Awful: Another Veteran Commits Suicide After Reportedly Not Receiving Proper Medical Care

Well, it’s happened again. Another veteran has committed suicide. The New York Times is reporting that Peter A. Kaisen shot himself in the parking lot of a Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Island, New York. The reason is unclear, but sources told the paper that Mr. Kaisen had grown despondent after being unable to seek a proper doctor relating to his mental health care:

A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on Sunday in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, where he had been a patient, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at the medical center.

The hospital is part of the Veterans Affairs medical system, the nation’s largest integrated health care organization, which has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the department confirmed that numerous patients had died awaiting treatment at a V.A. hospital in Phoenix. Officials there had tried to cover up long waiting times for 1,700 veterans seeking medical care. A study released by the Government Accountability Office in April indicated that the system had yet to fix its scheduling problems.

Why Mr. Kaisen decided to end his life was not immediately known, but two people connected to the hospital who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his death said that he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health.

If these allegations are proven true, it’s an incident that shines a rather grisly light on the inexcusable mess the VA has found itself in over their health care system, especially the wait times. That’s one of the focal points of the controversy, as these instances of clerical negligence may have led to some 307,000 veterans dying before their applications for care could be processed, according to a VA Inspector General report. The issue of wait time hasn’t been fully addressed either, as supervisors were caught by USA Today to be falsifying patient wait times across several states back in April.

Even more disgraceful is the VA’s own suicide hotline, which goes to voicemail in some instances. Last year, 1.4 million calls to the hotline were dropped. On average, 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Thoughts and prayers to Mr. Kaisen and his family.

October Surprise: WikiLeaks Threatens More Damning Clinton Email Dumps Surrounding an "Institution"

Earlier this week we learned the FBI found an additional 15,000 emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department during their criminal investigation of her private server use. We've known for more than a year she deleted 30,000 emails her attorneys deemed "personal business," which many speculate included information about the relationship between her official office and the Clinton Foundation. 

Last month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised to release additional and damning information surrounding Clinton's personal email use and said the Democrat presidential candidate should be "worried" about what's coming. Now, Assange is  following up on that promise and warning about an October surprise that will "absolutely" come before the presidential election. 

"We're working around the clock. We have received a lot of material because of American election process and the major DNC revelation which has now led the resignation of five top officials in the DNC, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz," Assange told Fox News' Megyn Kelly. "It's a complex business what we do. We have to assess the voracity. We have a perfect ten year record so far in never gets it wrong and we want to keep that reputation, understand how things should be formatted, what media we should be involved in, what is the best way to stage it out? Do we accumulate everything and essentially publish all in one batch or do we smaller batches?"

"People involved in that election [U.S. presidential election] have a right to understand who it is they are electing," Assange continued. "We have a lot of page of material, thousands of pages...it's a variety of different types of documents from different types of institutions associated with the election campaign, some quite unexpected angles that are quite interesting and some that are entertaining."

Hacked emails from the DNC were published by Wikileaks just days before the convention kicked on in Philadelphia. Assange didn't give detail about exactly when the next dump will come, but the timing will certainly be deliberate.

Trump Spox: Trump Isn't Shifting On Immigration, He’s Just Using Different Words

We’ve gone from deportation force to no amnesty, but we’re going to work with them regarding those who are here illegally. That’s a shift. That seems to be what other former GOP contenders were saying, including Jeb Bush. In fact, it is pretty much Bush’s immigration position that Trump slammed as being weak on illegal immigration. It’s the softening that so many of those who were skeptical about Trump warned the party about, which came out during the Republican nominee’s town hall event last night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity:

Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject -- and I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me -- and they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump,' I have it all the time. It's a very, very hard thing."

And now here’s what Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush said on the stump in the long, long ago:

Sen. Marco Rubio campaigned in November in South Carolina: "We will enforce our immigration laws. That being said, I don't think it's reasonable to say you're going to round up and deport 11 million people. And I think people are going to be reasonable and responsible about what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 years who otherwise has not violate the law, has learned English, paying taxes, paid a fine and wants a work permit."

[…]

In New Hampshire last September, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush used similar language.

"You come out from the shadows. You receive a provisional work permit. You pay taxes. You don't receive federal government assistance. You learn English," he said. "You earn legal status, not citizenship. That, to me, is the most practical way of dealing with this problem."

But Donald Trump hasn’t changed his position on immigration. He’s just using different words, or something.

“He hasn't changed his position on immigration. He's changed the words that he is saying,” said Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson that elicited laughter from the rest of the panel during her appearance on CNN this morning—and rightfully so. What Pierson described is change, which is exactly what her candidate did last night on this issue.

New campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, also failed to show how Trump’s new stance on immigration is different than those offered by Cruz, Rubio, and Bush on New Day with Chris Cuomo:

If anything, regarding deportations, Trump said he would be like Obama, but “with a lot more energy.” Not the best person to associate yourself with if you’re gunning to bring toughness to the realm of immigration enforcement.

For the Cruz camp, well, it’s a long awaited I told you so moment (via Politico):

Everything Trump promises comes with an expiration date,” said Cruz’s former Senate communications director, Amanda Carpenter. “We knew it during the primary, and now it is apparent he has duped his most loyal supporters on the issue they care about most, immigration. Don't say we didn't warn them."

[…]

It vindicates the speech, it vindicates what Ted Cruz warned would happen during the course of the campaign,” said Chris Wilson, the director of research, analytics and digital strategy on Cruz’s campaign and a top Cruz adviser who has always argued that the RNC speech would be remembered favorably. He went on to add, “I do think, yes, the immigration point is another data point that he was right, it’s another data point that leads people to understand Ted Cruz knew what he was talking about, he was making the right decision.”

[…]

“From what I have seen, he is now the pro-amnesty candidate,” said Rick Tyler, a former campaign communications director for Cruz. “If Trump is insistent on reversing himself on amnesty, then he will have fooled his entire base. He would have fooled enough people who voted for him to make him the Republican nominee. It’s deceitful; it was a betrayal.”

Then again, the Cruz camp needs to be reminded about something as well. They lost. Moreover, their candidate isn’t a pure immigration warrior either. Cruz did support legalization back in 2013. Now, in February, he did say that we should deport all 11-12 million illegal immigrants who are here, though he shied away from saying there would be a deportation force; Cruz was confident that ICE agents, coupled with serious border enforcement would eventually find the illegals here, though that’s a process that would certainly have extended well beyond the term limits of the presidency.

Is it time for the GOP to just accept that we need to secure the border, allow immigration enforcement to do their jobs, but, and here’s the sticky wicket for some, come to the realization that we cannot simply deport 12 million people? Certainly not in the time frame that would satisfy the die-hard Trump wing of the GOP; that’s literally going door-to-door to find these people - which is a bit odd to endorse since Democrats want to do the same thing, only with gun owners.

Regardless, Trump has shifted his stance on immigration to fit the mold of Bush, Rubio, and Cruz—and the fact that the Trump communications team, and his campaign manager, can’t really suggest otherwise proves the softening is happening.

Lawsuit Challenging Maryland’s Democrat-led Gerrymandering Moves Forward

Gerrymandering is something Democrats usually whine about. It’s easy for them to do with Republicans controlling an unprecedented amount of state legislatures and gubernatorial seats in modern history – these entities deciding how congressional districts are drawn after the U.S. census is completed every ten years. However, there are undoubtedly cases of gerrymandering taking place in Democrat-controlled states. Maryland is one such example and a law school student has taken their antics to court.

Steve Shapiro, an American University student, has challenged the districts drawn by former Governor Martin O’Malley and the blue legislature on first amendment grounds. The case he’s making is pretty profound – stating that Maryland didn’t gerrymander based on race, but on partisan affiliation. Shapiro and his lawyer argue Maryland was actually pretty transparent in their intentions to subjugate Republican voters.

The plaintiffs actually have a solid foundation under their case. The Maryland legislature redrew their congressional lines before the 2012 elections to unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R). Democrats made specific attempts to keep seven of their eight congressional seats under their control... Bartlett lost his seat in 2012 to Democrat John Delaney.

The lawsuit has hit some bumps along the way. A federal judge threw out Shapiro’s case in 2014. However, the Supreme Court later ruled he should have received a hearing from a three-person panel. That panel Wednesday denied Maryland’s motion to dismiss the case – giving the green light for the lawsuit to continue.

If Shapiro’s lawsuit is successful, it could have major effects for the whole country. The Voting Rights Act prohibits racial gerrymandering, but is vague on partisan-based gerrymandering. This lawsuit may lead to specific rules regarding district packing of Democrats or Republicans for every state.

As McAuliffe Restores Voting Rights To Felons, Virginia Faces $1.5 Billion Shortfall

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, through the power of the autopen, plans on restoring the voting rights of convicted felons. The first batch of 13,000 are already set, with a total of 200,000 convicts being granted individual pardons to ensure they can participate in the voting process. While McAuliffe makes sure these newly enfranchised felons, who are most likely to register as Democrats, boost the voter rolls, the state faces a $1.5 billion shortfall (via Richmond Times Dispatch):

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will announce a shortfall of roughly $1.5 billion in the two-year state budget to the General Assembly money committees on Friday, according to a source familiar with the revised revenue forecast.

The governor will reduce anticipated revenues by about $850 million in the current fiscal year in response to a shortfall of almost $270 million in the year that ended June 30 and increasing pessimism about growth in income and sales tax collections. He will reduce projected revenues in the second year by about $630 million.

[…]

The size of the projected shortfall comes almost two weeks after McAuliffe consulted with state political and business leaders in a meeting that one legislator called “cautiously pessimistic” about Virginia’s economy, especially with the possibility of potential cuts in federal spending under budget sequestration in the budget’s second year.

In the last fiscal year, total state general fund revenues grew about 1.7 percent, lagging well behind the forecast of 3.2 percent growth.

McAuliffe had planned on issuing a blanket pardon to those 200,000 felons, but was stopped by the state Supreme Court after the Virginia GOP, claiming he overreached, filed a lawsuit. The court agreed, so McAuliffe circumvented it with these individual pardons. Well, nothing we can do about that now, but I would hope Terry does something sensible about the budget shortfall. I’m not betting the mortgage on it.

Gowdy: Hillary Wasn't Indicted Over Email Scandal Because FBI Didn't Bother Asking Her About Intent

When FBI Director James Comey announced in July criminal charges would not be brought against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for storing and transmitting top secret, classified information on a number of different private servers, this is the argument he made regarding intent (bolding is mine): 

Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.

Although we do not have complete visibility because we are not able to fully reconstruct the electronic record of that sorting, we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent.

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

But according to former prosecutor and House Oversight Committee member Trey Gowdy, who has seen the notes taken during an interview conducted by the FBI with Clinton about her private email servers, agents didn't ask the former Secretary and current Democrat presidential nominee about intent at all. 

"Remember James Comey said she was not indicted because he didn't have sufficient evidence on the issue of intent? I didn't see any questions on the issue of intent. There's no question she handled them [classified emails] negligently or extremely carelessly, he said he didn't go forward with charges specifically because he didn't have criminal intent. I didn't see any questions on that," Gowdy said on Fox News Thursday morning. 

How can the FBI prove or disprove intent if they never asked about it?

Gowdy also argued the FBI interview notes should be released to the public. At this point the FBI is refusing to do so.

It should also be noted the mishandling of classified information doesn't require intent for prosecution.

This post has been updated with additional information.

Yikes: Iranian Navy Successfully Conducts Intercept of US Destroyer

Iran is standing strong in its defense of the Persian Gulf, declaring on Thursday that "if any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it's an invasion, we confront."

This statement comes just 24 hours after a U.S. destroyer was confronted and intercepted by four Iranian warships Tuesday afternoon near the Strait of Hormuz.  The U.S. response to the incident was to declare the situation "unsafe and unprofessional." 

As the Iranian boats charged towards the destroyer, American sailors on the USS Nitze can be seen in a video released by the Associated Press firing flares and blowing the warship's horn in defense of the ship.  

 

This only adds to the timeline of Iran's aggressive behavior in 2016.  

In early January, Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors and were immediately thanked by John Kerry for showing compassion and hospitality for their treatment while captive.  Later that month, Iran flew a surveillance drone over a U.S. aircraft carrier taking "precise" photographs in part of a larger naval drill.  

Then, two weeks later, Iran held a national parade celebrating the capture of the U.S. sailors with reenactments.  

In retaliation, the U.S. government paid Iran $8.6 million for nuclear chemicals in April and then inked a $25 billion contract between Boeing and the Iranian Government in June.

An award was handed out to one of the captured sailors for her acts of bravery while surrendering.  According to reports, the Navy Commendation Medal was awarded to the only female in the group for activating an 'emergency position-indicating radio beacon' used to signal distress at sea.

And to cap things off, it is widely reported that U.S. officials from the White House authorized the ransom payment of existing U.S. prisoners in Iran and then tried to cover it up.  

What a year it's been.

 

The Softening: Trump Pretty Much Adopts Jeb Bush’s Position On Immigration

Contrary to previous reports, while there may not have been a major speech about Trump’s position on immigration, there was something of a pivot during a town hall event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. In essence, Donald Trump has decided to adopt the Jeb Bush position on immigration, which is earned legal status for those who have been here for years, getting rid of the illegal immigrants who broke our laws, and securing the border. He also supports these people paying back taxes, which is a core policy for the immigration reform agenda (via Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast):

“We want to follow the laws,” Trump replied, glowering. “You know, we have very strong laws, we have very strong laws in this country. And I don’t know if you know, but Bush and even Obama sends people back. Now, we can be more aggressive in that, but we want to follow the laws.

“If you start going around trying to make new laws in this country, it’s a process that’s brutal,” he added.

So: No new laws, maybe. Also consider being “more aggressive.” Maybe. Not an answer. But OK.

“We’ve got some great people in this country,” he then said. “They shouldn’t be here, they’re still great people.”

[…]

“But we’ve got some really really bad gang members,” Trump continued, “and some horrible people.”

[…]

Those people are going out Day 1,” Trump replied. “They’re going to be the first order—they’re going out Day 1.”

Then Hannity asked about law-abiding, hard-working, home-owning undocumented immigrants.

“What about them? Do they have to go back or would you reconsider that?” Hannity asked.

“We are going to follow the laws of the country,” Trump replied.

“They have to go back?” Hannity followed up.

“We’re going to see who people are, we’re going to see how they’ve done,” Trump replied.

[…]

So: President Trump would prioritize deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of violent crimes and would be open to “softening” and, maybe, letting others stay. That’s basically Jeb Bush’s stance: that some undocumented immigrants are dangerous and violent, and they need to be deported, and that others are decent, hard-working people who can offer a lot to American society, and they should stick around.

Right, the same positions that Trump slammed Bush or supporting in February, because they were too weak on illegal immigration. In fact, much of Trump’s attacks on Bush, besides calling him “low energy,” were based on his stance on immigration. Let’s just get to the heart of the matter; Trump may do a few things differently. He may allow ICE agents to deport more people, he will certainly add more measures that ensure border and immigration enforcement, but he’s not going to deport 11 million people. He’s probably not going to build the wall. He’s going to be a more aggressive version of Obama. So, in other words, we could’ve had Marco, or dare I say Ted, and have this not be an issue for the GOP base. Heck, 47 percent of Trump supporters back amnesty, with 56 percent of Republican backing a pathway to legal status.

For the Trump supporters who actually thought there was going to be a deportation force, a wall, and immigration enforcement like we’ve never seen before, welcome to politics—where disappointment in our lawmakers is pervasive. The man you thought was going to be the Sheriff Arpaio at the federal level turned out to be more like Jeb.

At the same time, you can also remind Clinton supporters that their gal said she was “adamantly against illegal immigrants” back in 2003.

Inspiring Football Walk-on Brandon Burlsworth Gets Story Told in ‘Greater’

If you haven’t heard of Brandon Burlsworth, the film "Greater" is the perfect introduction. Burlsworth was an impressive young man who became an incredibly successful walk-on for the Arkansas Razorback football team. His work ethic, his sincerity, and, most importantly, his faith, inspired his teammates both on and off the football field. He got drafted to the NFL at the age of 22, but tragically died in a car accident just 11 days later.

Burlsworth’s life is remembered beautifully in “Greater.” Newcomer Chris Severio does a convincing job capturing the young man’s love of life and his constant desire to be all that he could be in God's eyes. His attitude never failed to bring out the best in everyone. Neal McDonough ("Arrow") gives an equally compelling performance as his older – often cynical – but always supportive brother. 

By the film's conclusion, the audience may not understand why Burlsworth was taken so early, but they will understand the meaning behind the title.

Check out the film – in theaters nationwide this Friday, as well as an exclusive clip below. What better way way to welcome the start of the NCAA football season on September 1?

Traitors: Ann Coulter Issues Warning To Republicans Who Say They Can Work With Clinton

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter had a warning for Republicans, who said they could work with Clinton: you’re traitors. In an interview with The Washington Examiner, they mention Rep. Steve King’s remarks while on the stump, where he said that he could work with Hillary Clinton, though he’s definitely voting for Trump in the general come November:

Any Republican who says he can work with Hillary Clinton is a traitor to the nation," she said. "It's finished."

Coulter, author of the new book In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!, told the Examiner the U.S. and the GOP are both "over" if Clinton wins.

"They're whistling past the grave yard," she said. "It's not just the GOP, it's the country. It's over. It was fun while it lasted but the country is finished. She and [vice presidential nominee] Tim Kaine have vowed to push through amnesty. … You grant amnesty, there will be a rush for a border. … It's over. It's over if she's elected. … Go to a Cubs game and see how many people are in the stands because when you can't win, nobody cares anymore."

Well, there may not be amnesty, but Trump does seem open to supporting earned legal status, illegals paying back taxes, and deporting ones with criminal records. You know, what Jeb Bush was advocating when he was running for president. It’s no shock that Coulter is unhappy with Trump’s possible pivot on immigration, an issue that catapulted him to frontrunner status and eventually nabbed him the Republican nomination. She said such a move would be a mistake. Still, if Trump loses, I doubt members on the Hill will worry about the wrath of Ann Coulter.

Frankly, I can see some outreach here. It’s not totally insane to work with the president on issues where you find agreement. I would be more vexed at those Republicans who have endorsed Clinton this cycle. Endorsing Lady Macbeth is move I can never understand.

Last Note: Here's what King said about Clinton, thanks to The Des Moines Register:

“I’ve sat across the table with Hillary Clinton eye-to-eye, and when you’re working outside of staff and outside of the press she is somebody I can work with,” King said during a speech at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

Wow: Obama Let Iran's Democratic Green Revolution Die to Bolster His Own Nuclear Deal Legacy

In the summer of 2009, thousands of young Iranians seeking freedom and a true democracy hit the streets in protest of the tyrannical, Islamic government controlling the country. Due to a lack of free press, they used Twitter to get their message out as millions around the world watched anxiously. 

This wasn't an Arab Spring movement, but rather a legitimate cause that could have changed the stronghold the current Iranian regime has on its people and the region. The people risking their lives in protest repeatedly looked to the United States and newly minted President Obama for leadership and help. After all, his American campaign for the White House was based on a slogan of hope and change. 

But Obama's help never came and the United States stood by as a once vibrant movement was snuffed out. 

Now a new book, Iran Wars, details how Obama's failure to act was deliberate, went against the counsel of his top advisors and shows he was more interested in cementing his legacy with an Iranian nuclear deal than aiding the country in its desire for freedom. Bloomberg reports on the findings: 

Obama wasn't just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, "The Iran Wars," Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.

Solomon reports that Obama ordered the CIA to sever contacts it had with the green movement's supporters. "The Agency has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms," Solomon writes. "But in this case the White House ordered it to stand down."

Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country's ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession. And even though the president would impose severe sanctions on the country's economy at the end of his first term and beginning of his second, from the start of his presidency, Obama made it clear the U.S. did not seek regime change for Iran. 

Even with a Iran nuclear deal, the relationship between the United States and the regime hasn't improved. Missiles are still being launched in violation of sanctions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is harassing U.S. ships at sea and still regularly takes American hostages. Further, it's important to remember the Iran nuclear deal doesn't prevent a nuclear weapon, it simply delays the timing.

A successful Green Revolution would have changed the course of history for the better. To say the least, it's failure was a horribly lost opportunity.

Allied Forces Reunite: Nigel Farage Rallies 10,000+ Trump Supporters in Mississippi

The man who is responsible for what many are calling Brexit, or Great Britain's decision to withdraw from the European Union over globalist concerns, joined Republican nominee Donald Trump last night at a campaign event in Jackson, Mississippi.  

Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independent Party, hyped up the crowd by ripping the establishment and telling the people, "You can beat the pollsters, you can beat the commentators, you can beat Washington.  If you want change, you better get your walking boots on."

Anything is possible if enough decent people want to fight the establishment," he said.

He also mentioned the time the Barack Obama came to Great Britian demanding that the people vote to 'stay' in the European Union.

"Yes, we were visited by one Barack Obama," Farage said in a sarcastic English accent. "And he talked down to us. He treated us as if we were nothing," Farage said.

He took the time to hit Hillary Clinton and the government corruption scandals that plague her career.

"I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me!" Farage said to the crowd. "I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me!"

Sessions: "Something Big is Happening... People Are Taking Their Country Back"

While introducing Republican nominee Donald Trump at a campaign event in Tampa, Florida, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that there is no doubt that Trump is best suited to serve the American people as president.  

“Thank you for being part of a movement that’s going to put America on the right track again,” Sessions said to the  crowd. “You know the American people are right. They are right consistently if you just listen to them. They want a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest. What’s wrong with that? We’ve had politicians promise for 30 years they are going to fix this system and have never done it. And Donald Trump will build a wall and fix it.”

He concluded by saying that the large crowds and rising poll numbers are no coincidence.  

"We need a strong person with clear values who will stand and fight for us and Donald Trump that person in my opinion. Now friends, that’s kind of how I came to decide early on to support Donald Trump and I believe what I have seen of him in the last few days as we have traveled together and seen cold start moving significantly in his direction.  The big crowds that are occurring, like this one are happening all over the country.  Don’t tell me something big isn’t is happening. The people are taking their country back.”

BREAKING: More Staffers Resign from RNC, Opposition to Trump a Major Factor

Townhall Political Editor Guy Benson is reporting on Twitter that multiple communications staffers at the RNC have resigned from their positions -- citing, in large part, their discomfort with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.  These departures come in addition to the former officials named two weeks ago in a Politico story.

The RNC has already seen at least five staffers, including director of Hispanic media Ruth Guerra and deputy press secretary James Hewitt, quit over concerns about Trump.  More details about the latest additions to the exodus are forthcoming...


Editor's Note: The contents of this post have been altered, for clarity.

USA Today On Clinton Foundation: Hillary, Bill–Shut It Down

It’s not just Trump and the Republicans who are noticing the ethical dilemmas Clinton faces with her family’s foundation. Even members of the media are saying it’s time to shut it down to avoid any further pay-to-play allegations that could hamper her presidency should she win in November. The power couple has already said that they will sever their official ties with the Foundation should they win the election (Hillary has already resigned from the board), and they would stop accepting money from foreign and corporate interests. That still doesn’t shield them from paid access accusations, as we’ve seen from her time at State.

While Hillary vowed not to give preferential treatment to donors while she was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation was still used as a back channel to guarantee meetings with her and donors to the the non-profit. More than half of the nongovernmental meetings she had while she was secretary of state were with Foundation donors. USA Today’s editorial board wrote this week that should Clinton win, she would have to shut down the Foundation in order to be successful in her long-term campaign to build trust with voters, among squashing other ethical questions that will certainly zap her political capital (not saying that this would be a bad thing—as it could soften her up for 2020...maybe?):

Ending foreign and corporate contributions is a good step, but allowing them to continue at least through the first week of November looks more like an influence-peddling fire sale (Give while you still can!) than a newfound commitment to clean government.

And the complex plan for allowing donations from U.S. citizens and permanent residents, keeping some parts of the Clinton Foundation alive, and maintaining scores of Clinton-family allies on the payroll is less an opportunity for a clean slate than a guarantee of new controversy.

[…]

…the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t support these steps, she boosts Trump’s farcical presidential campaign and, if she’s elected, opens herself up to the same kind of pay-to-play charges that she was subject to as secretary of State.

[…]

Should Clinton win, she’ll face an uphill battle to rebuild trust in government and find a way to get Washington working again. That task will be all the harder if millions of voters repulsed by Trump’s rhetoric and concerned with his volatile behavior find that his “Crooked Hillary” taunt had some substance in fact.

The New York Times  also noted how Hillary’s Foundation ties are beginning to impact her campaign, with polls showing that the vast majority of Americans were concerned about her nonprofit receiving millions of dollars from foreign donors while she was secretary of state. Even some of her staunchest allies, like former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, said that the Foundation should be closed in the circumstance that she becomes the next president of the United States:

A Bloomberg poll in June showed that 72 percent of voters said it bothered them either a lot or a little that the Clinton Foundation took money from foreign countries while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. In a CNN/ORC International Poll the same month, 38 percent of voters said Mr. Clinton should completely step down from the foundation, while 60 percent said he should be able to continue working with the foundation if his wife became president. Mr. Clinton said Thursday he would leave the foundation’s board if Mrs. Clinton won.

Edward G. Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, said the foundation should be disbanded if Mrs. Clinton wins, and he added that it would make sense for the charity to stop taking foreign donations immediately.

The email fiasco is still plaguing her, and now she has to deal with the multitude of ethical questions concerning her dealings with her own nonprofit that’s been allegedly selling access for cash. The Clinton Foundation has been accused of being a bank for the wealthy and well connected to deposit their favors with the Clintons. And one of them could be the next president. Talk about all-access with America’s full faith and credit behind it. That’s the problem—and it should be taken seriously.

Barack Obama Creates New National Monument in Maine's North Woods

Two of Maine's representatives in Congress are not happy after President Obama signed an executive order creating the "Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument," placing 87,563 acres of Maine's woods under federal control. It is thought that the area may eventually be designated as a national park, but Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin aren't too thrilled.

In a statement released to her website, Collins raised questions about the cost of upkeep, as well as concerns how the people who live near the land opposed the creation of the national monument.

“While I recognize that the President has the legal authority to designate national monuments, I believe he should not have used his executive authority given the objection lodged by the Maine Legislature, the lack of consensus among Mainers who live in the area, and the absence of Congressional approval. Bypassing Congress and taking this action without the support of the state and the local communities circumvented discussions of alternatives such as the creation of a national recreation area or management by the Forest Service—proposals that might have had broader support than the President unilaterally designating a national monument.

“This monument designation gives rise to a host of questions ranging from simple logistical matters to fundamental questions such as what will the impact be on taxpayers and whether the National Park Service, with its nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog, can afford to manage this new federal acquisition. While the Quimby family's promise of a $40 million endowment is generous, it is difficult to see how that amount can possibly cover the startup and ongoing costs of the monument area.

Similarly, Poliquin said he was opposed to the unilateral action, and implored Obama to work with the people of Maine to properly manage and use the land:

“As Maine’s Representative in Congress for the 2nd District, I joined Senators Collins and King in sending a letter to President Obama last November expressing reservations about the unilateral decision to designate a national monument in our State. We jointly raised concerns about the idea and urged the President to listen to local voices. Several communities most impacted by such a plan voted in non-binding referendums on the proposal in the Katahdin Region and in every instance the people voted in large numbers to oppose the concept. Additionally, the Maine Legislature passed a bipartisan resolution to officially oppose the idea as well.

“While opposed to a unilateral decision, ignoring the votes in the local towns, the Maine Legislature, and Congress, I will continue to work with everyone to move this project forward in the right way in order to build a stronger economy that creates more and better paying jobs in the Katahdin Region and in Maine.

“All public officials must do everything humanly possible to help ensure local input as to how this new federal land will be managed. Our local job creators—not Washington bureaucrats—know best how to use our working forests and provide proper access for industries to create more jobs including those in the outdoor recreation businesses, like snowmobiling, hunting, rafting, camping and so on.

More People Watched Teen Mom And A Friends Rerun Than Hillary on Kimmel

While the media fawned over Hillary Clinton's appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Monday, apparently viewers had other television watching plans: the show was beaten in the ratings by the season 6 premiere of "Teen Mom" as well as by a repeat of an episode of "Friends."

For a point of reference, "Friends" ended its run in May of 2004, when this author was in the seventh grade.

"Kimmel" garnered only an 0.4 rating, whereas the newest episode of Teen Mom, where viewers saw Maci Bookout get engaged to her longtime boyfriend Taylor and find out she's pregnant with her third child, got a 0.7 rating.

According to The Hill, Republican nominee Donald Trump's appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" got a 0.6 rating, or about a 30 percent more viewers.

But don't worry guys, Hillary Clinton opened a jar of pickles on Kimmel, so everything is fine.

While it's amusing that more people want to tune in to see a television show that's at least 12 years old (or, alternatively, watch a reality show featuring a collection of people who are essentially famous for being famous), this likely speaks to the sense of election fatigue the American public is experiencing. This has been a very long election, and neither candidate has very high favorability ratings. It's hard to blame people for wanting to watch something funny/relatively mindless instead.

Nicole Wallace Reminds Hillary Campaign That Sit-down Interviews Are Different Than Pressers

Hillary Clinton's Campaign Chief Robby Mook is running out of robotic talking points to use when responding to questions about the Democratic nominee's lack of press conferences. When MSNBC anchor Nicole Wallace pressed him about Clinton not holding a press conference in over 260 days, Mook noted - again - that Clinton has done hundreds of sit-down interviews.

Wallace, annoyed that Mook thought sit-down interviews were the same thing as pressers, reminded him that they are not.

"I didn't talk about interviews. I know the difference between a 3-minute ground-ruled interview and a press conference because I've put on a couple of each," she said. "Why wouldn't you put [Clinton] out there to answer questions that she can certainly handle if your defense is true?"

Well, why isn't the media asking Trump about his "foreign connections," Mook responded, avoiding a direct answer.

Wallace again noted that Clinton's avoiding the press only suggests there is truth to the report that the Clinton Foundation was granted special access to the State Department while she was secretary of state.

Mook laughed off these follow-up questions.

Fun Police: Milwaukee County Trying to Force Pokemon Go To Get A Permit

Pokemon Go is easily this summer's biggest viral sensation, with people around the world joining teams (Go Mystic!) and scrambling to catch 'em all. There have been plenty of stories about how the game has helped children with autism, fostered community, and inspired some budding entrepreneurs.

But none of this matters to the real-life Team Rocket in Milwaukee County, where officials are upset (?) that people are going to the county's parks to visit Pokestops and catch Pokemon. The county has written to Pokemon Go developer Niantic requesting that the company acquire a permit before "placing" anything in the park.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Niantic has not responded.

Cry me a river. Parks are meant to be played in and used by people. While it's a whole other issue why a mobile phone game was the catalyst that got people to go outside and actually visit said parks, it's still a good thing that people are doing it. A park is an appropriate place for a Pokestop. The government does not need to get its hands on everything. There is no safety concern with a Pokestop's "presence" in a public park, plus a Pokestop shouldn't constitute an "event" any more than a park bench or a playground would be an event. They're things people "visit"--even if one is imaginary. You can't put a permit on something that doesn't technically exist in the real world.

As for the issue of permits, I think Ron Swanson from "Parks and Recreation" said it best:

North Carolina GOP Official Says the State Polls Are 'B.S.'

The polls out of North Carolina are surprisingly poor for Donald Trump. The state, which has only voted Democrat twice since 1968, including for Barack Obama in 2008, currently favors Hillary Clinton over the GOP nominee, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Yet, if you ask at least one official from the North Carolina GOP, he'll dismiss the doomsday scenario for his party's nominee.

And Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of N.C. GOP, pointed to Republicans outpacing Democrats in voter registrations in the state as a sign that any concern is premature. “I think we always have reason to worry,” he said calling a recent NBC poll that showed Trump down by nine points in the state as “B.S.” “What I’m hearing is normal, healthy discussions around election time.”

Campus Republicans, meanwhile, say the passion shown in the primary is a good omen for November. 

Not all of the state GOP operatives are dismissing the polls, however.

“It certainly has the potential to be one of the worst elections we’ve seen in a long time,” said Carter Wrenn, a veteran GOP strategist in the state. Wrenn said looking at Trump’s troubles and latest polling, the question on Republicans’ minds across the state has been: “How bad could it get?”

It's not only the numbers in North Carolina making Republicans wince. States that are supposed to be Republican strongholds are only offering Trump tepid leads. In Texas, for instance, a recent poll gave him just a 6-point advantage. In Missouri, he's running neck-and-neck with Clinton.

His team must be a bit nervous because they are campaigning in the Lone Star State, as well as another normally red state, Mississippi.

Condoleezza Rice Seeks Justice for Former Secretary of State Framed by Hillary Clinton

As Hillary Clinton continues to urgently search for someone to blame for her private email scandal, she yet again is entangling herself in another lie.  

Last week, Gen. Colin Powell said in an interview with People magazine that Clinton has constantly been trying to throw his career under the bus ever since being reprimanded by FBI investigators.  

The Clinton camp says that in a conversation seven years ago, Powell said it was okay to use a private email server for her work as Secretary of State.  

“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” he said referring to her State Department e-mail scandal.  “The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did."

Powell, the first African-American Secretary of State was valiantly defended by his successor, Condoleezza Rice, in a statement released on Wednesday.  

The Rice statement came through her chief of staff at Stanford University, Georgia Godfrey, who stated, “Dr. Rice isn’t doing any media right now. I can tell you, though, that she has no recollection of that conversation either.”

Dog Wins Third Mayoral Term in Minnesota Town

A dog in the Minnesota village of Cormorant Township has been elected to his third consecutive term as honorary mayor. Duke, a 9-year-old Great Pyrenees, is reportedly very good with children and has been "mayor" of the 20-person village since a successful write-in campaign in 2014.

The big, shaggy white dog was overwhelmingly re-elected at the sixth annual Cormorant Daze Festival. Anyone could pay a dollar and cast a vote.

Cormorant resident Karen Nelson says Duke "greets everyone" who comes to the village of about 20 people nestled among lakes about 180 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Duke has not released any of his plans for the village, but one can assume his policies are very pet-friendly.

Burn After Reading: Obamacare Website Scrubs Any Reference On How To Keep Your Doctor

It was the biggest lie of the year: if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. It was one of the main selling points of the president’s health care overhaul, besides that the new law would cut costs. It hasn’t. To make things more intriguing, healthcare.gov has scrubbed references to the promise on their website, including whole sections on how you could keep your doctor under the Obamacare regime. Jeryl Bier of The Weekly Standard had more:

The original website contained a section entitled "Can I keep my own doctor?", later revised to "How to keep your doctor." A version of the website as of last October can be seen here:

Just before open enrollment began last year, however, this section was dropped. Now the same link takes users to a section entitled "How to pick a health insurance plan." (The internet address that contains the words "keep-your-doctor" redirects to an address ending with "plan-types.")

The closest the website comes to mentioning the president's "keep your doctor" commitment is, "To be certain your doctor is included in your plan's network, contact the plan or provider for the most up-to-date information."

It may be appropriate to tweak some aspects of the site, given that the entire law is on the verge of total collapse. The notion whether the law was meant to collapse on itself to pave way for single-payer health care has been a subject of debate among conservatives since the law was passed. Americans have been opting to remain uninsured and pay the penalty since it's more economical for them. The premiums for almost every plan, including the low-cost plans, have shot through the roof. So, yeah, I guess how I can see why the Obama’s speechwriters shared a nice laugh about the “you can keep it” promise. Disgusting.

Clinton, Trump In A Dead Heat...In Missouri

Republican nominee Donald Trump may be making some pivots in his campaign, but have they come too late? Right now, Trump could be in trouble in very friendly GOP territory, with him neck-and-neck with Clinton in South Carolina. He’s also leading by one…in Missouri (via CNN):

Donald Trump is leading Hillary Clinton by a single percentage point in Missouri, according to a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday.

The survey found that 44% of voters support Trump, while 43% back Clinton, well within the poll's margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. Another 8% of respondents told pollsters they intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, 1% said they would write in another candidate,and the remaining 5% were undecided.

The poll is one of the first snapshot of voters in Missouri -- a state that has remained red during the past four presidential elections -- since the July conventions.

And here’s South Carolina:

Yet, there’s also reason to brush off this round of polling. For starters, the South Carolina poll was commissioned by the state Democratic Party. The Missouri poll only had a sample size of 401, far below the minimum of 600 people to get a more accurate gauge on a statewide race. At the same time, let’s not kid ourselves. While the founder of Current TV, Michael Rosenblum might disagree (he thinks Trump will win, polls be damned), Trump is losing right now—and set to lose big if something doesn’t happen soon. I’m guessing he feels he can lead a successful comeback in the upcoming debates. Also, don’t put too much stock in this rather bizarre notion that Trump is actually winning in the polls because of “undercover Trump voters.” A point that was made by the Republican nominee’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. It’s hard to put faith in a factor that cannot be proven. Moreover, it could be a rather embarrassing turn of events for those who actually put faith in this theory that there are hidden/silent blocs of voters that will vote for their candidate. Wendy Davis’ dumpster fire of a gubernatorial race, where she couldn’t even break 40 percent of the vote, was described as a rudderless clown show that placed faith on the notion that there was some silent liberal base, hence why her team thought it was fine that the die-hard abortion rights supporter could run like a normal liberal Democrat. As Guy noted, Trump may be putting more faith in the polls than relying on his silent legions of supporters since he’s campaigning in Texas and Mississippi. States no Republican should spend serious time in by the way, but that’s what you have to do when you fundraise.

Obama Blocks Congressional Inquiry Into Our Non-Ransom, Leverage Payment To Iran

So, will we ever find out the internal dynamics of the $400 million non-ransom that used for leverage by an administration that said we don’t pay ransom, even though it was stipulated that the monies wouldn’t be handed over until the four detained Americans were released? In other words, it was a ransom. Yet, the taxpayers will probably never know how their $1.7 billion was paid to Iran over an arms deal dispute that dates back to 1979; the $400 million was part of that sum appropriated by Congress earlier this year. Why? Well, Obama has blocked congressional inquires Adam Kredo of The Washington Free Beacon has more:

The Obama administration is withholding from Congress details about how $1.3 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds was delivered to Iran, according to conversations with lawmakers, who told the Washington Free Beacon that the administration is now stonewalling an official inquiry into the matter.

The Departments of State, Treasury, and Justice have all rebuffed a congressional probe into the circumstances surrounding the $1.3 billion payment to Iran, which is part of an additional $400 million cash payout that occurred just prior to the release of several U.S. hostages and led to accusations that the administration had paid Iran a ransom.

The Obama administration has admitted in recent days that the $400 million cash delivery to Iran was part of an effort to secure the release of these American hostages, raising further questions on Capitol Hill about White House efforts to suppress these details from the public.

The $400 million was part of a $1.7 billion legal settlement reached with Iran earlier this year. Congressional inquiries into how this money reached Iran are failing to get answers.

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and David Perdue sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry demanding some more details about this payment, especially given that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. They also asked in their letter whether Iran would have released our citizens if the payment weren’t made, was the payment linked to their release, and guaranteed that these funds would not be sued to fund terrorism. It’s probably safe to say that this request will be put on the backburner. Right now, some serious spin/damage control needs to be executed to explain why we apparently pay ransom now.