Flashback: That Time DWS Said There Was No Evidence To Suggest DNC Was Tipping The Scales For Clinton

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, where soon-to-be-ex chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that she wasn’t tipping the scales for Clinton. National Review through Grabien posted this video compiling the moments, where the embattled DNC chair said that there’s no shred of evidence showing that she’s favoring Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In the video, she says in a CNN interview, “Let me state again we are not putting our thumb on the scale for any candidate. In fact, I’m very proud of the result in our six debate schedule because quite frankly it’s resulted in record viewership.”

Yeah, all three points are lies. First, the debate schedule was one of the criticisms from the Sanders and then-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s campaigns that the process wasn’t going to be as open as some might have hoped at the outset of the Democratic primaries. Even left-leaning Politifact gave a false claim stamp to Schultz’s claim that this six-debate schedule was meant to maximize exposure. As for record viewership, more people watched the Republicans. Last point, we now have troves of evidence showing that the DNC was working against Sanders behind the scenes, making suggestions that many might say could be grounds for resignation or dismissal.

So far, only Mrs. Schultz has opted to show herself out through the exit of the DNC (via WaPo):

Many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary -- after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory -- but they belie the national party committee's stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.

[…]

On May 5, DNC officials appeared to conspire to raise Sanders's faith as an issue and press on whether he was an atheist -- apparently in hopes of steering religious voters in Kentucky and West Virginia to Clinton. Sanders is Jewish but has previously indicated that he's not religious.

One email from DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall read: “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."

Marshall added in a later email: “It’s these Jesus thing.”

In response, CEO Amy Dacey said: "Amen."

The email story has been a fiasco, even prompting the Florida Democratic delegation to boo Wasserman Schultz when she spoke with them Monday morning. It was a total disaster. It has Bernie supporters seething with rage—and it confirms what many have already thought about the DNC, especially if you were a Bernie-ite from the beginning. So, if you want evidence of the behind the scenes scale tipping done by Democrats against one of their own during the primaries, I suggest you head on down to Wikileaks. There are 20,000 emails to go over.

Eric Holcomb Chosen as GOP Nominee for Indiana Gubernatorial Race

A special Indiana Republican panel has picked Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb as the new GOP nominee for the open governor��s seat, replacing Governor Mike Pence after he moved to join Trump’s national ticket. The decision was made early Tuesday afternoon.

Holcomb was able to edge out Rep. Todd Rokita and Rep. Susan Brooks. Both of the lawmakers made the case that Lt. Gov Holcomb, having been recently appointed to his current position, had never won an election and would be a weak candidate to face Democratic challenger John Gregg. Recent polling has suggested Holcomb would perform worse than the others and he has had issues in the past with fundraising.

However, it seems a last minute endorsement from Governor Pence himself helped propel Holcomb to victory with the select committee members.

Sigh: Liberal Gay Rights Group Slams Trump for 'Pandering' to LGBT Voters

PHILADELPHIA - Please indulge a quick residual note from last week, as this has continued to really annoy me: On Thursday night in Cleveland, billionaire innovator Peter Thiel announced from the RNC rostrum that he is proud to be gay, Republican, and American.  He was applauded warmly.  Minutes later, Donald Trump made history by invoking "the LGBTQ community" in his acceptance speech, specifically within the context of the Orlando attack.  After vowing to protect gay Americans from the terrorism of a "hateful foreign ideology," Trump added a spontaneous observation, going out of his way to acknowledge how his conservative audience had responded to that line.  Watch:

"And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. [Applause]."

Between Thiel and Trump, Thursday marked the post pro-gay primetime program...ever at a Republican National Convention, hands down.  I also think it's safe to say that Trump is the most overtly LGBT-friendly nominee in GOP history -- or at least the most notably ambivalent one on these issues. He's even adopted a "relax" posture on the so-called bathroom wars, which Thiel also blasted as a distraction from more pressing concerns. One might think that gay rights activists would consider all of this to be meaningful progress. Yet how was Trump rewarded? The influential Human Rights Campaign, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton, accused him of self-interested "pandering:"

The nation's largest gay rights group is accusing Donald Trump of "pandering" to gay voters in his convention speech by denouncing violence and oppression against the LGBT community. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin says it's "bizarre" that Trump is being praised. He says Trump referenced gays and lesbians "for his own selfish, political advancement." Griffin's group has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. In his speech, Trump noted the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida and pledged to do everything possible to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Before Trump spoke, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel became the first person to say he's gay in a GOP convention speech. The Human Rights Campaign says it's disappointed Thiel didn't push Republicans toward LGBT equality. The group is criticizing Thiel for being "dismissive" of concerns about bathroom choice for transgender people.

What a myopic, hacktastic response from the partisans at HRC.  They criticized Thiel for standing in front of tens of thousands of Republicans and announcing that he's proud to be gay.  Not good enough, they huffed, seemingly ignoring the fact that he made a point of distancing himself from the party's platform, and missing his message on the restroom battles.  He was jabbing at both sides for elevating such a minuscule issue as the latest hot-button front in the culture wars; a clear subtext being to chide some Republican state legislators for pushing for a government solution to what effectively amounts to an imaginary problem.  And HRC leaders actually attacked Trump for going out of his way to correctly note that 49 "wonderful" Americans from "our" LGBT community were deliberately targeted because of their identity in the Orlando terrorist attack, and promising to protect them from future Islamist slaughter.  The prolonged applause Trump elicited underscored the important reality that although many conservative-leaning Americans are not supportive of same-sex marriage and other related legislation, Americans of varying ideological stripes can come together to value and defend the humanity of all of our citizens.  (This point was also lost on Anderson Cooper several weeks ago).  Selfish, HRC's president sniffed, backhanding Trump's gesture, and casting it in the least generous light possible.

Of course policy differences matter, but symbolism, tone and tolerance do too. But advancements on those fronts were met with scorn and cynicism. It's almost as if these are partisan operatives who are more interested in scoring political points and playing to a specific constituency and donor base than celebrating tangible progress across the political spectrum. Very disappointing. Last night here in Philadelphia, several speakers tried to paint Trump -- of whom I'm no fan -- as a run-of-the-mill homophobe, which is ridiculous.  They also pretended that Mike Pence is a bigot because he signed a bill that was nearly identical to the one Bill Clinton signed at the federal level in the mid-1990's. They curiously omitted the part of the Indiana saga where Pence reversed himself under pressure, insisting on "fixes" to the legislation.  No context, then no credit.  Marks of bad-faith actors.  I'll leave you with a reminder of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's obviously politically-calibrated "evolution" on gay rights policy questions, as well as my instant reaction to Thiel's remarks with Megyn Kelly (via Right Sightings):

Terrorist Who Murdered Priest In Normandy Was Under House Arrest For Previous Terrorism Charges

The terrorist who slit the throat of 84-year-old priest Fr. Jacques Hamel today in Normandy, France had previously been arrested on terrorism charges and was was sentenced to house arrest with an electronic monitor. He spent a year in prison after being arrested in Turkey attempting to reach Syria and join the Islamic State. He was granted unsupervised release periods from his parent's house between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The attack occurred during the church's 9 a.m. Mass.

The church attacked on Tuesday morning was reportedly on an ISIS list of potential targets discovered in April 2015. The suspect in today's attack lived near the church.

Security sources said one of the murderers was a convicted terrorist who was being monitored with an electronic tag and should have been living with his parents.

He was allowed out unsupervised between 8.30am and 12.30pm. The mass[sic] at Saint Etiennce's church started at 9am.

The same source said the church was one of a number of Catholic places of worship on a hitlist, discovered on an ISIS suspect in April 2015 - raising serious questions about France's intelligence agencies.

It's not exactly rocket science that giving a convicted terrorist periods of unsupervised release may not exactly be the best idea. A person can commit acts of terror around the clock, and clearly the terrorist in question didn't care about violating house arrest rules as he was willing to take a church hostage and slit the throat of an elderly priest.

Let's hope that this unspeakable act of depraved violence causes French authorities to wake up to how insane their criminal justice laws are. Convicted terrorists should not be walking around unsupervised.

Fraternal Order of Police Slams Hillary Clinton: Why Are You Shutting Out Widows of Police Officers From The DNC?

During tonight's DNC convention, which kicked off in chaos yesterday, the mother of Michael Brown will speak on stage. Michael Brown was shot and killed in 2014 by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson after Brown attempted to take his gun, with the intention to use it against him during a struggle in Wilson's police cruiser. Despite these facts, which were proven by a Grand Jury and by the Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder, the mainstream media continues to refer to Brown as an "unarmed black man" who was "shot by a white police officer." 

The mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner will also give remarks. 

This speaker lineup has prompted the Fraternal Order of Police Philadelphia chapter to issue a statement to the DNC, saying Hillary Clinton should be ashamed and asking why widows and children of officers killed in the line of duty aren't on the agenda.


"The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted and will not soon forget that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows, and other family members of Police Officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit, and not implied racism, and 'being on duty in blue,'" Philadelphia Lodge 5 FOP President John McNesby said in the statement. "It is sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country."

"Mrs. Clinton, you should be ashamed of yourself if that is possible," he continued.

The DNC and the Clinton campaign have not issued a response.

 

Weak Sauce: Pro-Clinton Granholm Defends Clinton's Flip-Flop On Trade, Says She'll Do Whatever Her Boss Says

The first day of the Democratic National Convention is over—and the Trans-Pacific Partnership was probably the major punching bag of the night. There is vicious opposition within the Democratic Party over this free trade agreement. An agreement that Hillary Clinton once called the gold standard for free trade deals. She has since walked back her praise. Yet, Donald Trump criticized free trade as well, and is actively trying to court Sanders supporters based on the issue of trade.

Sanders forced Clinton to the left on this issue, so what else could explain Clinton’s shift on TPP, besides sensing the political winds were not too favorable. Well, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm had a rather weak explanation after the Republican National Convention wrapped last week: she does what her boss tells her.

Granholm did add that trade is an important issue in her home state of Michigan, and that it’s important that the country adopt fairer trade deals, much like what Trump is saying on the stump. Granholm tried to highlight Clinton’s agenda on trade, which CNN’s Chris Cuomo interjected by saying, “he’s [Trump] never has his hands on trade policy and she [Clinton] has.”

“Well, alright, so—she worked…she supported her boss in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but when it came down to her evaluation of it—when she was gone—she said I’m not supporting that. But she’s going to go against the person who appointed her to the position, she’s going to do what her boss tells her,” replied Granholm.

“That’s leadership?” asked Cuomo.

Granholm said that you don’t go against the person who appointed you; otherwise you wouldn’t be in the cabinet very long. Well, yes and no. Yes, in general, that might be true, but this is Hillary Clinton. She’s a former First Lady, U.S. senator, and wife to one of the icons of the Democratic Party. She could probably have voiced an opinion or two about pretty much anything that came across her desk. Moreover, firing Clinton would cause more of a headache with endless stories about Clinton and Obama duking it out again post-2008 election. It’s a media whirlpool that’s simply not worth it. As for TPP, if she felt this deal was bad for the United States, then Clinton should’ve voiced her concerns as our secretary of state to President Obama. She didn’t because she may have truly felt that TPP was good for the country. She felt the North American Free Trade Agreement was good for the country when Bill signed it into law. The Colombia Free Trade Agreement looked even better once some petro checks from financer Frank Giustra were made out to the Clinton Foundation. At the time, both Clinton and Obama were against the agreement due to concerns over infringement of labor union rights, among other things. Giustra is now on the non-profits’ board of directors.

Yet, we all know Clinton changed her position because it was friendlier to the Democratic base. The thing is that Granholm just can’t say that her candidate flip-flopped out of political convenience. Then again, with the DNC leaked emails, they have bigger fish to fry.

Wait–There Were No American Flags At The Democratic Convention?; UPDATE: False Alarm

The Daily Caller made a good observation: where are the American flags? 

UPDATE: I stand corrected, folks (and thank God). Snopes found plenty of Democrats wearing red, white, and blue at the convention, though the photo below doesn't convey as much. Nevertheless, such patriotic swag was present and the post has been updated to reflect the changes. Now, that's not to say that Democrats didn't foul-up last night by not mentioning ISIS. Cortney noted that the rise of the Islamic State, or any mention of the threats we face from radical Islam, was omitted. Not good, Democrats...not good. 

[Photo Credit: Daily Caller/Kerry Picket]

Now, in terms of flags in general—there was a Palestinian flag displayed last night. I’m (still) wondering when these Democrats are going to start booing God, like they did in 2012. Will it be tonight? 

USA Freedom Kids Now Suing Trump Campaign

The USA Freedom Kids, the musical group of preteens who went viral following their performance of Freedom's Call at a Donald Trump rally in January, are now suing the campaign alleging they were promised things that never materialized.

Jeff Popick, the father of one of the group members, says that the campaign promised them the chance to perform at events as well as a table to sell pre-orders of the group's album, which is due to be released in September. None of these things happened.

From the Washington Post:

"This is not a billion-dollar lawsuit," Popick said. "I'm doing this because I think they have to do the right thing. And if this means having to go through the court system to enforce them doing the right thing, then that's what I have to do. I'm not looking to do battle with the Trump campaign, but I have to show my girls that this is the right thing."

Popick is quick to explain that the agreement was not written down, but, instead, involves a series of promises from various agents of the Trump campaign which he says were then broken.

Yikes.

Texas Judge Drops Charges Against Planned Parenthood Investigators

The Center for Medical Progress is the pro-life group behind the Planned Parenthood videos released last summer that showed employees negotiating the sale of fetal body parts. Instead of seeking punishment for the pro-abortion organization, a Texas grand jury chose to indict the two investigators behind the videos, arguing they broke the law by tampering with a governmental record, using fake identities, and were guilty of a misdemeanor charge of attempting to buy aborted baby organs.

On Tuesday, however, a Texas judge dismissed all charges.

CMP President David Daleiden responded to the welcome decision.

“The dismissal of the bogus, politically motivated charges against CMP project lead David Daleiden and investigator Sandra Merritt is a resounding vindication of the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists, and also a clear warning to any of Planned Parenthood's political cronies who would attack whistleblowers to protect Planned Parenthood from scrutiny," he said in a statement. "Planned Parenthood tried to collude with public officials to manipulate the legal process to their own benefit, and they failed. A year after the release of the undercover videos, the ongoing nationwide investigation of Planned Parenthood by the House Select Investigative Panel makes clear that Planned Parenthood is the guilty party in the harvesting and trafficking of baby body parts for profit.”

Hopefully this is one step closer toward the pro-life community holding the real culprit accountable.

Viewers Remind Michelle Obama of One Word When She Says Hillary Has Never Quit on Anything

First Lady Michelle Obama offered a strong endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, noting she is "truly qualified" to be president. Yet, it was one line in particular that had viewers shaking their heads.

"But here’s the thing - what I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure," Mrs. Obama said. "She never takes the easy way out.  And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life."

Social media users were quick to remind the First Lady about the deadliest scandal of Clinton's career.

The Benghazi Select Committee's efforts have revealed that former Secretary of State Clinton and her team were wasting precious time debating attire while our soldiers were willing and ready to save their comrades at the U.S. embassy.

I wonder if the families of the victims of the Benghazi attack would call Clinton a fighter.

A&E’s ‘Born This Way’ Will Shatter Your Preconceived Notions About Down Syndrome

A&E’s “Born This Way” reality show follows the lives of 10 young adults as they deal with everyday challenges such as family drama, new roommates, and the complications that come with dating and marriage.

They just all happen to have Down syndrome.

“Born This Way,” airing its second season Tuesday night, proves that these young adults are more than their disorder. That, said Sandra McElwee, one of the moms featured on the show, was the parents’ and producers’ most important goal.

“The biggest limitations Sean experiences is other people’s perceptions,” McElwee explained in an interview with Townhall. “In the beginning, that’s his biggest disability.”

Sean had always been an independent thinker, she noted. Before joining the show, he even liked referring to himself as a “ladies man.” Yet, McElwee says her son has gained even more confidence from being a reality TV star.

“Pretty much everywhere he goes he’s recognized now,” McElwee said. “We were just on vacation out of the country and he was recognized several times. He just thinks that’s the way it should be. He has no fear. He can stand up in front of hundreds of people and speak with no problem whatsoever.”

That doesn’t mean McElwee wasn’t hesitant at first for her son to join the cast.

“I’d seen enough reality shows to see how they can turn them into a train wreck and it can be just one big drama and they can twist things around and create sentences that didn’t actually happen,” she said. “But I had this feeling that this show could be a game changer for people with Down syndrome.”

The majority of the population, McElwee added, don’t know anyone with Down syndrome. Now they know seven -soon to be 10 - people with Down syndrome they’d never known before.

“Knowing people and knowing their lives and seeing they’re just like everyone else takes away from the fear and when you take away the fear it opens up doors,” she said.

In watching the show, you find that the parents have opportunities to celebrate unique milestones in their children’s lives.

“When Sean was 3 years old, we were at a festival and there was a children’s singing and dancing group performing and he looked at me and pointed to himself and pointed toward the stage and said, ‘Me do that.’ And that was his first 3-word sentence and I thought, wow, we’ve got a 3-word sentence out I better support his dreams. So I signed him up for the group. Most parents would’ve said, I’m not going to sign my kid up for a singing group when he can’t even sing. But I decided to support his dreams. He’s just really been very vocal about what he wants to do and we support him.”

Down syndrome, these parents insist, “is going to play a minor part in their lives.”

Watch the trailer for “Born This Way’s” season two, airing on A&E Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET.

Susan Sarandon Did Not Have A Fun Night Last Night

Actress Susan Sarandon is a passionate supporter of Bernie Sanders, and even went as far as to say she'd potentially vote for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton.

Sarandon attended the DNC on Monday in Philadelphia, and a gif of her looking rather morose at the prospect of Clinton's nomination went viral on Monday night.

Sarandon herself confirmed that it was, not a pleasant time:

Sarandon was also spotted weeping during Sanders' speech.

Trump Addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars: Message to the VA Officials, You're Fired!

Republican nominee Donald Trump made it clear during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday, that under his administration, heads would roll and government workers would be held accountable for failures in the Department of Veterans affairs.  

Trump started his speech by saying our most basic commitment to veterans is healthcare.  

He criticized Hilary Clinton for downplaying the many problems with the VA.  

He then went after government officials by saying that he will remove and discipline those who fail to do their job.

Lessons: As US Debates Refugee Policy, Germany Suffers Three Attacks in Three Days

Some commentators are scratching their heads over how Donald Trump could have earned a polling bump out of Cleveland, in light of its various mishaps and controversies (which the Democrats are working to match and surpass) -- and especially after such a dark and foreboding acceptance speech. The reason we predicted he'd get that bounce is because the public mood is dark. We see that reality reflected in national polling week after week. And we see its roots and causes playing out in headlines across the globe. In Germany over this past weekend alone, there were three terrible attacks -- two of which were carried out by Syrian refugees:

(1) Machete Attack Against Pregnant Woman:

A 21-year-old Syrian refugee was arrested on Sunday after killing a pregnant woman with a machete in Germany, the fourth violent assault on civilians in western Europe in 10 days, though police said it did not appear linked to terrorism. The incident, however, may add to public unease surrounding Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policy that has seen over a million migrants enter Germany over the past year, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. German police said they arrested the machete-wielding Syrian asylum-seeker after he killed a woman and injured two other people in the southwestern city of Reutlingen near Stuttgart...A 21-year-old Syrian refugee was arrested on Sunday after killing a pregnant woman with a machete in Germany, the fourth violent assault on civilians in western Europe in 10 days, though police said it did not appear linked to terrorism. The incident, however, may add to public unease surrounding Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policy that has seen over a million migrants enter Germany over the past year, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. German police said they arrested the machete-wielding Syrian asylum-seeker after he killed a woman and injured two other people in the southwestern city of Reutlingen near Stuttgart...The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for both a July 18 ax attack by a 17-year-old refugee that injured five people near Nuremburg in southern Germany, and a July 14 attack in which a Tunisian man drove a truck into Bastille Day holiday crowds in the French city of Nice, killing 84 people.

(2) Bombing Targeting Music Festival:

The Syrian suicide bomber who injured 15 people in a Sunday night attack on a music festival in Ansbach, Germany, left behind a video pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said Monday. The ISIS-affiliated media group Amaq claimed the attacker was an ISIS "soldier" in a statement the group's supporters posted online Monday, but there is no evidence he was in contact with ISIS or directed to carry out an attack. In the video left on a mobile phone, the 27-year-old Syrian announced his threat to carry out an attack "as an act of revenge against Germans, because they obstruct Islam," Herrmann told a press conference. The man said the attack would be committed in the name of Allah as retaliation for the killing of Muslims. The bomber, who has not been named, was killed.

(3) Mass Shooting at Shopping Mall:

German police arrested a 16-year-old Afghan boy in Munich on Sunday after police found contradictions in statements the youth made to police earlier about his relationship with an 18-year-old German-Iranian, Ali David Sonboly, who shot and killed nine people in the city on Friday. “There is a suspicion that the 16-year-old is a possible tacit accomplice to [Friday’s] attack,” police said in a statement Sunday, reported by broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “We suspect that this boy aged 16 years could have been aware of the act.” The Afghan youth reportedly went to police voluntarily on Friday after the shooting by Sonboly. But police later came to believe that the Afghan boy may have been involved in posting a message on Facebook that the shooter used to lure victims to a shopping and cinema complex, thus giving rise to suspicions that he knew about the planned attack but failed to report it.

Germany has extremely restrictive gun laws, which have resulted in a flourishing black market awash in illegal firearms.  In any case, here at the DNC, Democrats are celebrating Hillary Clinton's proposal to massively increase the influx of Syrian refugees into the United States. With German Chancellor Angela Merkel under intense fire over the repercussions of her refugee policy, Clinton's party seems intent on framing (very widespread) public skepticism about refugee screening as backwards bigotry. It's true that the US government's vetting process is both improved and more robust than it is elsewhere. But do deliberately missed red flags like this, which contributed to the San Bernardino terrorist attack, inspire confidence? And are Americans supposed to be reassured by public statements from security officials like these?

The Obama administration is fighting a growing national backlash against accepting Syrian refugees, saying the government’s exhaustive screening process and security checks for new arrivals mean they can be safely brought to American soil. Several high-level administration officials have warned in recent months just how challenging this can be. While they say U.S. security measures are much better than in the past, vetting Syrian refugees poses a quandary: How do you screen people from a war-torn country that has few criminal and terrorist databases to check? “I don’t, obviously, put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees, so that’s a huge concern of ours,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said at a security industry conference in September, using another name for the Islamic State. He added that the government has “a pretty aggressive program” for screening refugees but that he is less confident about European nations. FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,” he said...“If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our data,” he said. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this.”

Americans ought to demand a thoughtful and rational debate on these policies, with less demagoguery on both sides. The rhetoric in Cleveland and Philadelphia suggests that we're unlikely to get it.  And with leadership like this from the Demagogue-in-Chief, is that any surprise?

UPDATE - Two additional notes, via Leah and Cortney: A priest has been brutally murdered in a French church by ISIS terrorists, the latest Islamist horror on Western soil.  And in many hours of rhetoric last night, Democrats saw fit to mention the terror army (of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy's partial creation) zero times.

Here is The DNC Schedule For Tuesday

The following 2016 Democrat Convention speaker agenda has been provided by the Democratic National Committee and is subject to change. The convention, being held in Philadelphia, starts Monday and concludes Thursday. Below is the agenda for Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

***
Program hours: 4:00 PM Start Time

Location: Wells Fargo Arena

Kate Burdick

Kate, originally from Philadelphia, PA,  is a staff attorney at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

Anton Moore

Anton, from Philadelphia, PA, founded and runs a nonprofit community group that strives to bring awareness and educate youth on gun violence.

Dustin Parsons

Dustin, from Little Rock, Arkansas,  is currently a fifth grade teacher at an elementary school in his home state.

Students from Eagle Academy

As a senator, Hillary Clinton supported the creation of the Eagle Academy to educate at-risk youth in New York City. Eagle Academy was featured in the ad Came Through during the New York primary.

 Joe Sweeney

Joe, of New York, NY,  was a detective with the NYPD on September 11, 2001. When the towers were hit, he rushed down to the World Trade Center and began digging through the rubble for survivors.

Lauren Manning

Lauren was a former executive and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald. She is one of the most catastrophically wounded survivors of 9/11. Lauren battled single digit odds of survival, spending more than six months in the hospital and fought recovering through the next decade from an 82.5% total body burn. Lauren asked then Senator Hillary Clinton to support the injured and she has remained unflagging in her commitment and dedication.

Ryan Moore

Ryan, originally from South Sioux City, NE, has spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia dwarfism and has known Hillary Clinton since 1994 when his family came to Washington, DC for an event to advocate for health care reform. Brian Moore, Ryan’s father, lost his job when his employer was unwilling to cover treatment for Ryan’s health condition. Ryan has stayed in contact with Hillary ever since.

President Bill Clinton

Mothers of the Movement

The DNC Is Adopting Abortion Positions Most Americans Disagree With

The Democratic National Committee is about to adopt its most radical pro-abortion platform ever. Thanks to a platform committee that pushed the party to the left, the Democratic platform includes language that opposes the Hyde Amendment, a common sense piece of legislation that prohibits the government from forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions. The DNC’s decision to challenge the Hyde Amendment is so extreme that even members of the party are calling it “crazy.”

Hillary Clinton is apparently fine with the platform position, even promising supporters at a Planned Parenthood event that she will repeal Hyde as president.

That’s why the results of a new Knights of Columbus Marist poll is so important. In a survey of 1,000 adults, voters made clear that they do not support the DNC’s new agenda.

Though 51 percent of Americans say they are pro-choice, about 8 in 10 Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion (78 percent), and would limit it to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. This number includes 62 percent of those who identify as pro-choice, 85 percent of African Americans and 84 percent of Latinos.

Taxpayer funding for abortion is opposed by 62 percent of Americans. This includes 65 percent of African Americans, 61 percent of Latinos, and 45 percent of those who say they are pro-choice, as well as 84 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Independents and 44 percent of Democrats.

The majority of Americans, in other words, would be appalled to read the fine print of the DNC platform. It is the Republican Party's job to magnify it.

If the platform wasn’t already an indication of how radical the Democratic Party has become, its speaker schedule for this week's convention will relieve any doubts. Among the headliners are Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and NARAL President Ilyse Hogue.

The Crucible: Journalists Endure 'Chaos' And Logistical Hell Navigating Through Democratic Convention

Well, if there’s anything that journalists liked about the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, it’s that it was not a logistical nightmare. In Philadelphia, it appears as if the conditions are nothing short of abysmal. We have media tents that are like ovens in the sweltering heat, coupled with few locations to find food and water. Oh, and speaking of water—the Wells Fargo Center is charging $4.50 a bottle, according to The Hill. The publication also said that other journalists and media members covering the convention described the whole situation as chaotic. To make matters worse, the media tents needed to be evacuated twice due to severe storms and lightning:

Just outside the convention center by the media tents, a handful of food trucks sizzled on the pavement, with no other food spots nearby. Inside the tents, water has only been made available by media outlets for their own staff.

Peeved reporters and editors have taken to Twitter to complain about the event’s disorganization, with some pining for their experience at last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Criticism reverberated beyond the arena, as convention-goers fought traffic-clogged streets to traverse the city. The seven-mile trip between the Wells Fargo Center and media-sponsored events downtown easily took 60 to 90 minutes in a car.

Uber offered up free iced coffee and snacks to customers who waited for rides in an air-conditioned tent – but only after they walked across two steamy parking lots, and then waited in long lines.

Megan Liberman, editor-in-chief of Yahoo News, described the day as “chaos.”

“To be totally objective and nonpartisan: the logistics at DNC are appalling. Squalid hotels, sweltering workspace, no directions. Chaos,” Liberman tweeted.

“Walking thru hot media tents, or walking the mile from Uber drop off to hot media tents, one hears longing for CLE,” Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker tweeted.

Our own Guy Benson is in Philadelphia covering the convention and agreed with The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman that Cleveland was better logistically. Well, welcome to the suck, folks—and I’m not just saying that because you have to cover what Democrats say for the week. In all seriousness, it sounds like a total disaster down there.

'Horror': ISIS Terrorists Slit Elderly Priest's Throat in Attack on French Church

Update: Hollande said ISIS is behind the attack, telling reporters it was carried out  "by two terrorists in the name of Daesh." 

BREAKING: French president suggests Islamic State group is behind church attack that left priest dead.

— The Associated Press (@AP) July 26, 2016

Update: The Vatican speaks out:

Pope Francis has condemned in the strongest terms the attack on a Roman Catholic church in northern France that left a priest dead and a worshipper critically wounded.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement Tuesday that the attack hits particularly hard "because this horrific violence took place in a church, a sacred place in which the love of God is announced, and the barbaric murder of a priest and the involvement of the faithful."

Lombardi called the attack "more terrible news, that adds to a series of violence in these days that have left us upset, creating immense pain and worry."

The pope, he said, has expressed "pain and horror for this absurd violence, with the strongest condemnation for every form of hatred and prayer for those affected."

The Vatican expressed its closeness to the Roman Catholic Church in France and the Archdiocese of Rouen, as well as to the affected communities and the people of France.

Original Post: Two attackers seized five hostages in a church in the Normandy city of Rouen, killing a priest, 86-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, and seriously injuring at least one other person on Tuesday. 

A police source told Reuters it appeared the priest’s throat was slit, although Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet would not confirm this.

The two attackers stormed the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during a service at around 10am local time (9am BST), taking the priest, two nuns and several members of the congregation hostage.

The crisis continued for around an hour before the armed men were shot dead by police when they emerged in a courtyard outside the church.

Police said officers "neutralised" both attackers an operation near Rouen, Normandy, on Tuesday morning and a terror investigation has been launched.

"At one point, the two assailants came out of the church and that's when they were killed by the BRI elite force," Brandet told France Info radio, referring to the elite French police unit.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the attack "barbaric" on Twitter and said it was a blow to the whole of France and all Catholics.

"Horror. Everything is being done to trigger a war of religions," former conservative PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin tweeted.

It was only 12 days ago that 84 people were killed in Nice when a terrorist plowed his truck through a crowded street during Bastille Day.

Crisis Averted: Philadelphia Removed Mississippi Flag Ahead of DNC. I'm Sure you Can Guess Why

Attendees of the Democratic National Convention were spared being triggered by the collection of state flags that dot Philadelphia’s broad street. Apparently, some progressives took umbrage over the Mississippi flag being displayed on the street due to its confederate emblem prior to the start of the convention.

Fox5 reported that police arrived and told the crowd of 50 or so demonstrators that they couldn’t climb the lamppost to remove the flag, the crowd then heckled the officers—telling them to think for themselves. Funny since that’s not what police officers do—they ensure that people are obeying the law.

But fear not, my delicate social justice warriors—the city will remove the flags. So, no more crying; no more trigger warnings—and there’s no need to run to a safe space to shield yourself from an inanimate piece of cloth representing the flag of Mississippi residents and fellow Americans. The enemy is now gone.

Sanders Is Going To Do Everything He Can To Ensure A Unified Democratic Government Come November

Sen. Bernie Sanders shook the Wells Fargo Center to its core with his address at the Democratic National Convention. It took him a few minutes for the die-hard Bernie supporters and fellow attendees to calm down to allow him to deliver his remarks.

He thanked his supporters; the 8 million people who gave an average of $27 in individual contributions to his campaign; the 13 million who voted for the “political revolution; and the 1,800+ delegates who were attending the convention. He said that he was very much looking forward to the roll call vote Tuesday night.

Sanders then acknowledged the elephant in the room, which is that he lost to Clinton. He said that he knows people are disappointed, but added, “I think it’s fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am.” With that said, he said that he hopes his followers take enormous pride in the historical accomplishments that had achieved. He said that they started a revolution to transform America. The struggle for socioeconomic equality continues after this convention, and he looks forward to being part of that struggle.

The disheveled Democratic socialist said that this election is not, and has never been, about Clinton, Trump, or himself. This election is not political gossip, the polls, campaign strategy, or all of the things the media spends so much time discussing, which drew immense applause.

This election is about, and must be about, the needs of the American people and the future we create for our children and our grandchildren; ending the 40-year decline of our middle class; the 47 million men, women, and children live in poverty; changing course so that this generation doesn’t end up with a lower standard of living than their parents; and ending the gross level of wealth inequality we have today–the latter of which Sanders described as immoral. He also said that it’s not acceptable, or sustainable, that the top one percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

Yet, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. He added that progress has been made on a variety of issues but much more progress needs to be done. This election is about which candidate understands the real problems and will offer real solutions, according to Sanders. It’s not about bombast; fear mongering, and divisiveness–a swipe at Trump.

He declared that based on her ideas, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. Why? Because she understands that the minimum wage must be raised to a living wage. She has justices who will overturn Citizens United and protect a woman’s reproductive health choices.

Sanders invoked the importance of the Supreme Court during this portion of his address, telling those on the fence that one only has to think about the justices Donald Trump would nominate should he win in November to get them out to the voting booths. That was mixed in with slamming Trump over the minimum wage and offering huge tax breaks to people who don’t need them (aka the job creating and investing class). In a bit of hyperbole, Sanders said that Citizens United was one of the worst decisions made by the Supreme Court. I still think Dred Scott takes the cake in that category. A ruling defining free speech is nowhere near as bad as one that lurched the nation closer to civil war.

The Vermont senator also bashed Trump on wanting to cut Medicaid to low-income Americans, along with repealing Obamacare that only shows the GOP’s contempt for working Americans. Clinton, the darling of Wall Street, would add a public option for Americans to choose from in a health care exchange. We also need to pass criminal justice and comprehensive immigration reform.

In all, because Clinton believes all of these things, Sanders promised to do everything he can to ensure that come January 2017 we have a Democratic president, Senate, and House to enact portions of the party’s platform, which is decidedly more left wing. And now the games begin.

DNC Monday: FLOTUS Steals the Show, Then Rumpled Socialist Basks in Adulation

PHILADELPHIA  --  A few thoughts on tonight's primetime DNC program:

(1) Al Franken and Sarah Silverman were painfully bad, flailing as they tried to "stretch" ahead of an underwhelming performance by Paul Simon.  These people are comedians by trade?

(2) Anastasia Somoza and Cheryl Lankford offered impactful testimonies against Donald Trump. The former is a disability rights activist, who appeared immediately after a short video presentation depicting Republicans and conservative commentators laying into Trump for mocking a disabled reporter.  The latter is an Iraq War widow who was swindled out of thousands of dollars at Trump University.  Her affecting story was showcased heading into the peak of primetime, not accidentally. Her story, and stories like it, will be employed relentlessly in Democratic attack ads through November.

(3) Sen. Cory Booker was shouty and unfocused. He started off talking about how we must all love and support each other, pivoted into conventional attacks against Donald Trump, then closed with a stirring historical ode to America -- which finally pulled some energy out of the largely lethargic crowd.

(4) First Lady Michelle Obama gave by far the best address of the night. It was as well-crafted and well-received as any speech delivered at either party's gathering thus far. She electrified the room, earning loud and sustained applause. Someone on Twitter joked that Mrs. Obama could probably have snatched the nomination away from Hillary Clinton tonight, if only she'd asked for it. Instead, she issued a powerful case against Donald Trump without ever naming him. She took the high road, using clear subtext to slice into the GOP nominee. She also made an urgent call for party unity, indirectly repudiating the "Bernie or Bust" crowd by praising Hillary's approach and attitude after losing a tough primary fight.   Neither message was delivered with a two-by-four, but rather a dagger and a smile.  Setting aside political differences and some galling hypocrisy, this was an A-plus political performance.

(5) Sen. Elizabeth Warren's speech was a letdown, energy-wise.  She lit into Donald Trump and the Republican Congress in a typically shrill and partisan manner, but the audience -- perhaps still dazzled by the First Lady -- didn't eat it up. The text itself was uninspiring and her delivery was flat. A dull note from an unlikable radical.

(6) Sen. Bernie Sanders had his moment, soaking in a five-minute standing ovation from a packed house. He reveled in the adulation, boasted about his campaign, and thanked his supporters. When the Vermont Senator finally got around to making the case for Hillary, he was met mostly by cheers, with audible boos mixed in. The DNC leak's revelations are still raw here, after all; plus, Mrs. Clinton is the human embodiment of the rigged, privileged, establishment system Sanders has bashed throughout this cycle. A number of his delegates were in tears. He went on to outline his reckless, harmful, unaffordable agenda, assuring wary supporters that Hillary is more friend than foe in achieving his desired Statist ends. He invoked "the revolution," and insisted that his insurgent campaign only marked the beginning of transforming America into a full-blown, Left-wing welfare state -- bragging that the party's new platform is the most extreme document they've ever produced. The soul of the Democratic Party is now firmly with Barack Obama, Liz Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Not the Clintons.  

Two final thoughts: First, I may be wrong, and may be proven so very soon, but I suspect that the divisions in this building will be less vociferous and disruptive over the remainder of the week. The visceral anger and frustration has been vented, and Bernie made an impassioned case for (most of) his most ardent backers to back off moving forward.  Second, despite their profound wrongness on almost everything, Democrats nailed their stagecraft.  They exploited the key 9:30 to 11pm hours to drive home core messages, building toward the big event (Bernie's speech, in tonight's case).  The place was packed and loud for the televised pageant's crucial final hour.  The RNC unforgivably squandered the 10pm hour twice last week.  Imagine how much bigger Trump's polling bounce might have been if his campaign had designed a competent program.  Compare and contrast:

Michelle Obama Reminded All Of Us How She And Barack Won The Presidency

In Philadelphia, we were reminded how the Obamas won the presidency–twice. And we’re reminded why people called Michelle the closer. Love her or hate her, Mrs. Obama delivered a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention that doled out not so thinly veiled attacks against Donald Trump and some intransigent factions of the party that are still supporting Sanders.

Obama said that it’s not really about political parties this year, but who will have the power to shape the futures of our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.

She said, of course, that in this election, there is only one person who I trust, and who is qualified: Hillary Clinton.

In a dig towards the Sanders crowd, she said that when her husband defeated Clinton in the 2008 primaries, Clinton was not angry or disillusioned. She didn’t pack up and go home because she knew there was too much at stake. There were moments when Clinton could’ve left the administration. The workload, the media criticisms of her looks, or how she laughs were intense and constant, but Obama noted that Clinton doesn’t buckle under pressure. She has never quit on anything in her life.

Obama said that she wants someone who can persevere, like Clinton, and will take this job seriously, who doesn’t think that all of this can be boiled down to 140 characters. When you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips, you can’t have a thin skin, and you need to be measured and well informed. I’m going to let you guess whom she’s referring to with that line.

Michelle added that she wanted a president with a record of service, who will fight to give everyone a chance at building a better life, and who thinks that everyone in this country matters. Obama said that she knows that’s the kind of president Hillary Clinton will be, which is why she’s with her. She added how Clinton knows that it’s about leaving something better for your kids.

Additionally, Obama mentioned how Clinton’s run for president has shown her daughters, and many others, that it’s possible for a woman to be elected president. Touching upon similar remarks she gave at the commencement ceremony at the City University of New York, the First Lady added that should Hillary become president, she would break a glass ceiling which is indicative of the American Dream—of people fighting for their rights and carving out better futures for their children that drove America forward. It’s that drive that led to Mrs. Obama addressing the DNC tonight–and waking up in the residence of the most powerful political figure in the world that was built by slaves, that was never envisioned originally to be occupied by a black man.

She closed her remarks by saying that Democrats need to pour every last ounce of energy to elect Hillary, so let’s get to work.

Missing Topic From DNC Day One: ISIS

Over 60 speeches were made Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, yet one key topic was MIA: the rise of ISIS.

The Republican National Committee pointed out the unforgivable omission on Twitter.

With the devastating amount of terror attacks authored by ISIS in recent months, you would think the Democrats would at least address it and how they plan to confront and combat the terror cell.  

Americans will be voting for our commander in chief in November - you better believe national security will be on their minds.

The Ironic Line in Elizabeth Warren’s Speech

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), one of America’s most beloved progressives, addressed the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, in what turned out to be an awkward evening of pro-Bernie Sanders supporters jeering at speaker after speaker. An hour or so before Warren took the stage, comedian Sarah Silverman and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) got booed off the stage for chiding the disruptive attendees. “To the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous,” Silverman said.

First Lady Michelle Obama offered temporary relief by offering a positive speech about how far America has come in providing the opportunities for African Americans and women to run for president. Her remarks were met with limited boos.

They returned when Warren stepped up to the podium.

Of course, the crowd was totally with her when she railed on GOP nominee Donald Trump. “What kind of a man” cheats students, cheats investors, etc. she asked.

She had an answer: “A man who must never be president of the United States.”

She lost the audience when she backed up that remark by noting “Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are going to make it happen." Some of her former fans even shouted "We trusted you!"

Warren also offered what she says is a clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans on key issues. For instance, "while Democrats proposed raising minimum wage, Republicans said no." 

“This November, the American people are coming for you,” she told the GOP.

That’s when she offered a bit of irony.

“There is a huge difference between people fighting for a level playing field and the people fighting to keep the system rigged,” she said.

If Warren wants to talk about rigged systems, she should comb through the new Wikileaks emails exposing the DNC’s bias against the Sanders campaign. The correspondence between DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her staff proves that there was open hostility to Sanders, suggesting no one was going to stop them from making sure Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. 

Of course, that wasn't the only ironic line in Warren's speech.

FLOP: Pro-Sanders Sarah Silverman Rips Bernie Supporters, 'You're Being Ridiculous'

So, prior to Paul Simon being introduced to sing Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and comedian Sarah Silverman did a comedy bit that was contrived, too long, too awkward, and kept the deep divisions between the Bernie and Clinton camps fresh.

Silverman delivered a brief but predictable address about how she’s proud that Hillary Clinton will take on Citizens United decision on campaign finance if elected president. She then said that she would happily vote for Clinton come November. She also tried to get the convention to come together with chants of unity. That was torpedoed when she tore into her fellow Bernie-ites, calling them ridiculous for refusing to get behind Hillary.

Even CNN’s Van Jones said that was an awkward moment, which should be filed in the “AwkwardDotCom file.”