The "Affordable" Care Act Raised A Family's Average Premium Cost By $5,000

On Monday, it was announced that premiums for plans sold on, the government website for Affordable Care Act plans, will see a nearly 25 percent increase for next year. This, of course, shouldn't come as too big of a shock, considering that premiums have risen by nearly $5,000 since the "Affordable" Care Act was passed.

In 2008, the average health insurance premium cost a family about $12,680 every year. Now, after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the average premium cost for a family has ballooned to $17,500.

As a reminder, one of the selling points of the law was that it was going to significantly lower premiums.

To which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had an impressively snarky take on:


Disgraced Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane Slapped With Jail Time For Politically-Motivated Grand Jury Leak, Perjury

Pennsylvania’s two-year ordeal with its Attorney General Kathleen Kane has come to an end. The first female Democrat elected to the office (it became an elected position in 1980) was handcuffed and led out in total disgrace after being found guilty of politically-motivated disclosures of a grand jury investigation that went nowhere and for perjury. Kane was sentenced to a 10-23-month jail sentence yesterday, closing a rather toxic chapter in public life for the Keystone State (via The Morning Call):

"This case is about ego, ego of a politician consumed with her image from Day One," Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said during Kane's sentencing Monday in Montgomery County Court. "And instead of focusing solely on the business of fighting crime, her focus was on defeating these perceived enemies."

Demchick-Alloy noted Kane, once a rising Democratic Party star, ascended quickly to become the state's top law enforcement officer, arriving as a political novice and neophyte. Kane, however, failed to make the transition from politician to public servant once she took office, the judge said.

"Ego must be set aside after the election with the sole purpose to serve the public in order to ensure the public's confidence in you and the system," Demchick-Alloy said.

Demchick-Alloy noted Kane's crimes, orchestrating the release of secret information about an abandoned fraud probe targeting a Philadelphia civil rights leader and lying about it under oath, damaged the backbone of Pennsylvania's justice system

So, how did Kathleen Kane go from a rising Democratic star, rumored to be a name floated to challenge Sen. Pat Toomey, to a disgraced former attorney general whose bloated ego poisoned her office, demoralized her staff, and rendered her incapable of transitioning from campaigner to law enforcer? Well, it goes back to Porngate and the Jerry Sandusky case involving child abuse at Penn State. Amber Phillips of The Washington Post has a great rundown of where her fall from grace began, the rivalries involved, and the inevitable grand jury that brought her down.

After winning the 2012 election, Kane promised to look into then-Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s investigation into Jerry Sandusky, who is serving a 30-60-year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period, which drew the ire of state prosecutor Frank Fina, who used to work for Corbett. No wrongdoing was found on Corbett’s part, but thousands of sexually explicit emails between top members of PA’s political class were discovered and released. Fina was involved in what we now know as “Porngate,” as were two state Supreme Court justices who resigned due to the fallout. Phillips noted this was the first salvo fired between Fina and Kane that eventually engulfed the whole state:

Shortly after Kane took office in 2013, she decided to shut down an undercover corruption investigation against four Democratic Philadelphia-area state lawmakers and a traffic court judge who were caught accepting cash and gifts from a lobbyist.

The prosecutor running that investigation for the past three years was none other than Fina, who ran the attorney general's public corruption unit under Corbett.

This was all playing out behind the scenes until news leaked that Kane wasn't going to pursue corruption charges against some in her own party. The leak came from Kane's office. She blamed Fina for the breach and told the public by way of explanation that she thought the corruption case targeted African Americans and was poorly managed.


Then, in 2014, there was another leak on what seemed like a totally unrelated case. The Philadelphia Daily News got hold of a memo from a 2009 secret grand jury investigation into a former NAACP leader [Jerry Mondesire] that never went anywhere.

This time, the leak was potentially damning for Fina, who had decided not to prosecute the local official despite questions about the Philadelphia chapter's use of funds.

Kane's defense lawyer would later say she wanted those documents to be public to show Fina's decision not to prosecute but that she didn't release them herself.

But leaking grand jury information is worthy of its own grand jury investigation.

But let’s go back even further to what Phillips mentioned about the corruption probe into Philly politicians that was shut down and reported in The Philly Inquirer on March 16, 2014. What’s missing from The Post article is that Kane thought this piece made her look soft on crime and it certainly didn’t help that she thought Fina was behind the article. Hence, the need for immediate retaliation using The Philadelphia Daily News story against Fina. To carry out the counteroffensive, she solicited the help of her top aide Adrian King and political consultant Joshua Morrow (via Steve Esack/The Morning Call 2/25/16):

The county's affidavit claims Kane targeted Fina because she blamed him, without proof, of being a source in a March 16, 2014, Philadelphia Inquirer story that she thought made her look soft on crime.

Kane sought to damage Fina's reputation, the affidavit states, by providing the Philadelphia Daily News with information from a closed 2009 grand jury investigation Fina supervised. The 2009 grand jury dealt with government grants bestowed on organizations run by J. Whyatt Mondesire, ex-chief of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP, the affidavit states. Mondesire, who has since died, was not charged.

That Esack article was based on FBI recordings between Morrow and King, who Kane’s legal team would later try to blame for the whole leaked document fiasco.

Wilkes-Barre’s Citizen’s Voice noted in their timeline that on November 17, 2014, Kane said that she spoke to King about the Mondesire probe, but added that she didn’t authorize those sealed documents to be disclosed. The problem is that King said Kane called him on April 22, 2014 to deliver a package to a reporter, who he then gave to Morrow, who in turn delivered to reporter Chris Brennan. That package contained the Mondesire documents.

On May 8, 2014, Brennan calls Fina about the probe, in which Fina suspects that a leak has occurred and calls Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter.

On May 29, special prosecutor, Thomas Carluccio, is appointed by Judge Carpenter to look into The Philadelphia Daily News leak, which was challenged by Kane. Kane’s arguments are rejected and the story on the Mondesire probe is published on June 6, 2014.

The November 2014 testimony is where Kane lands in hot water for perjury. On December 19, 2014, The Voice adds that the grand jury recommends to Montgomery Country District Attorney Risa Ferman that the charges of perjury, false swearing, official suppression, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy should be filed against Kane. On August 6, 2015, Ferman charges Kane (via NYT):

That grand jury concluded that Ms. Kane had orchestrated the leaks as a campaign of retaliation against Mr. Fina, and lied about her actions in her testimony. Its report, delivered to Ms. Ferman in December and made public in April, recommended criminal charges, but left the matter up to Ms. Ferman.

In addition to charging Ms. Kane, the district attorney charged a member of her security detail, Patrick R. Reese, with indirect criminal contempt, claiming that he gained illegal access to information about last year’s grand jury inquiry while it was underway.

At the start of this year, Ferman is elected as a county judge. New DA Kevin Steele takes over the case; Kane files a motion to dismiss the charges on May 26, 2016, which is rejected by Judge Demchick-Alloy. The State Superior Court upholds the decision, according to the Voice. On August 7, the Kane trial begins. Phillips added that the court proceedings devolved into a nasty affair, with Morrow testifying (after being given immunity) that Kane was out for blood, “unhinged” in her pursuit to strike back at Frank Fina. Kane decides not to testify in her own defense and no defense witnesses were called. It was all about broadsiding the prosecution’s witnesses, trying to cast doubt in their testimonies. It doesn’t work. On August 15, Kane is found guilty on all counts after the jury deliberated for less than five hours.

The Morning Call’s Peter Hall wrote that Kane asked for leniency in sentencing so as not to separate her from her family, apologized to the people of Pennsylvania for disgracing the office of Attorney General, and regretted how the now-late Jerry Mondesire’s final days “were anything less than peaceful and happy.” Mondesire’s reputation suffered as a result of this investigation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Kane is free on $75,000 bail and will probably remain free until the appeals process is done; Kane’s team vowed to do this upon her conviction. It’s quite the fiasco, one that involved every avenue of the state’s legal authority. It was all-out war, but in the end, Kane lost. The publication added that Kane tried to say that she was a victim of the political “Good Ol’Boy’s club” in Pennsylvania due to Porngate, though any mention of that event was barred from her trial. Yet, what her colleagues have said about her, and the damage she has done to the office, point to only one thing in the wake of this hyper-partisan trial: the lady was bad news, whose "Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone" in the PA Attorney General's office. 

Erik Olsen, a top prosecutor, said he was thrilled when Kane won election, thinking her victory would bring a much-needed fresh perspective to an office he said had at times been "misogynistic and mean-spirited."

Instead, he testified, "through a pattern of systematic firings and Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone in this office."


A former state prosecutor, Clarke Madden, testified that Kane's wrongdoing caused the State Police and the FBI to refuse to cooperate with their office, discouraged victims and witnesses from being helpful to their cases and led judges and defense lawyers to subject prosecutors to sarcastic and sniggering remarks.

Madden, who left the attorney general's office last year, said the atmosphere under Kane became one of "abject demoralization that settled like a poison cloud over the office."

It’s a rather embarrassing, irrational, and somewhat puzzling episode of PA politics. It makes you wonder how the office would have operated under Republican David Freed, Kane’s 2012 opponent.

Trump: Hillary Ally Donating to FBI Agent's Wife Is a Criminal Act

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons, donated about $500,000 to the wife of an FBI agent named Andrew McCabe who was involved in the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails. McAuliffe's financial contribution was made in order to boost Jill McCabe's State Senate campaign. On Fox News Tuesday morning, Clinton supporter Joyce Beatty claims this donation was well within the campaign ethics rules. Yet, others (many others) argue it is a shameful conflict of interest, raising serious questions as to whether McAuliffe's campaign contribution influenced McCabe's having a larger role in the FBI investigation that ultimately exonerated Clinton.

Donald Trump seems to know the answer. Speaking with Fox News on Tuesday, he said it was a "disgrace" Clinton did not get indicted in the FBI scandal and suggested her ally's close connection with the agents explains why. 

They gave money at "a huge clip" to the agent's wife, he said. "That's a criminal act."

Trump said this scandal proves Clinton is held to a higher standard than other Americans. "Look what they did to Gen. James Cartwright," Trump argued. Cartwright, a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general, was found guilty of providing classified information to reporters and may face up to five years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

A Washington Post reporter said the whole thing "reeks of political considerations."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Is in Trouble

The country’s most famous sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, has served in his position for 23 years. He’s been elected six consecutive times by his constituents. However, a new poll by the Arizona Republic may have Sheriff Arpaio sweating.

A poll conducted by Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite has Arpaio trailing his democratic challenger, Paul Penzone, by almost 15 points: 45.9 percent to 31.1 percent.

The shock poll was conducted amid federal prosecutors’ announcement that they would be filing a criminal contempt charge against Arpaio for racial profiling. While always being a controversial figure, analysts believe the recent negative press is damaging Arpaio’s reelection hopes.

The incumbent sheriff’s team has countered that the poll is flawed and their own internal polling shows him beating Penzone by eight points. They claim Arizona Republic’s method included respondents who are not as likely to vote.

When looking at Arpaio’s past election results, the status of this campaign may not be completely surprising. While winning fairly easily, Arpaio has steadily lost ground every four years. In 2000 he won by a spread of 40 points. In 2004 he won by 26 points. In 2008 he won by 13. And in his latest in 2012, he only won reelection by six points.

This trend should be daunting for Team Arpaio.

There is still good news for the famous sheriff. He touts name recognition even some national candidates wish they could have. Arpaio has raised $1.2 million this election cycle. That’s a jaw dropping amount for just a county sheriff and it’s four times more than his challenger, Penzone.

Sheriff Joe needs to start spending. Quickly.

October Surprise: Consumers, Democrats Battered By Terrible Obamacare News

The news broke last evening, but it didn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. We've known all along that Obamacare's rate hikes were due just before the election, and independent analysts have been tracking the law's 2017 premium spikes for months. Now the Obama administration has been forced to reckon with reality: The president's signature domestic "accomplishment" is failing. These aren't right-wing lies, or whatever. This is official HHS data:

Premiums for a crucial category of Obamacare plans on will rise by 25 percent on average next year, more than three times larger than this year's price increases, the Obama administration said Monday. By comparison, average prices for the second cheapest silver-level plan — which is used as the benchmark to determine premium subsidy levels — had increased by just 7.5 percent on average in 2016 and 2 percent in 2015...Federal health officials also confirmed that roughly one in five people in the states that use must shop from only one insurer following decisions by several major national and regional insurers to pull back from the Obamacare marketplaces in 2017. On average, exchange customers will have 30 plan options to choose from for 2017, down from 47 this year...HHS says 15 new insurers will enter the exchanges in 2017, while 83 insurers are dropping off the marketplaces. About 80 percent of customers will have at least two companies to choose from; just more than half will have at least three. The Obama administration expects 13.8 million people nationwide to pick a plan during the upcoming open enrollment season, about 1 million more than signed up this year.

Compared to this year's disaster, consecutive average increases of "just" 7.5 percent may seem "affordable," but a combined 15 percent rise in rates over a two year period is a clear failure unto itself. Americans were promised substantially reduced premiums for all consumers.  And now they're going through the roof. I discussed the four big takeaways from the administration's announcement with Brit Hume last evening, via Right Sightings:

(1) Average benchmark premiums increasing an average of 25 percent.

(2) While 15 insurers are jumping into the Obamacare marketplaces, nearly six times as many are withdrawing, including several major insurers (triggering another round of cancellations).

(3) Approximately one out of five Obamacare consumers will have to "choose" from among one or zero plans in their area.

(4) The total marketplace enrollment anticipated by the administration for 2017 is 13.8 million people. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office initially projected that enrollment would be north of 21 million by this year.

This finalized official data -- which doesn't take into account skyrocketing rates on non-baseline plans that are hammering millions of people across the country -- serves as a timely reminder that the reason we have this unpopular, harmful law is because Democrats were handed full control of the elected branches of government in 2008. As the liberals who are responsible for this mess demand "fixes" that entail even more spending and more government intrusion (and harsher tax penalties to punish people who can't afford the unaffordable coverage), it is essential to keep Congress out of Democratic hands. Every single Republican running for federal office should pound relentlessly at this theme and on this issue for the next two weeks.  Who's up for some flashbacks? Whoops:

Congressional Democrats marched right along and saluted, repeating the lies ad nauseam. Just a few months ago, Kathleen Sebelius' successor at HHS penned an op/ed assuring Americans that premiums weren't increasing as much as they might have without the law, and begging voters to disregard predictions of "doom."  That spin looks especially foolish now; plus, "your rising costs could be worse, maybe" wasn't the promise on which the law was sold:

Take a bow, Democrats:

Watch: Trump Introduces Employees While Campaigning in Doral, Florida

Speaking with Trump National Doral Miami resort employees at a rally in Florida, the Republican nominee Donald Trump once again promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare after it was announced yesterday that premiums were skyrocketing.

"I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare. You folks, this is another group. Is that a correct statement?” he said, pointing to the crowd of employees. “You look at what they're going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare. So we'll repeal it and replace it. But this is about jobs. And we have thousands of employees in Florida."

Before bringing up nearly a dozen employees to speak on stage, Trump made it clear that most of his properties are operated by minorities.  

“The most important thing are the employees, and we have many, many employees. We have over a thousand employees, well over a thousand employees at Doral. Eighty percent of them are Hispanic, right?” he said, turning around to the crowd behind him as it cheered the statistic. “We have 80 percent Hispanic. People don't know these things. And they are. They have done a fantastic job.”

This Adorably Honest Ad For A Local Election In Texas Has Gone Viral

This election cycle has been one full of mud-slinging and nastiness, so this oddly charming and amusing ad out of Texas is a breath of fresh air. Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, a Republican, is running for re-election, and for the sake of Gerald's wife, Charlyn, let's hope he wins.

Watch the clever ad here:

While the ad debuted in early October, it was recently discovered and has gone viral over the past few days. The ad is being praised for its humor, as well as for being "unusually pleasant" during this rough campaign season.

Daugherty has served as Travis County Commissioner from 2002-2008, and was elected again in 2012.

President Obama Reads More "Mean Tweets" on Jimmy Kimmel

President Barack Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night, where he again partook in the "Mean Tweets" series, reading a series of unkind tweets about himself on camera.

The tweets were sent from a variety of people, including a mother who was angry that her daughter shared a birthday with the president, as well as Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Watch here:

This was the second time Obama has appeared on Kimmel's "mean tweets" series. In March of 2015, the president's video on the show became the most-viewed video in the history of the show.

PA Senate Race: In Their Last Debate, Toomey Realizes Why McGinty Overlooks Clinton's Lies

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) had a light bulb moment during the final Pennsylvania Senate debate with his Democratic challenger Katie McGinty.

Toomey brought up an embarrassing moment on the campaign trail when McGinty claimed she was the first member in her family to go to college. It was soon discovered her brother had graduated from college years ago.

"Maybe it's Katie McGinty's problem with the truth that allows her to overlook Hillary Clinton's chronic lies," Toomey concluded.

In other words, they're two peas in a pod.

Yet, Toomey didn't exactly properly defend the Republican nominee, either. When asked if he was going to vote for Donald Trump, Toomey deferred.

"I don't think my constituents care that much how one person is going to vote." 

Toomey and McGinty also sparred over the Iran Deal, gun control, health care, abortion, and negative campaign ads. They failed to find common ground on anything. 

RealClearPolitics has Toomey with just a 2-point advantage.

Techie Proves Donna Brazile's Emails Weren't Doctored, Despite Claims

When Fox News’ Megyn Kelly confronted Donna Brazile over a Wikileaks email that shows the interim DNC chair giving Hillary Clinton the exact wording to a question before a town hall event, Brazile claimed the emails were doctored. But now, one tech blogger says it’s quite easy to prove they weren’t.

Tech blog Errata Security took up the challenge, finding the email Brazile sent to campaign adviser Jennifer Palmieri and ran it through a verification program.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a system employed by many email servers, including, to verify emails to recipients and avoid spam filters. The system sends a DKIM "key" to the receiver to verify the sender and confirm the email hasn’t been tampered with.

Consequently, bloggers ran the DKIM keys included in this and other emails through verification software, which in turn validated the Palmieri email as both real and undoctored. 

Cybersecurity expert Robert Graham detailed the process in his post for Errata Security and told Fox News the validation “took less than five minutes.”

 Graham is so confident the verification program is accurate that he’s offering a $600 BitCoin challenge to anyone who can doctor an email and still have it show as verified after running through DKIM software.

Undercover Video Shows Dem Operative Saying Clinton Wanted Trump Trolled By Donald Duck

In the third undercover video released by James O’Keefe and Project Veritas on Monday, Democratic operative Robert Creamer revealed a plan to troll Donald Trump that could put Hillary Clinton in hot water.

According to Creamer, Clinton personally approved a plan to have a nonprofit group use Donald Duck mascots to troll Trump at his rallies over his refusal to release his tax returns.

“In the end, it was the candidate, Hillary Clinton, the future president of the United States, who wanted ducks on the ground, so by God we would get ducks on the ground,” Democracy Partners’ Creamer says in the video. “Don’t repeat that to anybody.”

In the video Creamer said the group originally planned to use mascots of Uncle Sam, but it was Clinton who wanted Donald Duck—a messaged relayed to him by Hillary For America Deputy Communications Director Christina Reynolds.

“Christina Reynolds calls,” he says, “saying, ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is the candidate would like to have a mascot following around ... Trump. But the bad news is she wants it to be Donald Duck.’ “My answer is, ‘Christine, if the future president wants ducks, we will put ducks on the ground,” he says boastfully.

If Clinton and the DNC did coordinate with the group Americans United for Change, it constitutes ‘illegally coordinated campaign expenditures,’ according to Project Veritas.

AUFC is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code, allowing it to conduct limited amounts of electioneering as long as it doesn't directly advocate voting for or against candidates.

It also doesn't have to publicly identify its donors, distinguishing it from super PACs which must disclose their income sources but can electioneer more aggressively.

The Federal Election Commission prohibits campaigns from working with outside groups where a tangible dollar amount is tied to back-and-forth communications.

Money spent to buy the duck costume, pay staff to wear it, and publicize each campaign stunt would be considered an illegal campaign contribution to Hillary For America.

“The connection between Creamer, President Obama and Hillary Clinton is undeniable as are the campaign law violations,” O’Keefe said. “If it looks like a duck, if it talks like a duck, and if it walks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. They broke the law.”

Why Sanders Hopes WikiLeaks Doesn't Hack His Staff's Emails

Bernie Sanders said he has no right to criticize Hillary Clinton's campaign for mocking him in newly released WikiLeaks emails. Why? Because his staff's emails are probably just as bad.

“Trust me, if they went into our emails — I suppose which may happen, who knows — I’m sure there would be statements that would be less than flattering about, you know, the Clinton staff,” Sanders told The Washington Post in an interview published Monday.

In WikiLeaks' newest email dump, the media discovered that Clinton staffers called Sanders a "doofus" in the midst of their Democratic primary fight. Clinton campaign chair John Podesta also dismissed Sanders' health care plan, arguing it was authored in a "leftie alternative universe." 

Oh, and that it "sucks."

Clinton herself has been caught writing off Sanders followers as basement dwellers who were easily brainwashed by Sanders' lofty proposals.

The Vermont senator is turning his cheek to these revelations, simply noting, "that's what happens in campaigns." Yet, the months long fight against Clinton in the Democratic primary proves the animosity between the two camps goes beyond the campaign trail. The election has exposed Sanders and Clinton's major differences, for instance, on war and Wall Street. The Vermont senator hammered Clinton repeatedly for her vote for the war in Iraq, often using it to question her judgment. He also, as we've highlighted several times on Monday after she received praise from Goldman Sachs, criticized her for her cozy connection with Wall Street. You can see why his eventual endorsement of Clinton confused his progressive followers. 

One thing's for sure: WikiLeaks has made those joint Clinton-Sanders bus rides a whole lot more awkward.

Stronger Together.

Watch: Legendary Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden Joins Trump

Republican nominee Donald Trump has gained the support of yet another legendary college sports figure.  

Bobby Bowden, coach of the  Florida State Seminoles football team from the 1976 to 2009, is a two-time national champion and 12-time ACC champion.

 "I love his slogan ... I love what he said about making America great again," said Bowden, who rallied supporters in Tampa, Florida. Bowden said his wife had already voted for Trump and that his daughters will, too.

Bowden is not the only legend in college sports to have endorsed Trump. Coach Bobby Knight of the Indiana Hoosiers basketball program endorsed the candidate just days before the Indiana primary, a move in which many said influenced the election results.  Two weeks before hand, Ted Cruz led Donald Trump by 16 points in the state.  

Trump Campaign Launches Nightly Facebook Show

The Donald Trump campaign launched a nightly Facebook Live show Monday night which will provide campaign footage for his supporters, and feature interviews with his campaign surrogates. It will go live every night until November 8.

The campaign will air the program at 6:30 p.m. from Trump Tower in New York City. The half-hour coverage will go live right before Trump’s 7 p.m. rallies, Trump’s advisers Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims told Politico. The show will also include conservative pundit from The Blaze Tomi Lahren.

“This is a HISTORIC movement. Together, we will once again make a government by, for, and of the people! Help us close out the final weeks of this campaign strong and WIN,” Trump wrote in a Facebook post that also include a link to a fundraising page.

His campaign has denied this new Facebook telecast is a preview of the rumored "Trump TV" should he lose the election.

The first Facebook video follows Trump during his campaign rally in Tampa, Florida and features interviews with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and the RNC's Sean Spicer. Watch below.

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty To Helping Friend Attempt To Join ISIS

A Virginia cab driver has pled guilty to helping his friend join ISIS back in January.

Mahmoud Elhassan, 26, drove Joseph Farrokh, 29, to a rest stop prior to his flight to Syria, before driving back to northern Virginia. Elhassan was arrested at a mall after Farrokh was arrested at the airport, and he was charged with attempting to help a terrorist group as well as giving false statements to the FBI. The pair was arrested after an FBI informant alerted authorities about Farrokh's plans to join ISIS.

Elhassan insists that he himself was not planning on traveling abroad and joining ISIS.

From the Washington Post:

Elhassan, 26, pleaded guilty Monday morning to attempting to help a terrorist group and giving false statements to the FBI. He admitted that he introduced Farrokh to the informant at Farrokh’s wedding last fall and spoke numerous times about ways to get to Syria. He also lied to investigators, claiming that his friend had flown out of Dulles International Airport to attend a funeral in California.

He may yet go to trial on a charge of conspiracy to provide material support. He says that he himself never tried to go abroad.

Farrokh was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison earlier this year. He was reportedly obsessed with the idea of being a martyr in Syria, and turned to Islam while recovering from an opioid addiction.

Five other people in Northern Virginia have been charged with attempting to aid or join ISIS.

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in Tampa

GOP Lawmakers Slam Pentagon For Demanding Soldiers Repay Bonuses

Two California lawmakers had harsh words for the Pentagon Monday over the effort to recoup bonuses that were improperly given to soldiers to reenlist a decade ago.

The bonuses, which were supposed to be for soldiers in high-demand assignments, were given during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than 10,000 servicemen in order to meet recruitment goals.

But lawmakers say the Pentagon’s move to recover roughly $20 million is “disgraceful” and “insulting.”

In a letter written to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a former Marine and member of the House Armed Services Committee, said “even the simple request of asking soldiers to repay money contingent on reenlistment is disgraceful and insulting." 

"In fact, I find it difficult to believe that either you or your leadership team was aware that such a boneheaded decision was made to demand repayment — and I ask that you utilize your authority to influence a solution, including a possible legislative fix if determined necessary, that's in the best interest of the individuals and families impacted," he added.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) echoed his remarks, saying the effort to make soldiers pay back the bonuses is both “immoral” and “extremely troubling.”

"The Department of Defense should immediately halt the retrieval of these debts, and when Congress returns in November, I will insist this issue be permanently resolved with language in the National Defense Authorization Act awaiting final passage in both Chambers," Issa wrote in a letter to Carter on Monday. 

"It is unconscionable that the burden of bureaucratic malfeasance and corruption over a decade ago is being borne by heroes who stepped forward, put themselves in harm’s way and fought to keep our nation safe. Please immediately inform our offices, in addition to the appropriate Congressional committees of jurisdiction, of the steps you will be taking to promptly fix this problem -- and in a way that makes whole every one of these veterans," he wrote.

Issa also asked the chairmen of the Armed Services Committees to include a provision in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to put a stop to the effort to recoup the money.

Here's People's Best Efforts To #DescribeTheElectionInAGif

Over the weekend, the hashtag #DescribeTheElectionInAGif trended as people sought to condense the 20-month campaign into a short animated image. 

Here are some of the best, funniest, and most accurate examples:

And, of course:

Days After Obama's Glowing Review, Obamacare Premiums to Rise Almost 25 Percent

Some lovely news on a Monday afternoon. The damage done by Obamacare is about to get 25 percent worse. New government data released on Monday shows that customers under the silver plan, the most popular plan under the Affordable Care Act, are going to suffer financially.

The benchmark silver plan -- upon which federal subsidies are based -- will cost an average of $296 a month next year. That figure is based on prices for a 27-year-old enrollee in the 39 states that use the federal exchange, plus the four states and Washington D.C. that have their own exchanges.

Guy previewed this expensive outcome last week.

As CNN Money notes, insurers are also running away from ACA as fast as they can, with a handful of states only offering one insurer in the federal exchange.

The number of carriers will drop to 228 next year in the federal exchange and selected states, down from 298 in 2016. Some 21% of consumers returning to the exchanges will only have one carrier to chose from, though that insurer will likely offer multiple plan choices.

This unfortunate news comes just a few days after Obama's A+ review of his signature legislation on Friday. Obamacare was so great, he said, that many Americans don't even know they're benefitting from it.

He was more accurate when he made the following comparison.

New York Rejects Free Market Innovation, Passes Law Killing Airbnb

Governor Andrew Cuomo once again reminded us that liberal government means a government that rejects innovation in the marketplace. After complaints from union groups and hoteliers, the liberal governor signed a law placing a fine of up to $7,500 on anyone who uses a home sharing site to advertise a short-term rental apartment - essentially killing the operation of Airbnb.

The reasoning for the legislation is based on debunked myths purported by hotel groups. They claim Airbnb is fostering an environment where real estate owners can potentially buy up entire properties and then operate “illegal hotels” by using room-sharing services.

The problem with this argument is that it simply isn’t true - and couldn’t be according to Airbnb’s own concessions to New York legislators. Over 95 percent of New York Airbnb hosts sharing their whole home for rent advertise no more than one to share. On top of that, Airbnb agreed to enact a rule forcing hosts to advertise only one property for rent.

That wasn’t good enough for Democratic constituencies, thus it wasn’t enough for New York politicians.

Proponents of the legislation claim the law protects the “little guy” and will stop Airbnb from purportedly raising living costs. A large swath of Airbnb hosts are young professionals and millennials who use the sharing service to help them with rent and deal with the high costs of living that comes with residing in New York City. Go figure.

The past few years we have seen a wave of sharing services materialize onto the international stage. It’s been described as a new wave of market innovation the world sees every generation as capitalism continues to bring new ideas and products to the forefront.

The sharing economy is just another subset of our 21st century economy. Instead of embracing the benefits of new ideas, self-described “progressives” are once again showing they are far from heralding progress.

Airbnb isn’t sitting on its hands. They are already suing to block the new law.

Democratic Operative: I Didn't Watch The O'Keefe Tapes, But I'm Confident We Don't Have People Committing Illegal Acts

On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week, host (and former Clinton operative) George Stephanopoulos brought up the latest investigation conducted by James O’ Keefe’s Project Veritas group that shows Democratic operatives plotting violence at Trump rallies, voter fraud schemes, and creating hubs of communication for pro-Clinton super PACs.

Clinton campaign pollster and adviser Joel Benenson was on the panel and admitted that he hasn’t seen the tapes of O’Keefe’s yearlong investigation into this dark web of operatives within the progressive Left, but he’s confident that their people aren’t doing anything illegal.

“Both of those operatives [Bob Creamer and Scott Foval] have now resigned, and they did receive money from the DNC; they were sub-contractors. Isn’t this exactly the kind of behavior you all have been complaining about?"

Benenson was ready for his talking points:

Well, it’s a video of somebody [O’Keefe] who has a track record of doctoring videos. These people have resigned, whether they were talking to him on camera, or whether there was some snippet there that’s been manipulated and taken out of context, I don’t know. It’s actually the first time I’ve seen the video, George.

Benenson then said it was an act of desperation for Republicans to focus on this and not the words of Donald Trump, who he noted has egged on violent acts at his rallies in the past. Well, so did Vice President Joe Biden, who said he wished he could go back to his high school days so he could beat up Trump for his lewd remarks about women. Ladies, where would you be without creepy Joe Biden wishing he could time travel and commit acts of violence on your behalf.

Yet, back to This Week, Stephanopoulos asked Benenson, “Are you confident that you don’t have other operatives out there doing exactly the same thing?”

“I’m pretty confident. I mean, I think as I said, we’re talking about a guy who has a track record of doctoring videos, these people resigned, as you said—and if this was happening day-in and day-out, we would know about it,” replied Benenson before reiterating how Trump incites violence at his rallies.

It’s clear that Benenson hasn’t seen the videos. Did you ever ask yourself why these two guys resigned, Benenson? If he had, he would know that Veritas caught how Clinton operatives plotted to shut down Trump’s Chicago rally, which was successful. He would see that Scott Foval and others plotted to instigate the violence at these rallies in order to put the Trump campaign in a negative light with the national media. And now, we have new footage showing that Hillary Clinton was directly involved in the Donald Duck operation, where activists dressed as a duck to prod Trump for not releasing his taxes at campaign events. It began at the DNC, but it was then handed over to Americans United For Change, which Foval and Creamer both work for, to get “ducks on the ground.” The expenditures were handled by AUFC, but they were getting their orders from the Clinton campaign. As O’Keefe noted, this is illegal coordination between a presidential campaign and a super PAC, Americans United For Change. But then, Benenson probably knew what was going on, as Lady Macbeth hatched this operation.

Sen. Crapo Says He's Voting for Trump After All

After first pulling his endorsement for the Republican nominee, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is now saying that he'll be voting for Donald Trump in the general election. Crapo rescinded his endorsement after audio of Trump making crude comments was released in mid-October.

According to Crapo, it is now necessary to vote for Trump to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president and appointing justices to the Supreme Court.

Crapo had previously called on Trump to drop out of the race and pass on the nomination to his running mate, Mike Pence.

No, That Podesta/Wikileaks Email Doesn't Prove Democrats Are Rigging Media Polls

This story started making the rounds on social media over the weekend, eventually catching fire due to Trumpworld's desperation to latch onto any piece of "evidence" -- no matter how embarrassingly ludicrous -- that the election is "rigged." (Reminder: The media turned exceedingly negative on Trump after the primaries, and the Clinton email investigation was highly questionable, but the electoral process itself is above-board and widely untainted). This latest conspiracy theory is that a Wikileaks-hacked email from John Podesta "proves" that Hillary's campaign is colluding with the mainstream media to rig the polls to make it appear as though Trump is losing. Trump himself appeared to amplify the bogus storyline on Twitter, because of course he did:

Here's what "the the Trump" is referring to:

See? They're deliberately oversampling Democrats to make it look like Trump is losing!  Or not.  The only thing that's remotely accurate about any of this is that Podesta used the word "oversamples," and mentioned "media polling" in the email.  But there's less to this supposed 'gotcha' than meets the eye.  Much less.  First of all, oversampling is an long-established polling practice with a very specific definition, described here by Pew Research (via Bradd Jaffy):

For some surveys, it is important to ensure that there are enough members of a certain subgroup in the population so that more reliable estimates can be reported for that group. To do this, we oversample members of the subgroup by selecting more people from this group than would typically be done if everyone in the sample had an equal chance of being selected. Because the margin of sampling error is related to the size of the sample, increasing the sample size for a particular subgroup through the use of oversampling allows for estimates to be made with a smaller margin of error. A survey that includes an oversample weights the results so that members in the oversampled group are weighted to their actual proportion in the population; this allows for the overall survey results to represent both the national population and the oversampled subgroup.

Click through for an explanation of how this methodology applies to African Americans, a subgroup Pew uses to illustrate how oversampling works. There is nothing controversial here. Oh, and Podesta's email was sent in January...of 2008. So his brief missive on polling comes from two presidential cycles ago, during the Democratic primary.  Bottom line: Even a cursory inspection reveals that this isn't what some people think it looks like.  If you're jonesing for a "the polls are wrong" argument, the Kentucky case study is probably your best bet at this stage.  I'll leave you with Trump's campaign manager conceding the obvious -- "we are behind:"

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in St. Augustine

Hillary Thanks Warren For Reining in Wall Street After Goldman Sachs Basically Endorses Her

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) used Donald Trump's insults to her own advantage on Monday. At a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in New Hampshire, Warren introduced the Democratic nominee with a message: "Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote." Her remarks were a play on Trump's insult that Clinton was a "nasty woman" at their third presidential debate last week.

Clinton thanked Warren for the introduction, before acknowledging the Massachusetts senator's fight against powerful banks.

"She is going to make sure Wall Street never wrecks Main Street again," Clinton said.

Clinton's comments come a day after Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he "engages" with Clinton and is supportive of her in this year's election.

Yet, this cozy relationship with Goldman Sachs did not come up in conversation in New Hampshire. Clinton simply told the crowd she is dedicated to changing the economy to make it "fairer for everyone."

For Clinton to show her face with Warren, a progressive hero, while she receives praise from Wall Street and refuses to release her transcripts from her Wall Street speeches, is rich.