State Department Stonewalling Information About What's Being Done to Stop Christian Genocide

In March, Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared ISIS is carrying out a genocide against Christians and other religious minority groups in the Middle East and north Africa. 

Governments around the world are hesitant to make this type of decision because an official declaration comes with legal requirements to act and stop the genocide taking place. 

Six months later, the State Department is being sued by the American Center for Law and Justice for failing to provide information about what is being done to stop the genocide. 

"In July, the ACLJ sent the State Department a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests all aimed at uncovering government records that would show any action by the State Department to respond to or stop the genocide," the organization released in a statement this week. "The State Department has ignored those requests and today the ACLJ filed a federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C. to force the State Department to show what it has done to confront the ISIS genocide and protect the Christian victims and other religious minorities, or confirm that it hasn’t really done anything at all."

Disturbing reports from the Associated Press this week revealed the existence of a number of mass graves carrying up to 15,000 bodies in areas of Syria and Iraq. 

“This Administration continues to refuse to acknowledge the enemy and won’t engage and eliminate ISIS – which continues its unabated genocide of Christians,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow  said. “We participated in a concerted effort to pressure the Obama Administration to finally recognize this slaughter and publicly recognize this eradication as ‘genocide.’  But what is the Obama Administration doing to stop the genocide? The United States should be a leader in defending and protecting Christians. The world is watching as Christians are put to death simply because of their religious beliefs. That’s why it is so important to hold the Obama Administration accountable and to find out exactly what is being done to bring an end to this horrific practice.  And that is why we have gone to court to unearth the truth.”

Earlier this week the Obama administration hit its 2016 goal of bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States. Just 52 of the 10,126 admitted are Christians. Christianity in the Middle East is predicted to be extinct within the next five years.

New Map Shows Exactly How Many Syrian Refugees Obama Placed in Each State

Earlier this year, Barack Obama made a promise that he would resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees throughout the United States.  This will most certainly come to fruition by the end of the week.  

 A new analysis of the Syrian refugee program shows that while some states received as many as 870 refugees,  states like Alabama and Mississippi received none.  

“More than 7,500 refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria have been admitted to the United States since Oct. 1,” explains Roll Call, “more than four times the number in all of fiscal 2015. Syria is now the third most common country of origin for refugees.”

States like California, Arizona, Texas, and Michigan all received in excess of 500 refugees.  Along with Alabama and Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas, Delaware, and Vermont all received none.

As the map indicates, Obama made a late push this summer and nearly tripled his monthly average closing out his presidency with a bang.  

Nearly Two Thirds of Germans Support a Burqa Ban

A recent YouGov poll suggests that the vast majority of Germans would like some sort of ban on wearing a burqa or niqab in public. Sixty-two percent of respondents said that they thought a law banning the wearing of a full veil and face covering should be introduced, and only 27 percent of respondents were against this sort of law.

Unlike a hijab, which covers the hair and neck of a woman, a burqa or niqab covers the entire face and leaves only the eyes visible.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that while she's opposed to a burqa ban in her country, their presence probably isn't helping Muslims integrate into German society.

French courts recently suspended bans on the "burkini," a garment similar to a wetsuit with a skirt that some women like to wear to the beach. Burqas are already banned in public in France and similar bans are being considered in other European countries.

EXCLUSIVE: Gary Johnson Lays Out Immigration Vision, Objects to Term 'Illegal Immigrant,' Defends Executive Amnesty

Public support for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson currently sits at roughly eight percent in national polling, a little more than half of the level he needs to be included in the fall debates, according to the rules. The former two-term Republican Governor of New Mexico has come under fire from some conservatives for acting as a potential spoiler for Donald Trump -- in fact, Trump is benefitting from Johnson's presence in the race -- while others argue that the advocate for limited government has spent too much time and energy pandering to disgruntled left-wing voters. What is his sales pitch to disaffected elements of the center-right? I posed that question and many others to Johnson in an extended, exclusive sit-down interview earlier this week.  The first installments of our conversation are featured below

One issue that has consumed much of the 2016 cycle's political oxygen is immigration, on which the Republican nominee has issued a series of controversial statements and proposals -- and the Democratic nominee has vowed to go even further than President Obama in pursuing constitutionally-dubious executive actions if Congress fails to bend to her will. I asked Johnson about his immigration policies from the perspective of a border state governor (:30), and pressed him on his previously-stated support for Obama's unilateral executive amnesty (6:45). Along the way, we also sparred over the term "illegal immigrant," to which Johnson strenuously objected (4:20) as "incendiary" and offensive:

Johnson laid out a pro-immigration platform, making the case that a robust legal immigration regime, featuring permissive work permit standards, is a boon to the US economy.  And he again defended Obama's 'DAPA' executive order as "appropriate," although he hedged on its constitutionality.  In another segment of our chat, Johnson offered an "elevator pitch" to undecided right-leaning Americans, offered indictments against both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and explained his greatest government-constraining achievement over eight years as the Land of Enchantment's chief executive.  Plus, why does he, a libertarian, keep saying that he agrees with Bernie Sanders, a socialist, '73 percent' of the time? And how might this assignment of agreement percentages apply to other major political figures on the scene today? Watch:

Johnson described his ticket's outlook as "fiscally conservative and socially inclusive," adding that unlike the two major party nominees, he and his running mate support free trade.  He assailed Mrs. Clinton as an ethically compromised ("pay for play") and dishonest statist, and sharply criticized Trump's ideas on immigration and trade.  He touted his record of "cutting the rate of growth of government in half" as governor as a proud accomplishment, noting that he earned re-election in a blue state even after establishing a reputation as a "penny pincher."  Later this week, we'll reveal Gov. Johnson's thoughts on issues ranging from the Second Amendment, to Obamacare, to the Iran deal, to the Hobby Lobby decision.   Stay tuned.

Donald Trump To Meet With Mexican President

Donald Trump, along with Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Jeff Sessions, will be meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday in Mexico. The surprise announcement came on late Tuesday evening.

Trump will travel to Mexico City before giving his long-awaited speech on immigration in Arizona. Trump and Nieto are expected to have a private meeting. Nieto has repeatedly rejected Trump's claims that Mexico will pay for the border wall with the United States.

John McCain Wins Primary

Sen. John McCain (R) cruised to an easy victory on Tuesday in the Arizona Republican Senate primary, defeating challengers Kelli Ward, Alex Meluskey, and Clair Van Steenwyk. The race was declared when McCain jumped to a 20-point lead over Ward.

McCain will now be against Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the general election.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Escapes Primary Challenge

Former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz successfully fended off a primary challenge from Tim Canova, winning her primary by a 14-point margin. Wasserman Schultz represents Florida's 23rd district.

Canova was backed by Bernie Sanders and heavily supported by Sanders voters upset with Wasserman Schultz's handling of the Democratic primary.

Wasserman Schultz was first elected to Congress in 2004. She resigned from the DNC shortly before the party's nominating convention in Philadelphia. She was then hired by Hillary Clinton.

BREAKING: Marco Rubio Wins Primary

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) easily won his primary election against businessman Carlos Beruff. The election was called about an hour after the polls closed at 7:00 p.m.

Rubio had not originally planned on running for re-election, but changed his mind at the end of June and entered the fray.

NYT: The Clintons Need To Cut Ties With The Foundation

Well, when you lose The New York Times, maybe it’s a sign that the Clinton camp needs to work on something to quell the allegations that the power couple’s nonprofit is guilty of pay-to-play regarding donations, meetings with these donors, and good fortune being bestowed upon those contributors somewhere down the line after the checks have been made to be cashed. Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff at State, has been revealed to be the middle person who directed folks to the Clinton Foundation for meetings with the then-secretary (after being denied an audience through official channels) who were unable to be granted a face-to-face rendezvous. Oh, this was granted after a donation was made.

The Times didn’t go so far as to recommend that the Foundation be relegated to a pit of mothballs, like USA Today, with major charitable operations being transferred to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; they noted that the former first family should bolt from the Foundation. And they should probably do this as soon as humanly possible. Why not go the shut it down route? The Times mentioned that the reason the Foundation shouldn’t be closed is that tens of thousands of people could lose aid from its various programs. The publication also cited the good work of the Foundation, doing its best to cast off the aspersions that this nonprofit is pretty much a slush fund that’s racked with financial records that are so sloppy they rise to the level of fraud. The exact donor amounts and the dates in which these transactions occurred remain unknown.

Still, the paper said that settling this Clinton Foundation drama is critical and an “ethical imperative” for the former secretary of state:

Mr. Clinton has said he will resign from the board of the foundation and the CHAI board if Mrs. Clinton wins the presidency. Simply closing the foundation, as even some Democrats recommend, could kill programs helping tens of thousands of people. While that’s unwarranted, the foundation could do much more to distance itself from the foreign and corporate money that risks tainting Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. Its plans to restrict its funding sources only after the election will likely dog Mrs. Clinton.

A wiser course would be to ban contributions from foreign and corporate entities now. If Mrs. Clinton wins, Bill and Chelsea Clinton should both end their operational involvement in the foundation and its affiliates for the duration of her presidency, relinquishing any control over spending, hiring and board appointments.

Mrs. Clinton has said she intends to give Mr. Clinton a role in her administration. Cutting his foundation ties would demonstrate that he is giving any role he would have in the administration the priority it deserves. It would also send a signal that Mrs. Clinton and her family have heard the concerns of critics and supporters and will end any further possibility for the foundation to become a conduit to the White House for powerful influence seekers.

The Clinton Foundation has become a symbol of the Clintons’ laudable ambitions, but also of their tangled alliances and operational opacity. If Mrs. Clinton wins, it could prove a target for her political adversaries. Achieving true distance from the foundation is not only necessary to ensure its effectiveness, it is an ethical imperative for Mrs. Clinton.

Well, if this is The Times’ campaign advice, then they should just go the route of recommending the Foundation shut down. The only reason people give money to the nonprofit is because the Clintons are on the marquee. Without the possibility of reaping dividends allegedly rewarded to those bog donors by the power couple, who would give to the Foundation now that they’re not at the helm?

Clinton supporter Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said that if this Foundation is an “extraneous” issue that could cut into her standing with voter trust and ethics, then it should be shut down. It’s another tacit acknowledgement that the Clinton Foundation, like her emails, constitutes the Achilles’ heel of Hillary’s presidential ambitions.

Yet, these two are also linked. Over at The National Interest, they wrote back in July, that the besides prevarication and non-transparency becoming hallmark characteristics of the Clintons—it’s also necessary for them to engage in such behavior to keep their political machine well oiled, which so happens to include some top Clinton Foundation donors:

One reason may be that a level of secrecy and deceit is necessary to grease the wheels of the sophisticated enterprise Walter Russell Mead has called the Clinton Machine—the international, multimillion dollar operation that dispenses patronage, rewards loyalists, and sustains the ultimate power couple’s permanent campaign.


The stench of this kind of influence peddling—whether or not it is technically lawful—is degrading to Americans’ trust in their political institutions. The Clinton Machine’s variety of “honest graft” conducted through elite social networks doesn’t exactly conjure up voters’ highest ideals or bring out the best of American democracy. Clinton is the second most unpopular major party nominee in recent history for a reason.

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, a liberal, added that Clinton has to come to terms with her ethically questionable dealings and fast. It may not cost her the election, but it could sink her presidency. He didn’t elaborate on whether impeachment was in the cards, though it could sink by the mere fact that her baggage could zap any hope of her getting anything substantial done. It would be a presidency with zero political capital. I guess that could be viewed as a silver lining, though beating her would be better.

Here's The White House Comment on Colin Kaepernick's Protest

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that while he doesn't agree with San Francisco 49er's quarterback Colin Kaepernick's reasoning or decision to sit during the National Anthem, he believes that he has the right to do so.

Kaepernick remained seated during the Star-Spangled Banner prior to an NFL preseason game, and said he did so because the United States is an oppressive country.

Earnest said that while President Obama is aware of Kaepernick's protest, he has not yet spoken to him on the matter.

"I certainly don't share the views that Mr. Kaepernick expressed after the game, and explaining the reasoning for his actions. But we surely all acknowledge, and even defend, his right to express those views in the setting that he chooses."

Earnest also called the protest "objectionable."

In response to Kaepernick's protest, many fans have taken to burning their jerseys.

Surprise: FBI Recovers Another 30 Benghazi Emails Hillary Clinton Deleted

The FBI has recovered additional emails former Secretary of State and Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton deleted and by default, refused to turn over to the State Department. From AP

The State Department says about 30 emails involving the 2012 attack on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, are among the thousands of Hillary Clinton emails recovered during the FBI’s recently closed investigation into her use of a private server.

Government lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta Tuesday that an undetermined number of the emails among the 30 were not included in the 55,000 pages previously provided by Clinton to the State Department. The agency said it would need until the end of September to review the emails and redact potentially classified information before they are released.

The hearing was held in one of several lawsuits filed by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, which has sued over access to government records involving the Democratic presidential nominee.

Last week we learned the FBI discovered 15,000 more emails Clinton did not turn over during the course of the Bureau's criminal investigation of her private server. Clinton has claimed multiple times she turned over all "work related" emails to the State Department. She had not. Clinton also deleted 30,000 emails she deemed "personal." 

"I provided all of my emails that could possibly be work related," Clinton said on March 10, 2015.

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch has officially submitted court mandated questions to Clinton about her private email server, which she must answer under oath, in written form. The answers are due on September 29. 

Mental Health Expert David Plouffe: Trump Is A Psychopath

Oh, of course, I’m being facetious; Democratic operative David Plouffe isn’t a mental health expert. He even admitted that he doesn’t have a degree in psychology when he declared that Donald Trump was a psychopath on NBC’s Meet The Press. It was based on his views of the man, more specifically what he sees on television. Plouffe said that because he feels that Trump is a pathological liar, who lacks remorse, and has a “grandiose of self worth,” he’s a psychopath. Good on host Chuck Todd for pushing back on this outrageous claim. And I’m no Trump fan, but this was absolutely outrageous. The discussion about Trump’s mental health was spurred by Plouffe’s initial assessment that Clinton couldn’t do well in Colorado and Virginia, two states that the campaign has virtually ceased campaign operations since they feel they have it in the bag. It was a wholly unnecessary remark (via NBC News):

"I mean, basically, we have a psychopath running for president. I mean, he meets the clinical definition, okay," Plouffe told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Plouffe backed up his diagnosis by listing off psychopathic symptoms that he said Trump has displayed: "The grandiose notion of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of empathy and remorse."

Still, Plouffe conceded: "I don't have a degree in psychology."


The race ends today; I think Hillary Clinton is guaranteed at least 269 electoral votes," Plouffe said. "I think it's likely going to be a landslide," he added later.

I would also add that Virginia has tended to surprise people. In 2014, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Warner looked like he was going to cruise to re-election. As we entered the fall, he was up in some polls by 20 points. The Real Clear Politics average had him ahead of Republican challenger Ed Gillespie by almost 10. In the end, he barely won re-election, with a margin of victory of 0.8 percent.

Yet, getting back to the Left’s fascination with Trump’s mental health. We’ve seen consistently Clinton and her minions hitting Trump for failing one of the basic litmus tests of a president: would we trust this person with nuclear weapons? Clinton says Trump can’t be trusted, though her husband apparently couldn’t be trusted either, losing the biscuit, the card carrying the access codes, for months towards the tail end of Bill’s presidency. Given her serial failure abroad, one could argue that Clinton shouldn’t be running a Girls Scout Cookie sale, let alone our foreign policy, but back to the health question. Larry O’Connor over at Hot Air put on his Media Research Center hat and noted something a bit odd—though not entirely surprising.

It’s sexist to question Hillary Clinton’s health, but perfectly fine to suggest that Donald Trump is a psychopath. MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski made similar references, saying that someone from the mental health facility should look into Trump’s mental state. Yeah, that’s weak sauce. If you want to discuss Trump’s health, you have to talk about Hillary’s, which has been dotted with photos of her using stools to get into cars, secret service agents assisting her up stairs, and the video that some on the right say shows the former first lady having a seizure.

Donald Trump has called on Clinton to release more of her health records; she’s refused to comply. So, now it’s a story that deserves at least some attention, without the progressive drivel that merely discussing Clinton’s health is sexist. The media and Clinton have opened themselves up to this glaring bias concerning the health of the two candidates. If you’re going to talk about one possibly blowing up the world, you need to dig into the weeds, which are admittedly a bit nutty, about Clinton possibly having problems with seizures. It’s the same game with different actors.

In 2008, how many stories did we read about John McCain dying in office, his cholesterol levels, and, yes, his mental capacity to be president? There were plenty. Slate even had a post about the deterioration of McCain’s mind after eight years. RedState’s Jay Caruso found these gems:

Both candidates are probably fine health wise. This isn’t a West Wing situation where someone is hiding a degenerative, though non-fatal, illness. Hillary has attacked the alt-right, one of Trump’s most die-hard supporters, in the hopes of tying this band of white nationalists to Trump and the Republican Party. In doing so, they’ve elevated the stature of this loony fringe. With the media, the attacks on Trump’s mental health, but aversion to an equal discussion about Hillary has allowed the other side to make their case about Clinton’s health, whose assessments are just as irresponsible as Plouffe going on national television and declaring Trump a psychopath based on what he sees on television. I’m not a Trump fan, but this explicit bias towards the health question is absurd. And if that means we’ve allowed the crazies to disseminate conspiracy theories, well, maybe that’s the blowback we get. It’s just another low point this cycle.

Marine Vet Who Lost His Legs in Afghanistan: I'll Stand With Pride For Both of Us, Kaepernick

Retired Marine Sgt. Johnny Joey Jones lost both of his legs when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan. When he saw 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the National Anthem before a recent preseason game, he responded with this: 

Last night, Jones joined Fox News to further react to the ongoing fallout over Kaepernick's behavior, which has been condemned by fans and fellow NFL players as disrespectful not only to the country, but to those who have sacrificed so much to keep it free. 

"I actually took issue with his comment afterward. Refusing to stand, that's one thing and it offends me, it really does, but that's free speech. But his comments equated patriotism and pride in this country or that anthem, to supporting oppression," Jones said. "By no means is our country perfect and by all means lets address actual issues and solving them, but when you sit there and equate my pride and my country to a bigot in some other place or the ones that are in this country to the 300 million that aren't that way, I take issue with that."

"That flag and that anthem stands for the people who fought in the Civil War and united this country. It stands for people who fought for civil rights that made this country a little bit better and it stands for the people that are working hard every single day to fix these issues," he continued. "As a service member it's offensive for people to not stand for the National Anthem but as an American it's offensive for you to equate my pride to bigots or oppression."

Pressure is growing on the NFL to issue a behavior policy outlining how players should act during the National Anthem.

New Plan: Create Iraqi 'Rangers' Force to Beat ISIS

ISIS beware, the United States is secretly conveying a new fighting force to once and for all put an end to radical Islam. 

Well maybe not secretly, but according to 2nd Lt. Gregg Bernthal, the new 'Iraqi Rangers' will be well worth U.S. tax dollars and are "trained go-getters who will be extremely important in the fight."  

Many soldiers, like Bernthal, from the 101st Airborne Division are spending less time fighting and more time training Islamic soldiers, a new tactic that is supposed to defeat ISIS. 

"This program is important because it lays the foundation for an elite Iraqi unit," said Capt. Peter Jacob, commander of Company A. "Students start at day one as an individual and come away at the end of this course as part of a team."

"Because Da'esh has been dug in for so long now, the Iraqis are going to have to think on their toes. There's going to be a lot of different situations that they find themselves in. Good training is always something that the Iraqi soldiers in this course will be able to fall back on," Bernthal said.

But don't worry America, "You can already see the discipline of the soldiers," Bernthal says. "The selection process weeds out those who do not have the intestinal fortitude to stay and fight. The separation from normal, basic soldiers is the rigorous selection process they go through to become Iraqi Rangers."

Hopefully this new tactic can finally defeat the overwhelming force that is ISIS.  

Until then, keep spending the trillions America.

So, It Was Chris Christie Who Advised Trump To Soften His Position On Immigration?

Donald Trump’s apparent softening on his immigration position has many observers noting that his current talking points mirror many of his former Republican opponents, who he slammed as being soft on immigration. So, what caused this changed of heart? Was there an adviser who started this conversation of moving away from a humane deportation force? His new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, once drafted a memo in support of offering a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Well, according to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, it was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Claude Brodesser-Akner of New Jersey’s Star-Ledger had more on the publication’s sit down with the former mayor last week:

Donald Trump's apparent pivot away from his calls for mass deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants is partially the result of prodding by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

And, Giuliani says, even more Christie-inspired changes to Trump's immigration stance will be forthcoming, like his call for tracking immigrant visas like Fedex packages, and using the E-Verify system to reduce illegal labor.

In an interview with NJ Advance Media on Thursday, Giuliani, a top adviser to the Republican presidential nominee, said Trump's recent reversal on immigration policy came after his inner circle for several weeks suggested a more nuanced, practical, and humane approach in dealing with the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Asked if Christie was responsible for Trump's softening approach to immigration, the former mayor responded: "The answer to that question is yes."

Christie, Giuliani said, "is not the only one" counseling a more moderate stance on those who immigrated illegally, "but he is of great value to him."

On ABC News’ This Week on Sunday, guest host Martha Raddatz asked Christie about the Giuliani’s comments regarding him being the main man concerning shifting Trump away from his hardline stance on immigration. Christie refused to answer; saying the advice he gives to Donald is for him alone. So, should we take that as confirmation?

Listen Martha, I ran for president as your know, I ran for governor twice and I’ve been the governor for seven years. I find that the people who are my best advisers are the people who are smart enough to give me really good advice, and smart enough to keep their mouth shut about what advice they give me. And so, if I want advisers that way, that’s the kind of adviser, I’m going to be to Donald Trump. I’ve said consistently, the advice I give to Donald is to Donald. And that’s based upon our friendship of the last 14 years…Rudy can talk about whatever he wants to talk about. He’s my friend. I like him a lot, and respect him, but I don’t talk about the advice I give to Donald Trump.

Again, all will be revealed, or will continue to be muddled, during his speech on immigration tomorrow.

Reversal: Maine Governor Tweets He's Not Resigning

On Tuesday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage told a radio station that he is considering resigning. Just a few hours later, he took to Twitter to dispel the rumors that he himself basically created by saying that he's staying put.

LePage has had quite the week, and has faced numerous calls to resign or seek some sort of help after leaving a vulgar voicemail for a Democratic state representative.

Fail: Obamacare Enrollments 'Less Than Half' of Initial Forecast

In January, we reported that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had downgraded its forecast for Obamacare enrollments by eight million people, with many consumers deciding that the 'Affordable' Care Act was just too costly.  The official protections were slashed by another million in March.  Among the millions of Americans who have signed up for the law since 2013, a large percentage of them were covered before the law evicted them from their existing plans, in contravention of a central presidential promise.  By one important measure, Obamacare's overall enrollment performance has undershot initial actuarial forecasts by 24 million people.  And as taxpayers shell out $2 trillion to pay for a failing, unpopular law, CBO has also determined that the number of uninsured Americans is expected to rise  from 26 million to 28 million between 2017 and 2026.

Pro-Obamacare forces have more or less abandoned their own sales pitch on the law -- including on cost curves, allowing people to maintain satisfactory arrangements, "choice and competition," enhanced access, and especially affordability.  Instead, they've planted their flag on "more people are insured thanks to this law," which is a woefully insufficient metric for success.  Of course more individuals will obtain coverage when they're legally required to do so, and when taxpayers are spending waterfalls of money to subsidize those purchases.  The bigger story is how few people have done so, and how that dearth of participation is threatening the very foundation of the law.  The Washington Post noted recently that sign-ups remain "far short" of initial expectations:

Enrollment in the insurance exchanges for President Obama’s signature health-care law is at less than half the initial forecast, pushing several major insurance companies to stop offering health plans in certain markets because of significant financial losses. As a result, the administration’s promise of a menu of health-plan choices has been replaced by a grim, though preliminary, forecast: Next year, more than 1 in 4 counties are at risk of having a single insurer on its exchange, said Cynthia Cox, who studies health reform for the Kaiser Family Foundation. Debate over how perilous the predicament is for the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is nearly as partisan as the divide over the law itself. But at the root of the problem is this: The success of the law depends fundamentally on the exchanges being profitable for insurers — and that requires more people to sign up. In February 2013, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that 24 million people would buy health coverage through the federally and state-operated online exchanges by this year. Just 11.1 million people were signed up as of late March.

...The law requires every American to get health coverage or pay a penalty, but the penalty hasn’t been high enough to persuade many Americans to buy into the health plans. Even those who qualify for subsidized premiums sometimes balk at the high deductibles on some plans. People who do outreach to the uninsured say the enrollment process itself has been more complex and confusing than Obama’s initial comparison to buying a plane ticket. “This exchange will allow you to one-stop shop for a health-care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose a plan that’s best for you and your family,” Obama said in a speech in 2009. “You will have your choice of a number of plans that offer a few different packages, but every plan would offer an affordable, basic package.” In some markets, a shortfall in enrollment is testing insurers’ ability to balance the medical claims they pay out with income from premiums. In an announcement curtailing its involvement in the exchanges this month, Aetna cited financial losses traced to too many sick people signing up for care and not enough healthy ones.

When you sell an 'everybody wins' paradise wherein everything is simple and cheap and wonderful, disillusionment can set in very quickly if your words don't mark reality.  That's what's happening: Obama's signature domestic "accomplishment" is failing badly because its critics were correct about nearly everything, and because (a) his vaunted rhetorical skills failed to convince most Americans that his plan was a good idea from the beginning, and (b)  his assurances have been systematically exposed as fantastical snake oil as reality sets in.  The Post story cites a Kaiser Foundation estimate that approximately one in four US counties "are at risk of having a single insurer on its exchange" next year.  Avelere, a top health care consulting firm, expects that number to eclipse one-third of regions:

Here is a summary package from Fox News' Special Report on Obamacare's latest struggles:

The White House and Obamacare Godmother Hillary Clinton continue to assert that the law is working, even as they're discussing and proposing costly and destructive "fixes" to the law, perhaps spurred on by the urgency of an explosion of reports from media outlets that are beginning to realize that Obamacare is in serious trouble. Congressional Republicans have voted to repeal the law, a move thwarted by the president.  They've also released a detailed replacement proposal that one analysis says would substantially lower costs for individuals and families, as well as the federal government, without massively disrupting the percentage of Americans covered.

Wait–The Trump Wall Will Be...A Virtual One?

The surrogates are saying one thing, while the Trump campaign voices an opposite position. That’s what’s going on with the latest flap over if there’s actually going to be a physical wall to assist in border enforcement. On Monday, MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson was saying that some in the surrogate corner were saying that the wall would be a virtual one, while Jim Acosta of CNN reported from the campaign proper that the Republican nominee vows to build "an impenetrable physical barrier."

Katie wrote that Wednesday would be a huge day for Trump, as he plans to deliver a huge speech on immigration. This could be where we see a confirmation that the Republican nominee is seriously softening his stance in immigration. He’s already laid out a new position that pretty much mirrors what Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio said on the campaign trail (via Sean Sullivan, Ed O’Keefe at WaPo):

For more than a year, Donald Trump took the hardest line on immigration — vowing to deport 11 million illegal immigrants en masse and pillorying his GOP primary rivals as favoring “amnesty.”

But 11 weeks before the election, Trump is suddenly sounding a lot like the opponents he repeatedly ridiculed.

The nominee and his campaign aides are now talking openly about requiring illegal immigrants to pay back taxes and potentially allowing those without criminal records to stay in the country — lines that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida repeatedly used in the GOP presidential primary. Trump also says that any softening of his position won’t include a path to citizenship — consistent with the way former Florida governor Jeb Bush described how he would provide legal status for undocumented immigrants.

So, maybe this is just a miscommunication with the Trump campaign and its surrogates. But let’s play with this virtual, technological wall for a minute. Would that be palatable for die-hard Trump supporters who thought Trump was going to actually build a wall and create a humane deportation force to deport 11-12 million people?

More border patrol agents (and maybe the National Guard) assisted by aerial drones to pinpoint illegal points of entry by illegal immigrants; it's what Rick Perry wants to do. We have been flying drones along the border for years, but without adequate border agents—who have been hamstrung by this administration—it’s an unworkable strategy. Does a physical wall really matter if our immigration enforcement apparatus can actually do their jobs in the first place?

Then again, Trump could say that a wall is going to be built, with a beautiful wall to allow people to come here legally. At the same time, it seems as if the humane deportation force is out, or at least it really seems that way based on what Trump said during his town hall event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week.

“So now we have the person been an upstanding person, the family is great, everyone is great, do we throw them out or do we work with them…,” he said.

(H/T Right Scoop)

John Kerry: You Media People Should Stop Reporting on Terrorism So People Don't Know What's Going On

Speaking from Bangladesh Tuesday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested members of the media stop covering (Islamic) terrorism so people won't "know what's going on." Kerry attempted to preempt his statement by implying media coverage creates copy cats and promotes more terrorism. 

"If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise...perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on," Kerry said.

While the copy cat, attention seeker argument may be true in a handful of cases, the media ignoring terrorism as the Obama administration has arguably chosen to do for nearly a decade, isn't going to make terrorism go away. 

For example, the administration downplayed the ISIS threat by claiming they were "jayvee" and demanded intelligence reports be altered to paint a better picture of the increasingly dangerous situation around the world and in the United States. And who could forget the Justice Department changing Allah to "God" and censoring pledges to ISIS with "[omitted]" in the transcripts of the Orlando terrorist's 911 call? 

This new push by Kerry shouldn't be surprising, after all it was just a few weeks ago when Kerry essentially argued the use of air conditioners and other appliances are bigger threats to the world than ISIS. 

Here's the reality: Kerry doesn't want the press giving attention to the issue of terrorism because it further exposes the failure of the Obama administration's foreign policy over the past eight years. Terrorism doesn't go away if you simply ignore it but instead, expands.

Maine Gov. LePage Tells Radio Station He May Resign

After a tumultuous week that's led to calls for censure from both sides of the aisle, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) told a radio station that he is considering resigning from his position before the conclusion of his second term. LePage, who is term-limited and cannot run again, was re-elected in 2014 for a four-year term.

LePage also apologized again to Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook) after leaving him a profanity-laced voicemail.

The governor said he was "looking at all options" and that includes stepping down.

From the Portland Press Herald:

“I’m looking at all options,” the Republican governor said while appearing on WVOM, a Bangor talk radio station. “I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it. I’m not saying that I am going to finish it.”

He later said, “If I’ve lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it’s time to move on.”

Stay tuned.

Clinton Team Getting Psychological in Debate Prep

When it comes to preparing for the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton and her top aides are perhaps conducting the most comprehensive groundwork in candidate history. Clinton, herself, has questioned several times how does someone plan for a debate against Donald Trump. Who on Earth could emulate the bombastic Republican nominee?

The answer seems to lie in examining Trump’s personality – which is exactly what Team Clinton is doing. And believe me, they are examining it closely.

Clinton’s people are working with Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for Trump’s “Art of the Deal” book. Schwartz had come out previously against Trump’s candidacy and Democrats have used him as a source to understand Trump’s thinking. Team Clinton is using his insight to find Trump’s deepest insecurities. They hope to utilize points of frustration to hit Trump with during the debate.

And the former ghostwriter is not the only resource at their disposal.

Team Clinton is using a host of psychology experts to create a personality profile of the Donald. They believe they have a lot of vulnerabilities to work with, concluding his biggest insecurities are his net worth, intelligence, and image as a successful businessman. Clinton’s strategy is not to win with policy awareness, but to throw Trump off and embarrass him on stage.

Despite the monumental debate prep, Clinton has apparently still been unable to find a Trump stand-in.

As for Trump, his approach has been unsurprisingly different. He is a notably confident speaker, and believes whole-heartedly that too much preparedness can be a bad thing. His study sessions have been much more laid-back. However, Trump hopes to contrast his brash-but-honest demeanor against Clinton’s articulate-but-phony appearance.

America has yet to see which style will win over voters. One thing may be certain - people are expecting the first Trump-Clinton showdown to be the most watched in debate history.

Just 52 of 10,126 Syrian Refugees Are Christians

Earlier this week the White House reached its 2016 goal of admitting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States. In total, 10,126 refugees have been let into the country. Just 52 refugees are Christians. 

In March, the State Department officially declared ISIS is carrying out a genocide against Christians and other religious minority groups in the Middle East.

The White House argues there isn't a religious test for those entering the country as refugees and Syria is no exception. The White House also maintains refugees are carefully vetted, but intelligence officials have warned refugees coming from the region cannot be properly screened and that ISIS will use the refugee stream to bring fighters into the United States, similar to what the terror Army has done in Europe. 


Video: New Trump Ad Touts Paul Ryan's Agenda, Hillary Up 7 in New Poll

Donald Trump's campaign has released its second television commercial of the general election, expanding its ad buy to nine states -- including a few where his polling deficits have ballooned into the double digits. While Trump's first spot seemed geared toward his base, this one features an economic message that appeals to a much wider swath of the electorate. Watch:

This is a classic "contrast" ad, arguing that Hillary's economic plan will lead to "more of the same, but worse," while Trump will usher in a new era of prosperity and growth. Of particular note are a few of the citations in fine print at the bottom of the screen. When the ad pivots from dreary Hillary to upbeat Trump promises, the narrator says, "in Donald Trump's America, working families get tax relief. Millions of new jobs created, wages go up, small businesses thrive."  To back up the first two assertions, the ad directs viewers to...Paul Ryan's "a better way" framework, and to the Tax Foundation's scoring of House Republicans' tax reform package.  One of the strongest, but debatable, conservative arguments for Trump is that because he's not especially interested in policy details or the specifics of governance -- remember this? -- he's likely to outsource a large portion of "his" legislative agenda to GOP leaders on the hill.  The fact that he's already touting Paul Ryan's fiscal plans as what would happen "in Donald Trump's America" is an indication that this assumption may be largely valid. Meanwhile, following up on yesterday's battleground polling post, here's the latest national survey:

Allahpundit rightly points out that Monmouth has a sterling A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight, which is why their Hillary (+13) bombshell a few weeks back touched off such intense Republican panic.  Several bad news cycles later, she's back down to a solid but diminished seven-point lead.  By a two-to-one margin in the survey, voters correctly believe that Clinton Foundation donors received preferential treatment by her State Department; Trump should keep on hammering her on that front (setting aside the fact that, sighhe himself is a Clinton Foundation donor.  Hillary's favorability rating also sits at an abysmal 34 percent, with a 51 percent negative number -- a catastrophe for someone who's been in the public eye for decades.  Everyone knows who she is, but only about one-third like what they see.  Trump's problem, per usual, is that his numbers are significantly worse, at (36/57).  Still, taking those numbers side-by-side, one might expect to find a lot of dissatisfied voters floating around.  Yup:

Bottom line: The best news for Trump is that Hillary's wide lead in the series has been eroded by five points over a short time period. The worst news is that he's been stuck in the 30's in 11 of the last 12 nationwide surveys in which all four "major" candidates are included. Parting thought: There's a sizable crowd of Trump supporters who insist that his clear favorability disadvantage doesn't matter because she's also unpopular. AP's post offers this historical tidbit:

That table dates back more than three decades, over which the candidate with the worse favorable rating has lost every single presidential election.

UPDATE - A new addition this morning:

Is CNN Altering Trump's Tweets?

There is no doubt that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has capitalized on free media by way of Twitter, accumulating more the 11 million followers over the past year.  He often uses the outlet to inform his supporters of positions on key issues and to hit his political opponents.  

On Sunday, CNN decided to remove a specific word from one of Trump's posts regarding Hillary Clinton. The word "Crooked" in "Crooked Hillary Clinton" was completely omitted from a tweet displayed on screen and read on air by anchor Jim Sciutto.

Trump had originally written: “I think that both candidates, Crooked Hillary and myself, should release detailed medical records. I have no problem in doing so! Hillary?”

Instead CNN reported it as: “I think that both candidates, Hillary and myself, should release detailed medical records. I have no problem in doing so! Hillary?”

So to answer the question, yes, CNN is altering Trump's words. Weird.

Hearing On McAuliffe's Concealed Carry Ban In State Government Buildings To Be Held Wednesday

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe should be given credit for signing a pretty solid concealed carry reciprocity agreement in February. It reversed the executive actions of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring that would’ve curtailed gun rights in the state. Yet, the open carry ban in government buildings remains. Now, there’s a discussion whether to ban concealed carry in state buildings. A hearing will be held Wednesday morning on the matter (via CBS 6):

The ban applied immediately to open carried guns but banning concealed weapons requires more regulation. Wednesday, there will be a public hearing where residents can weigh in.

"Concealed carry permit holders are like the general population, most are good guys, more are law abiding. But not every single one is, and how are you going to know the difference?" said [Virginia State Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Lori] Haas.


"They can’t guarantee us our protection. Nobody can. Only we can,” said Gary Lewis, the owner of Gary’s Guns and Transfers in Richmond.


But some gun dealers say banning all guns from specific buildings would make it less safe.

"To announce to the world -- good guys and bad guys -- that none of the good guys are armed, it makes it clear that they have no resistance when they want to do some harm,” said Goldberg.

Others opposed to the ban say concealed permit holders have to pass a background check, and therefore are authorized to have that gun.

"As long as he checks and says, 'Yes I have my concealed gun, I have a valid permit,' that should give him right to go in there,” said Lewis.

The actions of Herring would’ve gutted Virginia reciprocity agreements with tow-dozen states. This announcement was made right around Christmas time. Amid the uproar, in January, McAuliffe reversed course, adding that he would restore those rights, which he did in February. In doing so, Virginia’s carry permit became one of the most permissible in the country, rivaling that of Utah.

Concealed carry holders are more law-abiding than the police, and the percentage of those who have committed crimes is incredibly small; too small to make it worthy of an anti-gun talking point. At the same time, while I support those fighting against this possible piece of legislation, the real battle of reciprocity is over and we won. So, by all means, I’m for concealed carry holders being allowed to exercise their rights in state government buildings, yet it’s not something that we should do a full-blown mobilization. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, we need all the resources we have against her anti-gun push. If we were debating Virginia adopting constitutional carry, then that’s a different story.