA spokesman reported tracking a 77 percent increase between 2004 and 2011 in the number of women who own firearms.

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“According to Dees Thomases in the social media driven age it is much tougher to be a gun control activist—particularly a female one. ‘All women activists on this issue at some point are harassed,’ she said. ‘They try to publish your phone number and addresses,’ she said of gun control opponents.”

“Gun control has almost nothing to do with ensuring the bad guys don’t have guns. Women increasingly seem to be understanding this,” wrote Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus in an email.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]

For years the movement for gun control has been driven by women leaders and supporters. The Million Mom March that took place on Mother’s Day 2000 was one of the most significant milestones in the modern day gun-control movement. Founded by Donna Dees Thomases in the aftermath of the shooting of children by a white supremacist in Grenada Hills, California, the movement built momentum that resulted in a number of legislative wins for gun control supporters.

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“As a result female supporters of gun control have not been as widely represented in media in recent years, which may be having an impact on public perception of the issue.”

Advocacy by Million Mom March chapters is credited with tougher gun laws being passed in states from Arizona to Maryland to New York, where Republican Governor and current presidential candidate George Pataki signed some of the nation’s strictest gun laws just months after the Million Mom March.

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So what happened to the Mom-mentum?

In a phone interview Dees Thomases disputed the notion that gun control supporters have lost ground or lost the support of women in the 15 years since their triumphant march. She pointed to the Million Mom March activists and alums now serving in elected office (at least three currently), not to mention others whose volunteerism for candidates supportive of gun control swung elections. “They threw a lot of rascals out of office,” she said. “People didn’t leave the march and go home and do nothing. We left that march and got sweeping reform passed.”

She also said that polling data on guns can be misleading, with the phrasing of questions often being key to which way responses tilt. Read the rest of this entry »


Pentagon Rushing to Open Space-War Center To Counter China, Russia

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The Pentagon and intelligence community are developing war plans and an operations center to fend off Chinese and Russian attacks on U.S.military and government satellites

The ops center, to be opened within six months, will receive data from satellites belonging to all government agencies, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said Tuesday at the GEOINT symposium, an annual intelligence conference sponsored by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

“We want to be able to establish patterns of life from space. We want to know what the unusual looks like. If, all of a sudden, a lot of cars show up in a parking lot of an adversary’s missile plant, we want to know about it and we want to know about it quickly. If, suddenly, small boats are swarming in the Gulf or pirates are starting to congregate off Aden, we want to know.”

“[W]e are going to develop the tactics, techniques, procedures, rules of the road that would allow us … to fight the architecture and protect it while it’s under attack,” Work said. “The ugly reality that we must now all face is that if an adversary were able to take space away from us, our ability to project decisive power across transoceanic distances and overmatch adversaries in theaters once we get there … would be critically weakened.”

“If Russian soldiers are snapping pictures of themselves in war zones and posting them in social media sites, we want to know exactly where those pictures were taken.”

Work also said that Air Force Secretary Deborah James would soon be named the “principal space advisor” to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, where she will to provide “independent advice separate from the consensus process of the department.”

Senior officials at the Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are still finalizing details of the new center, which will back up the military’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The center will help the military and government coordinate their preparations for and responses to any attack, said Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, a spokeswoman for Work. Read the rest of this entry »


Dems’ Objections to OTC Birth Control?

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Republicans Are Behind It

S. E. Cupp writes: A long, long time ago — way back in 2013 — pro-choice progressives united in a new clarion call to make prescription birth control available over the counter. Now, for political reasons, they’re changing their tune.

“So why can’t we have this, when the public and the medical establishment both think it’s a great idea?

—  Progressive journalist Amanda Marcotte, two years ago

If you’re one of the 10 million women in America who uses the pill, the prospect is nothing short of life-changing. Going to the doctor to refill the pill every month or even a couple times a year is annoying and time-consuming. And, according to many doctors, it’s unnecessary. The pill is safe to take without a prescription.

[Also see – Over-the-Counter Birth Control Bill Provokes Irrational Ire on the Left]

“So why can’t we have this, when the public and the medical establishment both think it’s a great idea?” asked progressive journalist Amanda Marcotte two years ago.

[More – Liberals could lose the ‘war on women’ talking point]

Indeed. Just last year, far-left women’s groups Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List also thought making birth control available OTC was a great idea.

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“Why the about-face? Well, the story the libs are going with is that the bill will actually make the pill more expensive once it’s no longer prescription…Which would be a fair point if it were true.”

And according to a Reason-Rupe poll, so do 70 percent of Americans.

Well, in an uncanny and highly unusual turn of events, lawmakers in Washington actually listened. Just this week, legislators introduced a bill that would encourage drug companies to apply to sell contraceptives without a prescription.

[Read the full text here, at TownHall.com]

But if Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, along with four other GOP senators, were expecting flowers from Planned Parenthood and others for their bill, the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act, they should brace for disappointment. Suddenly, the idea doesn’t sound so great, and the former supporters aren’t mincing words. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Sent No Representative to Memorial Mass for Beheaded Journalist James Foley

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama sent no White House representative to the memorial Mass held yesterday in Rochester, New Hampshire, for James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists.

Mourners packed Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Rochester, N.H., on Sunday for a memorial Mass for journalist James Foley, who was murdered by ISIS terrorists. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Mourners packed Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Rochester, N.H., on Sunday for a memorial Mass for journalist James Foley, who was murdered by ISIS terrorists. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American fatally shot in an encounter with a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

“There was nobody that represented the White House.”

The memorial mass for James Foley took place Sunday at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Foley’s hometown. Connie Hammond, an administrative assistant at Holy Rosary, told CNSNews.com that no White House officials were in attendance. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ayotte: Its Time to Reset the Reset

Senator Kelly Ayotte R., N.H. said today that President Obama’s policy of trying to “reset” relations with Russia has failed and now

“it’s time to reset the reset…”

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”Putin has harbored Snowden, interfered in Syria, and armed the Assad regime… it seems the reset policy hasn’t worked.”

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National Review Online

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kelly Ayotte: We Can’t Trust Obama, But Let’s Do Amnesty Anyway

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Matthew Boyle reports:   Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says she agrees that Republicans can’t trust President Obama to enforce the law, but they should immediately move forward on comprehensive immigration reform, anyway.

“Here’s the deal: The status quo is totally unacceptable,” Ayotte said on CBS NewsFace The Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday.

Ayotte, who rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 to her election to the Senate but has emerged as one of the upper chamber’s more liberal Republicans, conceded there is a “trust deficit” with Obama.

“There’s a trust deficit that the Speaker is facing right now and it’s related to ObamaCare and the disastrous rollout,” she said. “Because, let’s think about it, immigration means doing a lot of complex things well. And in addition to that, the administration keeps issuing executive orders to change the law, very frequently.”

However, Ayotte insisted the GOP should move forward anyway.

“I think we should solve this,” she continued. “I think [Boehner] can find a way forward. Certainly, the bill that came out of the Senate was not perfect, but it was a good solution to a hard problem. I think it’s an important issue to solve – not only for the country, but for the Republican Party.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats Push Unemployment Insurance – without Paying for it

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Alexis Levinson reports:  WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats successfully wrangled enough Republican votes to get an extension of unemployment insurance benefits past a key procedural hurdle, in spite of early pessimism about the bill’s prospects.

The bill must clear a second procedural hurdle before the Senate finally votes on the bill itself.

Unemployment insurance benefits were not included in the budget agreement crafted by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and Democrats are making a hard push to extend them outside of the budget deal.

But Republicans have objected to the proposal, sponsored by Republican Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, because it does not include any offsets for the spending. Democrats have pressured Republicans on the issue, citing the 1.3 million people who lost those benefits when they expired Dec. 28, and saying that not to extend those benefits was shameful.

Read the rest of this entry »