Analysis: Top Political Prognosticator Now Predicts Dem Senate Takeover

The venerable Cook Political Report is now projecting a gain of five to seven US Senate seats for the Democratic Party, which would wrest control of the upper chamber away from Republicans, and promote Chuck Schumer to the position of majority leader. Cook's reasoning is very plausible, but does it stand up to the current polling data? Maybe. Democrats need to net four seats to forge the slimmest of majorities, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential race. A quick state-by-state update:

Illinois: Polling has been relatively scant, but liberal challenger Tammy Duckworth is expected to defeat incumbent moderate Mark Kirk in this race, despite some bad headlines for Duckworth about her oversight work at the state's VA. Tough, very blue state in a presidential year. Solid Dem pick-up.

Wisconsin: Even though Ron Johnson has battled to within the margin of error in a few Badger State surveys, Democrat Russ Feingold remains a clear favorite to win back his old seat. Johnson supporters remain hopeful that an upset may be brewing, but Feingold is ahead. Likely Dem pick-up.

Indiana: Developments in this race have gotten almost cartoonishly bad for Obamacare-supporter-turned-DC-lobbyist Evan Bayh, whose big lead and war chest have dwindled down into precarious territory. More damaging information seems to leak out about him every day, and Republicans smell blood. Conservative Todd Young's trajectory is said to be positive, but (minimal) public polling still has Bayh out front at the moment, and Trump's coattails in the traditionally red state aren't looking strong; Fox News just downgraded the state from safe GOP to lean GOP.  The "fundamentals" of this race smell inauspicious for Bayh, but for now, his family name is keeping this one a lean Dem pick-up.

New Hampshire: One outlier survey gave liberal Maggie Hassan a whopping nine-point advantage over incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte last week, but four of the last five state polls show Ayotte +1, a tie, a tie, and Ayotte +4. It is extremely close. In this pure toss-up race, the Ayotte campaign is smartly pouncing all over the awful Obamacare news with a fresh TV ad:

Pennsylvania: Keystone Staters have a history of ticket-splitting, and that's what Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is counting on to carry the day next month. Despite Donald Trump's struggles in the state, Toomey is tied or leading in four of the last five statewide surveys, and holds an average lead of roughly two points in the RCP average. His Democratic opponent has been plagued by ethical baggage, and had an embarrassing moment at their recent debate. Given the dynamics of the presidential race, and how close Toomey's victory was in the 2010 GOP wave election, this contest is a pure toss-up.

Nevada: In Republicans' lone pick-up opportunity, the party's impressive Senate nominee Joe Heck (a medical doctor, soldier and businessman) is locked in a very tight battle with Harry Reid's hand-selected successor, Catherine Cortez Masto. Heck had led in every public poll until the last few weeks, when he's been overtaken by the Democrat -- but just barely. The last three polls average out to an exact tie in this race. But given Trump's deterioration in the state and the vaunted Reid machine poised to spring into action for his candidate, this looks like a slight lean Dem hold -- although it's absolutely winnable for Heck, depending on how things break.

Missouri: Democrats really want this one, fielding a fresh-faced veteran challenger against incumbent Republican Roy Blunt. But the Democratic nominee is too liberal, and the Show Me State is looking too red. Polls are surprisingly tight, but Blunt has led in almost all of them, and Trump is running even stronger there. Lean GOP hold.

North Carolina: Richard Burr is an underwhelming campaigner, and North Carolina is a very swingy state these days, so this competition is giving DC Republicans indigestion. But Tar Heel State Democrats have chosen an ACLU activist to oppose Burr, and recent focus on her extreme record appears to have set her back a bit in the polls. Hillary Clinton is leading in this state, yet Burr is keeping his head above water. He's only trailed in one of the last 11 surveys of the race -- which may ultimately be determined by the margins at the top of the ticket. Lean GOP hold.

Florida: The polling margins are all over the place in this one, with two recent polls showing Marco Rubio up 10 and 14 points, or up two or four points. The consistent factor is that Rubio's ahead across the board. Democrats nominated an amusingly flawed candidate, who is out of his depth against the talented incumbent. National Democrats have pulled out of this race, even though liberals desperately want to end Rubio's career; they see him as a potential future threat at the national level, as we've learned through public quotes and private emails. I've heard that both parties' internal polling give Rubio a consistent, but relatively modest, edge of three to five points. One X factor could be the presidential race, where Mrs. Clinton holds a small lead in the state, although a new Bloomberg poll shows Trump surging ahead by a pair. Likely GOP hold.

Ohio: Rob Portman just keeps winning. Big League. Solid GOP hold.

Add up the columns from our ratings above, and Democrats are favored to gain three seats -- one shy of a probable majority, an two shy of an outright majority.  Can they get there?  Absolutely.  By definition, those toss-ups could go either way, and a few of those "lean GOP" races are worrisomely close for Republicans.  If Clinton ends up winning comfortably, and the Democrats' ground game totally outclasses the GOP's, it's conceivable to see most of the closest contests all cascade in one direction, building a wave that will sweep Senate Democrats into power.  But if Hillary's margins are smaller, or Trump over-performs, it is still entirely possible that the GOP could cling to a very slim upper chamber majority.  The question keeping NRSC officials up at night is whether the ticket-splitting that's showing up in public polling will actually materialize in voters' actions.  Reports of Trump pulling up his joint fundraising stakes yesterday, which have been contradicted by others within his camp, touched off a ripple of panic in Republican circles:

The party just announced one last mega blitz to try to pull some of its candidates over the finish line:

Thirteen days.

Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Destroyed

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been repeatedly vandalized. While most of the earlier vandalism was easily fixed, early on Wednesday morning a man took a sledgehammer to the star and completely destroyed it.

According to Deadline, a man identified as Jamie Otis dressed as a construction worker and smashed the star with a pickax and a sledgehammer. He originally intended on selling the star, with proceeds going to the women who claim they were assaulted by Trump. The star was not removed and is still embedded in the ground.

This is believed to be the first time a star has been destroyed in an act of vandalism.

New Polls: Trump Gaining in Pennsylvania, Ahead in Florida and Ohio

Why is Republican nominee Donald Trump leading in two battleground states and nearly tied in another with less than two weeks before the election?  Experts, analysts, and Washington, D.C. insiders lectured the American people on how this was not supposed to happen.   

According to a new poll, Trump maintains a healthy lead in Ohio over Hillary Clinton, 46 to 42 percentage points and in a Bloomberg Politics poll of Florida, Trump leads Clinton 45 to 43.  In Pennsylvania, Trump continues to dwindle Clinton's lead where he is now within three points of the Democratic nominee.

Florida and Ohio are must wins for the Trump campaign, and combined with a win in Pennsylvania, Trump would more than likely be the next President of the United States.  

In the most accurate poll of 2012, Trump is basically tied with Clinton nationally.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Investor’s Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence poll predicted the correct outcome of that election, exposing Obama's dramatically underestimated performance and the falsehood of Romney's estimated clear victory.   

At a rally in Tallahassee on Tuesday night, Trump made clear his intentions in the Sunshine State.  “In 14 days we are going to win the state of Florida and we are going to win back the White House,” he declared.

Watch Live: Grand Opening of Trump Hotel in D.C.

Watch Live: Clinton Holds Rally in Lake Worth

Pentagon Will No Longer Seek Bonus Repayments From California Vets

In a quick reversal, the Pentagon has announced it will no longer seek bonus repayments from California Army National Guard soldiers.

Earlier this week, we found out that the Pentagon sent letters to the former soldiers asking they repay the bonuses they received for reenlistment - or face fines.

Lawmakers blasted the Pentagon's demand, calling it "disgraceful" and "insulting."

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the repayment process will be suspended as soon as it is practical.

Obamacare Architect Says He Needs a Graph to Explain Obama's Premium Explanation

Ezekiel Emanuel is one the architects of the Affordable Care Act, the health care legislation which, contrary to what President Obama claims, has failed to live up to its name. On Monday, we learned that Americans under an Obamacare plan will see their premiums rise by an average of 25 percent. CNN's Jake Tapper pressed Emanuel for answers on Tuesday. First, he read him a quote from the president back when he was trying to sell ACA to the American people, claiming their premiums would go down.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (CLIP): “If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period. You’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that, if you're an employee at a big company you can get right now which means your premiums will go down.”

TAPPER: “Your premiums will go down. There are a lot of Americans that are going to say that didn't come true, that was false.”

Emanuel responded by telling Tapper Obama's remarks could easily be explained, but they needed to be accompanied by a graph.

EMANUEL: “This is a complicated thing. Actually, Jake, I would love to come back and show a graph where that can fully explain the president's comment. In fact, if you look at health insurance premiums from the Bush era and you graph the line as if it continued, the fact is that premiums have gone substantially down compared to where they would have been under President Bush if those lines have continued. And people have saved. That doesn’t mean that premiums have gone down in real dollars but they've gone down compared to what they would have been."

Why do we need a graph to figure out the president's signature legislation? Its complicated nature should have raised red flags for Congress. In fact, it did. The near 3,000-page bill worried Republicans, but convinced former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that we simply needed to pass it to "find out what's in it."

Emanuel continued to "defend" the legislation he helped to draft by "totally" agreeing with Tapper that at least 1 million Americans will be "severely or uncomfortably" impacted by it. 

As for Tapper, he invited Emanuel to come back on the show with graph in hand.

"Zeke, bring your chart next time and I’ll let you show it."

Biden: I've Never Criticized The Tea Party, Just Those Times I Said They Were Crazy And Acted Like Terrorists

Vice President Joe Biden was stricken with amnesia during his interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last night when he said that he never criticized the Tea Party.

“You never heard me criticize the Tea Party,” said Biden. “And the reason I didn’t is there’s a lot of people who are scared and beat up and what happens—they lost a lot in what happened during the Bush administration,” he added.

Yeah, in 2011, you likened the Tea Party to terrorists, Joe:

Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit, according to several sources in the room.

Biden was agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

Now, Biden denies that he used the word terrorism, telling CBS News’ Scott Pelley at the time that he allowed Democrats to vent their frustration over obstacles during budget talks with Republicans:

Biden told Pelley he let lawmakers "vent" about the deal, which includes spending cuts but may not include revenue increases. (Some liberal House Democrats have vowed not to back the deal.) But he says he did not assert that he agreed with the terrorism comparison.

"What happened was there were some people who said they felt like they were being held hostage by terrorists," he said. "I never said that they were terrorists or weren't terrorists, I just let them vent."

Okay—he says it’s not true. There’s a lot of latitude when closed-door meetings are involved in any situation. Regardless, in 2014, he again criticized the Tea Party, calling them “crazy.”

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Biden has criticized the Tea Party. Whether it’s calling them crazy or likening them to terrorists, he’s lashed out at them; good, hard working people who just want smaller government, less taxes, less regulations, and more jobs. The horror! The horror!

Report: 91 Percent of Media's Trump Coverage Has Been Negative

Since the nominating conventions in July, Donald Trump has enjoyed significantly more airtime on broadcast networks than rival Hillary, but almost all of it—91 percent—has been negative, the Media Research Center found.

Moreover, the networks spent a disproportionate amount of time covering his personal controversies (440 minutes) such as his treatment of women and release of his tax returns, compared to Clinton’s (185 minutes), discussing topics like her health and email scandal.

The results show neither candidate was celebrated by the media (as Obama was in 2008), but network reporters went out of their way to hammer Trump day after day, while Clinton was largely out of their line of fire.

Our analysts found 184 opinionated statements about Hillary Clinton, split between 39 positive statements (21%) vs. 145 negative (79%). Those same broadcasts included more than three times as many opinionated statements about Trump, 91 percent of which (623) were negative vs. just nine percent positive (63).

Even when they were critical of Hillary Clinton — for concealing her pneumonia, for example, or mischaracterizing the FBI investigation of her e-mail server — network reporters always maintained a respectful tone in their coverage.

This was not the case with Trump, who was slammed as embodying “the politics of fear,” or a “dangerous” and “vulgar” “misogynistic bully” who had insulted vast swaths of the American electorate. Reporters also bluntly called out Trump for lying in his public remarks in a way they never did with Clinton, despite her own robust record of false statements.

Here’s a glimpse of what the coverage looked like: 

If one thing really is rigged this election cycle, it’s the media.

Newt Gingrich Accuses Megyn Kelly Of Being "Fascinated With Sex" And Covering For The Clintons

In what was one of the more unusual exchanges to ever occur on a cable news network, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich accused Fox News' Megyn Kelly of being "fascinated with sex" and attempting to cover up some of Hillary Clinton's misdeeds.

Gingrich said that Kelly was not interested in covering the various Clinton scandals, and was instead focusing too much on Donald Trump's accusers. When Kelly insisted that she had indeed covered these topics, Gingrich then proceeded to "dare" her to declare that former President Bill Clinton is a sexual predator.

Watch the utterly baffling video here:

To Kelly's credit, she seemed more amused than anything else by the suggestion that she is "fascinated" with sex. Kelly also pointed out that Trump is the nominee for president and therefore people are more concerned with his actions than those of Bill Clinton.

WikiLeaks: Huma Abedin Admits Clinton's 'Still Not Perfect In Her Head' at Start of Campaign

 After footage surfaced of Hillary Clinton struggling to walk and nearly collapsing at the 9/11 memorial service, her health has become a serious concern for voters. Now, new emails released from WikiLeaks showing her top aide Huma Abedin making cryptic comments about Clinton’s head might sow even more seeds of doubt about the Democratic nominee’s fitness to be president.

Just days after Clinton kicked off her campaign in April 2015, Abedin made a curious remark in an email thread related to Jeb Bush’s use of super PACs.

Joel Benenson replied to the group of Clinton staffers that her response to Jeb’s tactics should be something more than “I am very concerned.”

 “I will leave commenting on campaign tactics to others. What I have made absolutely clear is that corporate money and secret money have no place in our democracy and we should get rid of it once and for all,” he wrote, suggesting a better response.

Huma replied, “She’s going to stick to notes a little closer this am, still not perfect in her head.”

And that’s not the only time Clinton’s head came up in the leaked emails.

In September of that same year, Podesta wrote to Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to ask:  'How bad is her head?' in an email with the subject line 'Any sense of whether and when she wants to talk?'

Don't know,' Palmieri replied. 'Huma left here about an hour ago. I just pinged again to ask about prep, haven't heard back.'

The emails suggest that Clinton's health was a frequent topic of concern since she suffered a concussion and 'cracked head' during a fall in December 2012.

Doctors discovered a blood clot in her head during examinations and Clinton was forced to take a month's absence to recover. By 2013, her doctors said that her treatment was successful and she'd had a'complete resolution' to the episode.   

But the latest Wikileaks dump appear to show that her aides were still concerned.

Trump has repeatedly questioned Clinton’s health and stamina on the campaign trail, even making it the subject of one of his ads.

Reports: Cannibalism Is Occurring In Venezuelan Jails

Venezuela’s socioeconomic fabric has come undone. With Venezuelans suffering from deplorable conditions, including lack of food, medical supplies, electricity, and other basic items, imagine how prison system is faring as the state deteriorates. For starters, there are grisly reports of inmates being eaten. That appears to be what has occurred at Táchira Detention Center, which ended a one-month standoff by inmates who were demanding prisoner transfers to other jails to escape overcrowding. According to the father of a victim, a law enforcement source, and someone who works in the penal system in the country, a) stories of cannibalism in overcrowded prisons isn’t new; and b) it happened (via Fox News Latino):

Juan Carlos Herrera is beyond devastated. He says his 25-year-old-son, jailed in 2015 for robbery, was beaten, dismembered and eaten by fellow inmates at the Táchira Detention Center.

The shocking claim became public on Oct. 10, when Herrera told the local media he made the gruesome discovery during a regular prison visit.


“One of those who were with him when he was murdered saw everything that happened,” Herrera told reporters. “My son and two others were taken by 40 people, stabbed, hanged to bleed, and then Dorancel butchered them to feed all detainees,” he added, referring to infamous inmate Dorancel “people-eater” Vargas, who is in prison since 1999 for cannibalism.

“The [inmate] with whom I spoke to told me that he was beaten with a hammer [in order] to force him to eat the remains of the two boys,” Herrera added tearfully.


A police source who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News Latino the claims of murder and cannibalism are true. “Two [inmates] are missing. They cut them up and fed them to several [of the fellow inmates], they made the bones disappear. Dorancel cut the flesh,” the source said.

On Thursday night, the Minister of Correctional Affairs Iris Varela confirmed the disappearance but denied the cannibalism allegations. She said while she “understands the father’s pain,” she regretted that he’s being used to channel lies that can be “easily debunked.”

Humberto Prado, coordinator of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP) said the alleged atrocity would be nothing new in the country’s convulsed prisons.

If true, this is absolutely ghastly

New Rule In Maine Would Bar Lottery Winners From Food Stamps

A proposed rule from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services would prohibit anyone who has won more than $5,000 in the state lottery in one month from receiving SNAP funds (food stamps). DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said that this rule was needed to ensure that only people who truly need assistance are receiving funds.

Per the DHHS, since 2010, 4,865 lottery tickets worth $1,000 or more have been cashed in by 3,685 people who receive some form of welfare benefits.

“This rule is consistent with recent Congressional reforms regarding the food stamp program and lottery winnings designed to ensure that this tax-payer funded benefit is appropriately supporting those who truly need the welfare assistance,” DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a press release.

In 2015, DHHS found that since 2010, there were 4,865 winning tickets of $1,000 or more that were cashed in by 3,685 individuals who were receiving SNAP, TANF or MaineCare (or some combination of those benefits) at the time that they won. The winners received more than $22 million in prizes while open on welfare programs, according to DHHS.

Maine recently made it illegal to use EBT funds to purchase lottery tickets, liquor, and bail money.

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in Tallahassee

Left Wing Nut Jobs Demand More Safe Spaces, Harass White Students

We have another episode of social justice warrior theater at your usual hub of progressivism, the University of California, Berkeley. The gripe of the day: no safe spaces for transgendered students. Lukas Mikelionis of Heat Street wrote that these students also wanted safe spaces for people of color, which already exist on campus.

The protest began on October 21, when students formed a human wall across Sather Gate, harassing white students, and blocking traffic. White students were barred from passing the blockade, but students of color were allowed to get through unmolested:

In video of the protest, the so-called anti-racism protesters were seen denying passage across the bridge to white students — shouting “go around” — while happily allowing students of color to pass through.

After blocking the bridge, the protesting students moved towards the front of campus to occupy the front of the student store, because they felt it interfered with their “safe spaces”.

A notice of eviction is seen being put on the building by students claiming “You are hereby notified by the students of the University of California, Berkeley to vacate the premises immediately. University administration wrongly allocated this two-story facility to a third-party corporations, keeping in line with its intensifying legacy of prioritizing financial profit over student needs.”

First of all, it seems to be pretty racist to allow people of color to pass, but not whites—who in this cesspool of progressivism probably agree with your agenda (which is insane). Second, shouldn’t these kids be in class? Third, welcome to Hillary Clinton’s America.

There are no safe spaces in the world. Yes, most things are run with profit in mind. That’s how institutions stay in business unless you’re a non-profit, but UC Berkeley isn’t a non-profit institution. Kids; things cost money. But most importantly it’s a rather ugly insight into the neo-segregationist vein that’s sweeping the Left, disguised as a movement aimed at helping people of color…by isolating them. It’s a wholly illiberal philosophy, but hopefully these kids will learn that once harsh reality hits them like a brick to the face.

Early Voting Continues to Break Records

The voter registration in Illinois broke records. The lines in Georgia were out the door. 

The massive early voter trend is continuing in Texas, where eager early voters are breaking turnout records. Fox News reporter Casey Stegall was on the ground in Harris County, where 67,000 people had cast a ballot on the first day of early voting. That's 20,000 more voters than 2012, he noted.

The Texas Tribune has a roundup of the latest record-breaking numbers in at least ten counties.

The enthusiastic voters in the red state may not exactly be showing up for Donald Trump, however. The Republican is up by only 3 percent (41 percent to Clinton's 38 percent), according to a new University of Houston poll.

I Know Nothing! State Department Aide Takes The Fifth 90 Times During Clinton Email Deposition

A former IT aide at the State Department refused to answer questions posited by Judicial Watch in their ongoing lawsuit over Hillary Clinton’s email server. Sarah Westwood at The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that John Bentel, the former Director of Information Resource Management, invoked the Fifth 90 times after being ordered to testify under oath by a judge when his previous account was ruled inconsistent with the official State Department Inspector General report:

A federal judge in August ordered Bentel to testify under oath because "the record in this case appears to contradict his sworn testimony before the Benghazi Committee."

Bentel told the House Select Committee on Benghazi in June 2015 that he had no knowledge of Clinton's private email server.

However, the State Department inspector general later discovered that Bentel "told employees in his office that Secretary Clinton's email arrangement had been approved by the State Department's legal staff and also instructed his subordinates not to discuss the Secretary's email again," according to the court order.

The email fiasco that’s plagued Hillary touched the Obama White House today when Wikileaks revealed that Clinton’s former Chief of Staff at State, Cheryl Mills, scrambled to remove any traces that President Obama had corresponded with Clinton through her unsecure and unauthorized email server via a pseudonym.

“We need to clean this up – he [Obama] has emails from her – they do not say,” wrote Mills on March 7, 2015, five days after The New York Times reported that Clinton had a secret email server. Obama had said that he found out about the secret server in the papers. That’s apparently another lie in Hillary’s email saga.

Despite Being Hillary's Email Scapegoat, Colin Powell Says He's Voting For Her

When D.C. Leaks hacked former Secretary of State Colin Powell's emails, the findings were entertaining, to say the least. For instance, we found out he did not care for either of the current presidential nominees. He said Donald Trump was an "international pariah." As for Clinton, "everything she touches she kind of destroys with hubris," he wrote. Yet, despite the criticism, Powell told the Long Island Association on Tuesday that he's voting for the Democratic nominee.

Powell is supporting Clinton despite her trying to blame him for her email scandal.

In one unearthed email, Powell said he warned Clinton's staff at least three times "not to try to connect it to me." 

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in Sanford

Clinton Ally on Email Fiasco: Well, It Looks Like Team Hillary 'Wanted To Get Away With It'

On the day (March 2, 2015) The New York Times revealed that Hillary Clinton used an unauthorized and unsecure email server to conduct all of her State Department business at State Department, which left our national security vulnerable—Center for American Progress Neera Tanden was emailing Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

Podesta wrote,” Speaking of transparency, our friends [David] Kendall, Cheryl and Philippe [Reines] sure weren't forthcoming on the facts here.” Kendall is one of Clinton’s lawyers and Reines was the former first lady’s top adviser and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

“This is a Cheryl [Mills] special. Know you love her, but this stuff is like her Achilles heal. Or kryptonite. She just can't say no to this shit. Why didn't they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy,” replied Tanden.

Podesta seemed equally shocked, replying “unbelievable.”

“I guess I know the answer … they wanted to get away with it,” wrote Tanden.

Alas, even some of Clinton’s top allies know this about the former first lady that every American has known for a long time: Lady Macbeth thinks she lives by a different set of rules.

And this latest batch of Wikileaks emails also shows Clinton aides scrambling to provide a buffer for the Obama White House. As Guy wrote, Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at State, shot off an email five days after the Times article as published saying, “we need to clean this up – he [Obama] has emails from her – they do not say”

Clinton has been caught in endless lies regarding this email fiasco, with a series of debunked talking points, namely that the server was authorized, that it was signed off by the State Department, that no classified information was on her server, and that she didn’t receive or sent emails with classified material. The latter point is also a center of controversy since the FBI found three emails that were classified at the time they were sent, but were marked improperly, despite Clinton being an original classification authority. But the fact remains: those emails had sensitive material on them.

The lies also reach the Obama White House, as the president was emailing Clinton on her private server using a pseudonym, which means that he didn’t find out about it in the papers. Katie wrote in February, that Obama knew about Clinton’s server, but was “unaware” about it. Now, we know that the Obama administration knew full well about Clinton’s unusual email arrangement.

Hostage Tells Attorney Iran is Demanding $4 Million Ransom

A permanent U.S. resident who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year has told his representing attorney that the Iranian government is demanding a ransom in exchange for his release, according to the Washington Examiner.

Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen and permanent resident of the United States, said Iranian officials told him in April it would take as much as $2 billion for his release from prison. In September, Iranian officials lowered that amount to $4 million, but he would remain in prison until the payment was made.

"This is a grave breach of, among [other international laws and treaties], the Geneva Conventions against hostage-taking," his lawyer, Jason Poblete, said on Tuesday. "Iran is using Nizar, other Americans and dual nationals, as political chattel to exact concessions from the U.S. and other powers."

Since Zakka was captured last fall, Poblete says his client has been psychologically tortured and subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment.

"On behalf of Nizar, we request that all be done by the U.S. and other governments to secure his unconditional release from captivity on humanitarian grounds," Poblete said.  "Nizar is extremely weak and getting sicker."

Zakka, an Internet freedom advocate who worked for the U.S. government, denies the charges of being spy. He believes the Iranian government lured him to Tehran in order imprison him. He was arrested in Iran after traveling there to attend an international conference.

Watch Live: Clinton Campaigns in Coconut Creek

Obama: You Young People Need To Sign Up For Obamacare

Last week, President Obama tore into GOP governors and legislatures who have opposed his new health care law. President Obama made these remarks during his visit to Miami Dade College, but also hit on an issue that is more of the root of the problem, as well as something that was entirely predictable. Concerning opposition to the law in the states, Obama explained:

What that means is the insurance pool is smaller and gets a higher percentage of older and sicker people who are signing up because if you’re sick or you’re old, you’re more likely to say ‘well I’m going sign up no matter what because I know I’m going to need it.’ If you’re young and healthy like you guys, you say, ‘eh, I’m fine. Life’s good. So you’ve got more older and sicker people signing up. Fewer younger and healthy people signing up, and that drives rates up.”

Yet, while the opposition has mostly been concentrated with Republicans, Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton admitted earlier this month that Obamacare is unaffordable. Guy wrote about the 2017 sticker shock that’s about to hit us next year, with Cortney noting that one of the most popular plans offered is projected to see their premiums rise by 25 percent. So, in June, the administration launched an effort to get more young people to sign up for health insurance.

Here’s the problem. We’ve known for a long time that young, healthy kids don’t think they need health insurance—and for good reason: they don’t nearly go to the doctor or hospital for ailments as frequently as the elderly. It also doesn’t incentivize those already under their parents’ health care plan to sign up since Obamacare expanded the age limit for dependent coverage. Young Americans can remain on their parents’ plan until they turn 26. Then again, these kids are already insured, so that’s a good thing, right? 

Maybe if there was a better job climate where these kids can move out of mom and dad’s house, get a job, and get off their families insurance, then the economic health of the country and possibly Obamacare’s future would be brighter (I would rather scrap the latter). Instead, no one has really felt this economic recovery, most young people are opting to remain in school, accruing insane amounts of debt to the point where they do get a job—they have a home mortgage chained around their ankles. Do you think these folks can afford Obamacare premiums?

In all, the law is such a failure that even those who need to buy health insurance to avoid paying a tax for being uninsured are opting to pay it because it’s more economical for them. The co-op network that was established in 23 states to encourage competition with insurers have all but collapsed; only six remain, though all of them could fold up shop by the end of the year.

Don’t blame young people that Obamacare is failing. It’s a big government program that failed to curb costs (shocker) and now that it has failed in accomplishing that goal, the Left is touting the number of those insured, which wasn’t really the point of the lance in the sales pitch to the public. This country never had an insured problem, 85 percent of Americans already has health insurance, mostly through their employers. Oh, and the numbers for those projected to be insured by this point was off by 24 million.

Maybe it’s the federal government, Barry. Maybe they just can’t get it done because they have a track record to prove that much.

Will Cruz Receive a Serious Primary Challenge in 2018?

Rep. Mike McCaul will not close the door on a possible challenge to Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. Given an opportunity to do so several times from Texas Tribune’s CEO at the state’s capital on Tuesday, the six-term congressman would not rule it out.

"I think any elected official, you don't close off your options," McCaul replied. "I have several options potentially in front of me, and I'm not going to say no to any of them, whether it be serving an administration in a national security post, whether it be, possibly when I am term-limited on Homeland, going to chair the Foreign Relations committee or going home. I have five kids."

There has been lots of speculation regarding a potential Cruz challenge and most eyes are turning to McCaul.

While being popular with grassroots conservatives, Cruz’s renegade behavior in the Senate has made him the ire of many Republican lawmakers. John Boehner famously referred to Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh." After his refusal to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, there were a lot of Trump supporters upset with the junior senator. Cruz critics now see an opening for a challenge – uniting Trump Republicans and establishment GOP voters who never liked Cruz to begin with.

During his presidential bid, Ted Cruz struggled earning endorsements from Republican members in his own chamber. Only in the eleventh hour during the primary did Republican senators begin to throw weight behind him amid the frightening prospect of a Trump nomination.

When Cruz refused to endorse Trump during the RNC convention, a livid Trump said he wouldn’t accept Cruz’s endorsement were he to change his mind.

Ironically, these Trump and anti-Trump forces may unite in 2018 to unseat Cruz.

'Clean This Up:' Wikileaks Shows Hillary Aides Scrambling Over Obama's Email Scandal Lie

When the New York Times revealed that Hillary Clinton conducted official government business over an unsecureimpropernational security-endangering email server last March, President Obama told Americans that he discovered this fact on the news, just like everyone else. When top Hillary aide (and recipient of a highly unusual immunity arrangement from the FBI) Cheryl Mills learned of Obama's answer, she sprang into action. Via hacked Wikileaks emails:

"We need to clean this up," she said. Sure enough, a few days later, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest conceded that why yes, of course Obama and Clinton had emailed each other, but the president wasn't aware of the extent of her set-up. This was an admission that Obama's knowledge of her use of private email was "deeper than he initially acknowledged," according to The Hill. Obama's defenders are now claiming that there's no lie here thanks to Earnest's disclosure, but in the original transcript, the president denied knowledge that Clinton was "using an email system outside of the US government for official business." That's what raised a red flag for Mills, who fired off this line to John Podesta: "He has emails from her -- they do not say" Mills knew this was a problem. Obama may not have realized she was running a bootleg server out of her basement, but he must have known she was using an outside email system because he was personally emailing her on itunder a pseudonym. Are we to believe that Obama simply didn't notice that he was typing in '' as opposed to '"?  The recipient field of the email didn't magically auto-populate from the get-go.  Another good point by Phil Kerpen:

Was the President of the United States unconcerned about exchanging official emails with his Secretary of State over an unofficial, under-secure system? Apparently so -- unless, of course, they were exclusively swapping yoga stories and kitten memes. That's not just unlikely on its face; recall that when Huma Abedin was shown an Obama/Hillary email during an FBI interview, she exclaimed, "how is this not classified?"  If they weren't discussing government business in these emails, then let's see them.  Any redactions would be very minimal, right?  Thousands of classified emails, including top-secret-and-above messages, passed through Clinton's email server, including more than 100 that she herself sent.  She has lied about virtually every element of this story for more than a year.