Perfect Timing: Clinton State Department Calendar Won't Be Fully Released Until After The Election

So, Hillary Clinton's State Department calendar won’t be fully released until after the election. The Associated Press reported on this development yesterday. They added that about half of the calendar has been released in accordance with a federal court order. On August 23, AP wrote that more than half of the people Hillary met with outside of government, while serving as secretary of state, were Clinton Foundation donors. It rehashed the ethics allegations regarding cash for access that have plagued the Clinton Foundation and the former first lady's presidential campaign.

The nonprofit has been criticized for being a place for the wealthy and well connected to cash in their favors with the power couple, usually after offering a sizable donation to their nonprofit. Now, it seems as if Team Hillary has dodged a bullet regarding more potential allegations of ethically questionable rendezvous between the former secretary of state and donors until December 30:

The AP's lawyers late Friday formally asked the State Department to hasten that effort so that the department could provide all Clinton's minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The agency did not immediately respond.

The schedules drew new attention this week after the AP analyzed the ones released so far. The news agency found that more than half the people outside the government who met or spoke by telephone with Clinton while she was secretary of state had given money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. The AP's analysis focused on people with private interests and excluded her meetings or calls with U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives.

The AP's reporting was based on official calendars covering Clinton's entire term plus the more-detailed daily schedules covering roughly half her time as secretary of state. The AP first asked for Clinton's calendars in 2010 and again in 2013. It then sued the State Department in federal court to obtain the detailed schedules, and the department so far has provided about half of them under court order.

[…]

The State Department is now estimating there are about 2,700 pages of schedules left. Under its process, it is reviewing and censoring them page-by-page to remove personal details such as private phone numbers or email addresses. In some cases it has censored names of people who met privately with Clinton or the subjects they discussed.

It’s a snowball effect that needed to be stopped for the Clinton campaign. These apparent ethical questions between Clinton, the Foundation, her time at State, and donors appears to be impacting her with voters concerning trust, which might explain why she hasn't been able to deliver deathblows to Donald Trump. Jonathan Swan of the The Hill also listed seven ways where the Clinton Foundation has failed to meet its benchmarks concerning transparency. Here’s a summary:

  1. The Clinton Health Access Initiative failed to disclose its donors on a yearly basis.
  2. The Health Access Initiative also didn’t submit foreign donations for State Department review
  3. Remember that $500,000 donation from the Algerian government? That wasn’t disclosed either.
  4. The rather disconcerting $2.35 million donation from the chairman of Uranium One who was negotiating a change in ownership with the Russian state corporation Rosatom. It included the Russians taking ownership of uranium mining sites in the U.S. Given the strategic interest, Clinton’s State Department had to be one of the government agencies to sign off on the sale, which they did. Bill got $500,000 from a Russian bank selling Uranium One stock options as well.
  5. The Clinton Foundation was late disclosing the millions the power couple made in speaking fees.
  6. They haven’t disclosed how much money was transferred from a Canadian charity
  7. Oh, and the exact donor amounts, and dates of when those donations were made, remain unknown.

So, yeah, if I were a Clinton operative, I wouldn’t want any more Clinton Foundation/State Department scheduling conflicts falling into the hands of the press…until after the election.

NJ Governor Wants To Make State ‘Shall Issue’ On Concealed Carry Permits

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t been the strongest Second Amendment supporter. In fact, some of his positions have been terrible. During his brief 2016 presidential campaign, he told The Des Moines Register that he supports denying gun purchases to those on terror watch lists. He signed a state-based law back in 2013. It sounds fine, until you see that it really deprives innocent Americans of their gun rights without due process. These lists are secretive, flawed, and unconstitutional. They should not be used as a compliment to our National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). After all, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and the last Sen. Ted Kennedy were on these lists. They would be deprived of their Second Amendment rights, but I digress.

With Christie out of the presidential game, and nixed at being chosen as Trump’s vice presidential candidate, the governor is preparing for his swan song. It appears that part of that act is to try and make New Jersey more gun-friendly by turning it into a “shall issue” state and vetoing a slate of gun control bills from the legislature (via NJ.com):

The right to own a gun is a fundamental one enumerated in the Constitution," Christie said in a statement. "I continue to oppose the relentless campaign by the Democratic legislature to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales."

Christie said he wants to make New Jersey a "shall-issue" state for concealed carry firearms, where authorities who issue gun licenses grant them in most cases.

One of the bills Christie conditionally voted (S2165/A3689) was a companion piece to a resolution lawmakers passed in June to stop regulations the governor's administration introduced to make it easier for residents to get concealed carry permits in the state

The bill sought to more strictly define the "justifiable need" residents must show to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in New Jersey.

Under the nixed bill, those applying for a permit would have to demonstrate "the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry."

Also, Christie sent back a bill to the Legislature that its sponsors said would have spurred development of personalized handguns.

The bill (A1426) would have loosened an existing state law that is said to have stifled the exact thing it was designed to encourage: so-called smart guns. Existing law requires that only personalized handguns be offered for sale three years after they are properly vetted and on the market. The aim of the law was to stem accidental shootings and "child proof" the weapons.

Bill sponsors hoped the revised mandate requiring only that retailers offer at least one model for sale would clear the way for development of smart guns.

Of course, NJ Democrats slammed Christie for pandering to gun rights groups. Yet, if there’s any criticism on the Right, it’s that this is a hopeless crusade aimed at trying to rebuild his conservative bona fides before he’s shown the exit. It’s window dressing. There’s no way New Jersey liberals are going to back his bid to loosen the state’s horrendous gun laws. It’s just not going to happen. There’s no way enough Democrats are going to risk their credibility with their voters over the lame duck governor. On the Right, why even take this little PR stunt seriously for a man who literally torpedoed his own integrity by throwing his lot in with Donald Trump. Christie had been very critical of Trump in the primaries. His endorsement was self-serving, and this gun push is no different.

Meet Comic Book Legend Chuck Dixon (Adapted “Clinton Cash: Graphic Novel”)

Chuck Dixon is the lead adapter of the new #1 bestselling graphic novel in the country, Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel, based on Peter Schweizer’sbestselling Clinton Cash (2015) book that is credited for alerting the public about The Clinton Foundation “Pay-for-Play” scandal. Dixon is a well-known comic book writer and artist and did groundbreaking work with popular comic characters including Batman and The Punisher.

Dixon is also credited for creating the Batman nemesis character Bane, who was featured in the third Christopher Nolan Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

In the interview, Dixon discusses how he went from writing about Batman to the Clintons, the state of comic books, movies, and TV shows in the country, and how the PC culture is making comic books more political and incendiary

Listen to our exclusive author interview with Chuck Dixon below!

Nosedive: Clinton Drops Seven Points In Three Days

When you combine Hillary Clinton’s lack of appeal with her alleged ethically questionable dealings regarding paid access at the Clinton Foundation, you’re going to take a hit in the polls. In fact, in the past three days, Clinton has dropped seven points against Donald Trump. Nationally, she still leads by five, but that’s still within striking distance of the Republican nominee. That says more about her than Trump.

Both are widely unpopular standard bearers for their respective political parties, but Clinton just seems incapable of breaking 50 percent. There is some silver linings for the Clinton campaign. They’re still leading in key swing states. And if the election were held today, she would handily cobble together enough electoral votes to win. Still, it shows that Hillary’s standing in the polls might be very tenuous, with one bad document dump away from massive erosion in support (via The Hill):

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has narrowed to 5 points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday.

Clinton, the Democratic nominee, registers 41 percent support among likely voters, while Trump, her GOP counterpart, claims 36 percent. Twenty-three percent said they wouldn’t vote or would pick another candidate.

The same poll on Tuesday showed Clinton leading by 12 points. She was up by 8 points in last Friday's Reuters/Ipsos poll.

For Trump, this is good news. It shows that the possible ethics issues that surround the Clintons like hungry sharks resonates with American voters. While it’s good that Trump has been hammering them over the shady dealings of their family foundation, it's what he should’ve been doing for months. He should focus his attacks here. Don’t attack Gold Star families. Enough with the attacks on a judge’s ethnicity—and saying that he can’t do his job effectively because of it.

Just focus on attacking Clinton, the fact that voters don’t trust her, and her dismal record in the foreign policy department. Say how this will be a third Obama term, but one that will be marked with an all-out assault on our Second Amendment rights. Hit her on trade. There’s plenty of ammunition to use against Hillary Clinton. And I would suggest setting up extended campaign tours through Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri. Yes, there’s been a nosedive for Clinton in the national polls, but things are tight in some traditionally Republican states. It’s what you get with a weak candidate, though Trump is the Right’s best chance of defeating Hillary in November.

No Gov. Rauner, More Gun Control Won’t Help In Combating Chicago’s Shooting Plague

It happened again. It was another bloody weekend for Chicago. The figures were in on August 22; seven dead, with another 47 wounded in shooting across the city. On August 23, four people were killed with another 13 wounded in shootings. Since Thursday morning, one person is dead, with 10 others wounded. This butcher’s bill is bound to go higher as we approach Sunday evening. So, of course, the lawmakers in Illinois think that what Chicago needs is more gun control. Right now, the Windy City is on track to have a 500-homicide year (via CNN):

Gov. Bruce Rauner approved a law on Tuesday that imposes a stiff penalty on anyone without a gun-owner identification card who brings a gun into the state of Illinois to sell.

That crime is now a felony that carries a prison sentence of four to 20 years, or up to 30 years for repeat offenders, according to a spokeswoman for Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, one of the bill's sponsors.

Before this new law was passed, gun owners caught for the first time without the proper ID were charged with a misdemeanor and got less than a year. Repeat offenders would get up to 5 years.

The governor and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin made it clear that the law is aimed at reducing crime in Chicago. Durkin said that 425 people have been murdered with guns in Chicago so far this year, and another 2,320 have been wounded. The guns in about 60% of those crimes were purchased out of state, he said.

The law is meant to cut down on straw purchasers who buy guns in states with loose laws and drive them into cities with tough gun control laws, like Chicago and New York, for resale. This flow of guns is known as the Iron Pipeline.

Chicago already is one of the most anti-gun cities in the country. The city’s stringent gun control laws proved to be (shocker) ineffective against gang violence and curbing the horrific string of shootings that plague the city. More penalties for gun owner identification cards, a law that is already absurd since we shouldn’t need ID to exercise our constitutional rights, isn’t going to curb anything. Criminals are still going to get their guns. Innocent people will still die. And liberals are going to look up at the sky and wonder why. Gun control doesn’t work. Expanding gun rights, especially concealed carry rights, have an impact in deterring crime. Maybe Chicago can loosen up in their permit process? That’s a tall order. Nothing will change unless this Democratic bastion is broken up—and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Warning: Italian General Calls for European Army After Brexit

According to one retired Italian general, the years of Great Britain "sabotaging" any attempt to form a united European army are over after the decision to leave the European Union in June.  

Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, former head of the Italian general staff ,was one of four European military officials who formed a working group in 1999 to map out a European army, a plan known as the Helsinki Headline Goal. 

He explained to Defense News about the years of frustration trying to bring British leaders on board with the idea.

“The UK always opposed funding increases, and three quarters of the agency’s budget is absorbed by salaries, leaving it as a body whose scope is survival,” he said. “It was clear that after its early enthusiasm, UK sentiment for EU defense cooled.” 

But now, Camporini is ready to take the next step and is looking for potential members.

“The British attitude was an excuse for other — some people hid behind the UK. Now the excuse is no longer there; who is ready to go forward? I believe the Germans are willing, although I have doubts about France because of its nuclear deterrent. Will that be shared? It is a very delicate political issue.”

Pressure for a united European army has increased over the past few weeks.  Hungary's prime minister urged the European Union on Friday to make security a priority and build an army of its own.

"We must give priority to security and so let's start setting up a joint European army," Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.

Dem Rep: Zika Threat May Help Rid Abortion Stigma

The Zika virus, which broke out in South America and eventually made its way to Miami, Florida and elsewhere in the United States, is especially dangerous for women who are pregnant, as it can cause children to be born with a disorder called microcephaly. Yet, one Democrat has insensitively suggested that the virus may help erase the stigma of late-term abortion.

“Maybe the Zika epidemic and its implications for pregnant women will help us shine a light on the exactly tragic situation in which you have these abortions,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chairman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.

When asked if they support abortions after 20 weeks, most Americans say no. Yet, with the threat of Zika, some wonder whether the polls are likely to change. 

Some of Degette’s colleagues are to blame for the stonewalling of important anti-Zika funding earlier this summer. Senate Democrats blocked the GOP-led bill that would have provided $1.1 billion to the cause because it prevented access to contraception for women who may have been affected by the virus.

The pro-life movement has acknowledged Zika is a tragedy, but it doesn't change how they feel about every unborn baby's right to life. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged mothers infected with the virus to choose life. Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life, agrees.

“I would certainly hope that our country would not turn to the mindset that we kill a baby because there is or may be a disability,” she said. “This isn’t going to change anything that we’re doing.”

Social Justice Warriors Predictably Freak Out Over University Of Chicago's 'No Safe Space' Policy

Christine wrote about this yesterday, but the administrators at the University of Chicago are my new heroes. They straight up told the class of 2020 that there will be no safe spaces, no trigger warnings, no uninviting of speakers because some people are averse to diverse opinions. It’s a refreshing sign to see this higher education institution disembowel the political correctness culture in their sphere, though it has infested our college campuses. Well, to no one’s surprise, the social justice warriors’ blood pressure went through the roof when the news broke. Emily Zanotti of Heat Street had more on these precious liberals losing their hair over UoC declaring that they’re for academic freedom. What horrible people, right?

One student told DNA Info that the administration was asking students to “check their compassion and their experiences at the door.” Another, the head of the campus sexual assault survivors network, said that this was simply the latest failure by the college to cater to interest groups.

“The administration has a huge problem with transparency, and they have been slow to address issues related to sexual violence, disability injustice, police discrimination and many more,” she said.

Vox posted an op-ed accusing the college of “exercising power” over its students, calling trigger warnings “pedagogical imperatives.” The piece also defended students who shouted down or ousted controversial speakers from other campuses, saying that they “challenge” academic professors and “hold us accountable” for their institutional biases.

The New Republic whined that the University of Chicago was “attacking academic freedom” by telling students to think more critically about shutting down speakers and shutting off conversation.

Zanotti also found some tremendous tweets from this meltdown:

Well, a) yes, you have the right to be offensive; b) It’s not the Milton Friedman Institute For Screwing The Third World; it’s the Hugo Chavez Institute—and they’ve thoroughly and brutally screwed over Venezuela; c) it’s conservatives that have been the victims of your precious political correctness agenda, so dear wee lads—they're going to be able to express themselves without having the fear of torches and pitchforks showing up outside their dormitory.

I hope the university of Chicago stands their ground. I hope they don’t cave, and I hope other liberal institutions smash this incorrigible anti-American (and anti-intellectual), progressive agenda to dust. Liberals and conservatives can express themselves without fear of harassment. That’s not controversial. The whole world thinks your safe space nonsense is a joke. Moreover, the fact that you feel like a no safe space policy is going to create a scene akin to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is also utterly laughable.

Yes, liberals will remain the dominant force on campus, or at least until the alumni start paying taxes and get jobs, but conservative at UoC can feel somewhat better I guess that an administration won’t be kowtowing to a rather vicious anti-free speech agenda.

I wish you well in your studies, freshman. 

Maine Governor Apologizes After Leaving Profanity-Laced Voicemail

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has apologized after leaving a profanity-laced voicemail to State Representative Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook).

LePage, who said things that aren't exactly suitable for publication on this website, also said he wished he could duel Gattine.

The governor apologized for his actions and said that he was not happy with being called a racist, and decided to use the worst possible language to express his displeasure.

Get Your Tissues: Little Boy Sent to School With Army of Hugs After Police Officer Father Was Killed on Duty

I don't have the details about where this amazing act of kindness took place, but it will bring tears to your eyes. 

For the first time, a police officer killed in the line of duty this year didn't have the chance to send his little boy off to school. His fellow officers weren't going to let that little boy start school alone and a dozen of them showed up on the first day of school this week to send him off to a new year with an "army of hugs."

Get your tissues:

Illinois Considering New Law Concerning Pokemon Go

Illinois is considering "Pidgey's Law," which would fine developers of location-based games who do not remove virtual sites from their games when requested. "Pidgey's Law," which is named after a very common Pokemon found nearly everywhere throughout the game, was proposed after a Pokemon Go developer Niantic placed a Pokestop at the Loyola Dunes Restoration Site. The Pokestop's presence has resulted in more people visiting the area, which puts endangered wildlife at risk. Despite numerous requests to remove the Pokestop from the game, nothing has happened just yet.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Cassidy said a couple hundred requests to have the Loyola Dunes Pokéstop removed have been filed in the last month, including requests from her office, the Chicago Park District, members of the Loyola Dunes Restoration Group and concerned Pokémon Go players. But they say Niantic has yet to act on any of those requests.

Phillip Davis, a member of the Loyola Dunes Restoration group who has filed several of those requests, said he is frustrated that he has not been able to talk to Niantic about the Pokéstop. But he is hopeful that the legislation could spark action.

“It’s hard to imagine that actual legislation like this won’t get the attention of people at Niantic and put them in a position to do something,” he said.

Niantic offers a form to request for a Pokestop to be removed if the location is deemed inappropriate. Pokemon Go used data from the game Ingress to create the various Pokestops and gyms, which is how locations such as the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Memorial and individual tombstones wound up as locations in the game. People have also had their personal homes be designated as a gym or Pokestop, causing minor annoyance.

While I wrote the other day about how Milwaukee County is attempting to get a permit from Niantic, this is a little different. The Pokestop is located in an area that isn't normally trafficked by people. If they've asked for the Pokestop to be removed, it should be removed.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Resigns His Parliament Seat

It was a quiet ending for Stephen Harper. After living a life of politics for forty years in Canada, the former prime minister resigned his Calgary House of Commons seat via social media on Friday. This concludes the political career of a Conservative Party member who served as prime minister of Canada for nearly a decade.

Harper’s party lost the majority to the Liberal Party in last October’s election. Liberal candidates won 184 seats to the Conservative’s 99 seats – a decisive victory and well beyond the 170 needed to be in the majority.

In the wake of Harper’s loss, Justin Trudeau has since become the new prime minister of Canada. Unfortunately, the 44 year old PM seems to have people’s attention because of his looks more than his actual policy positions. He has become an idolized figure within the American media.

Since transitioning into the opposition party, Harper had adopted a very low profile – only appearing in the House of Commons for votes. It was long expected he would leave his seat after the election loss. Harper had already stepped down from his leadership position in the Conservative Party, but wanted to be present as his party moved into opposition status.

His political career may be over, but Stephen Harper has big plans in mind for the future. He will be entering the private sector once he launches his global consulting business.

Family Feud: Sarah Palin Warns Trump Against "Wishy-Washy" Immigration Stance

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is warning GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who she endorsed during the primary, against changing his position on illegal immigration. Trump said earlier this week he is "softening" his stance, while bolstering calls for a border wall. 

"Trump didn't garner a lot of enthusiastic support by being soft on anything," Palin said on The O'Reilly Factor Thursday. "Donald Trump understands that enforcing the laws and building that wall are paramount to what the will of the people is – and thank God he's still preaching that because if he were not, then there would be a huge erosion of support."

"I would prefer politicians to not campaign one way and then govern another way. We want to know that they are candid and sincere in the policies that they are proposing as candidates and then once they are in that administration that they would stick to it," she said. 

Palin gave similar sentiments to the Wall Street Journal

“If Mr. Trump were to go down a path of wishy-washy positions taken on things that the core foundation of his support has so appreciated, and that is respecting our Constitution and respecting law and order in America, then, yeah, there would be massive disappointment,” she said.

Earlier this week Trump supporter Ann Coulter, who dedicated her latest book entirely to him, took to Twitter to express her disappointment in a potential shift on immigration and told MSNBC's Chris Matthews her book tour may be the "shortest ever."

Townhall Sits Down With John Stossel Ahead of Libertarian Town Hall

Fox Business Network's John Stossel will be moderating a Libertarian town hall on Friday with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld. Townhall caught up with Stossel to ask what viewers can expect from the event, as well as the potential for the Libertarian ticket to gain momentum in such a unique election year. Does he think Johnson can make history and actually reach the presidential debate stage?

Stossel: Libertarian Town Hall will air on Fox Business Network Friday at 9PM/ET

TH: There's a lot of stigma surrounding the Libertarian ticket. Is it unfair to call a third party candidate a "spoiler?”

Stossel: Maybe not. But so what if Libertarians prove to be a “spoiler", given that the Democratic candidate is a liar who wants to crush innovation and micro-manage our lives and the Republican nominee is an irresponsible bully. Recent polls shows adding Johnson as a choice pulls voters away from Clinton and Trump equally. How can anyone be a “spoiler” when both Clinton and Trump are so unpopular. What would they be spoiling?

TH: Gov. Johnson has said, "The only opportunity to win is to actually be in the presidential debates." In this unique election, with the unpopularity of Trump and Clinton, are his chances of getting to the podium better than ever?

Stossel: They should be. But the Debate Commission is controlled by Republicans and Democrats. They don’t want competition any more than the teachers’ unions do.

ElectionBettingOdds.com – which shows where the smart money is – says Johnson has about a 20 percent chance of getting in the debate.

TH: If the Libertarian ticket fails to make any of the debates, does Gov. Johnson have a plan B to reach voters en masse?

Stossel: I don’t know. Johnson has said, “the first Presidential debate is projected to have more viewership than the Super Bowl. So there’s no chance of us winning without being in that game.”

TH: Gov. Johnson has recently claimed this election to be the “end” of the Republican Party. Do you believe this to be true?

Stossel: No. But it’s in trouble.

TH: You have been heralding libertarianism for quite some time now. Do you believe libertarian principles would be better promoted through the Libertarian Party, which has yet to make any real ballot box wins? Or would libertarians be better off trying to make the Republican Party more libertarian – utilizing the tools of a main political party?

Stossel: Probably the latter. But why just the Republican party? Let’s educate Democrats on economics and make the Dem party more libertarian!

TH: Most agree Libertarians align with conservatives on fiscal issues and side with liberals on social issues. However, Libertarians seem to find themselves a pariah when it comes to foreign policy. They are routinely referred to as “isolationists.” Is this an unfair assessment?

Stossel: Libertarians are not “isolationists.” We want to interact with the world, trade with the world, influence the world by spreading the best of our culture and taking the best of theirs. We just don’t want to try to control the world.

TH: Explain the makeup of Friday’s town hall audience - will these be independent voters?

Stossel: Probably. We just post an invite on my Facebook and Twitter page, so they’re probably fans of mine.

TH: Will there be a particular theme? Is any topic off limits?

Stossel: Themes will be the economy, social issues, war and defense, the role of government. The only thing off-limits is a topic I find too boring for TV.

The Race War...Being Waged By Two White People

No, I’m not talking about a race war in the Charles Manson sense, but it’s more than entertaining, albeit also somewhat terrifying, that the latest salvos in the Trump/Clinton war will be who said what alleged racist statement and where. It’s going to be a few days of Trump said this, or Clinton said that, as both camps are vying to declare the other the racist of the year. Hence, why this game of “he said, she said” is probably going to get extraordinarily nasty since neither side wants to be pegged as a racist.

Clinton can’t let that narrative settle in since she needs to consolidate as much Democratic support as she can. While her strength with older black voters is strong, younger blacks seem slightly more hesitant in embracing the former first lady, namely due to her support for her husband’s 1994 crime bill. For Trump, besides the horrible optics of being labeled a racist, he doesn’t take kindly to attacks, as we’ve seen, especially ones where he’s labeled a bigot, racist, misogynist, or xenophobic. He’s not going to crawl away into some hole.

Trump has already slammed Clinton for using racist undertones in her support for the 1994 crime bill. He has hit Clinton for acting the same way during her 2008 campaign against then-Sen. Barack Obama.

On the other side, Clinton is doling out ads where she connects Trump to the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. She also slammed the Republican nominee and his allies on the “alt-right” (alternative right), which do espouse racist views. Does that make him the candidate for the Klan? I’m sure there were many racists in this country that voted for Reagan. Doesn’t make him a racist president, though I’m sure liberals would disagree. Moreover, for the millions of Democrats who voted for Reagan in ’84, are they racist since it’s bound that more than a few Klansmen probably casted votes for the Republican that year?

No.

This concerted line of attack was a long time coming. It was already saturated in the media, where anti-Trump liberals pretty much said that Trump is a racist, who says things that hurt people’s feelings. Some on the Right have said the same things, though it appears to have had zero impact. Trump won the Republican nomination, and even with all the shenanigans he has partaken in—some of which were entirely avoidable—he’s still within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in the polls. The RCP average only has her six points ahead of Trump. We all know Clinton is terrible. Is she really that awful that she can’t put this guy away, or even break 50 percent?

Allahpundit wrote over at Hot Air that Clinton’s speech probably gave the alt-right the biggest public relations boost they’re ever going to get—and they’re basking in the glory of her condemnation. The New Republic’s Jeet Heer described the speech as a “mafia kiss” to the GOP, noting that it was a warning to Republicans reluctantly supporting Trump: get off the Trump train or live in disgrace forever. Yet, Allah also pointed out that it’s in Clinton and the Democrats’ best interest to label the GOP as the party of the alt-right, especially with the changing demographics that are upon us:

If Hillary equates Trump with traditional conservative Republicanism, conservative Republicans will be more inclined to rally to his side while he’s taking fire from her. What she wants to do is deepen the divide by convincing moderate GOPers that Trump and his allies are a malignant usurpation to which they owe no allegiance. That’s why she mentioned Ryan — and Ted Cruz, and John McCain, and George W. Bush — as examples of Republicans whose values Trump has affronted. This is Hillary’s “vote for me or stay home” pitch to righties who loathe the alt-right as much as the alt-right loathes them.

[…]

In a country that’s trending towards majority-minority, it’s to Democrats’ advantage in a narrow sense to help the other party along in becoming white nationalist; that’s a winning proposition numerically for the left. Whether having an overtly white party forever pitted against an overtly brown party is good for America is a separate question. I’m sanguine about the short-term consequences of elevating the alt-right, though: So long as Republican voters really know what they’re getting into, i.e. that “alt-right” means more than “people Hillary doesn’t like,” I’d rather know how many prefer alt-rightism on the merits than have to guess. Let’s not be under any more illusions about what the American right is and what its values really are. The sooner everyone has a clear sense of the numbers in both camps, the sooner the third-party calculations can begin for one group or the other.

Yet, for now, while Clinton and Trump may hit at each other for being racist. The Clinton Foundation’s ethically questionable inter-workings continue to trickle into the news, while Wikileaks’ Julian Assange promises a data dump that could hurt Hillary. Things are about to get more ugly as Election Day approaches, to which I say, grab a beer (or bourbon) and pop a lot of popcorn. The fireworks show is going to be great, though I cannot say the same about the future of the country. We’re in a mess—and I think both candidates are terrible. But Clinton scares me a lot more.

Last Note: Trump says he doesn't want white supremacists to vote for him:

New Relationship: Iran Continues to Threaten U.S. Ships

It's been more than a year since President Obama finished his legacy defining nuclear deal with Iran. Since then, Iran has taken more Americans hostage, violated U.N. sanctions by firing off a number of ballistic missiles and took U.S. Navy sailors captive early this year. While in captivity, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard took video of the sailors without boots, forced a female sailor into covering her head and demanded sailors issue apologies for their behavior. That footage was then used as propaganda on Iranian state television, a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Now, the Iranians are harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and vowing to keep threatening them if they "get too close." Earlier this week USS Destroyer Nitze was swarmed by armed Iranian vessels and just hours later, three more U.S. ships were harassed. 

Three more U.S. ships were harassed by Iranian patrol boats over three incidents on Wednesday, U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban told USNI News on Thursday.

One of the encounters resulted in a U.S. ship firing warning shots at an Iranian patrol boat with a .50 caliber machine gun to ward off a dangerous approach, according to the service.

Cyclone-class patrol craft USS Tempest (PC-2) and USS Squall (PC-7) were operating in the northern Persian Gulf when three Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) came at the pair at high speed, Urban said.

“This situation presented a drastically increased risk of collision, and the Iranian vessel
refused to safely maneuver in accordance with internationally recognized maritime rules of the road, despite several request and warnings via radio, and visual and audible warnings from both U.S. ships,” Urban said.
“During the encounter, Tempest fired three warning flares in the direction of the IRGCN patrol
vessel while also attempting radio communications and sounding loud audible warnings via loudspeaker. Ultimately, Squall resorted to firing three warning shots from their 50-caliber gun, which caused the Iranian vessel to turn away.”

The White House has essentially chalked all of this up as "bad behavior" instead of acts by an enemy the Obama administration has naively tried to friend. The Iranians are threatening the United States with military force, they just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Someday when they do, we'll look back on all of the warning signs and question how it happened. 

An op-ed in USA Today says it best: It's time to stop Iran from humiliating the U.S. and it's time to take their threats seriously. 

The swarming boat attack is just what it sounds like: a number of fast boats equipped with missiles and torpedoes attack enemy ships from multiple angles to damage or destroy them as quickly as possible. Recently the Iranians added another dimension to the swarming boats: a vessel known as the Ya Mahdi, a remotely piloted fast patrol boat that can fire rockets or be stuffed with explosives. It is a new version of the boat that attacked the USS Cole in Aden in 2000 at a cost of 17 lives, 39 injuries and severe damage to the ship.

The Pentagon has known about this threat for a long time, and has opted to do next to nothing about it. Focused on big blue water operations, the Navy is behind a curve 20 years in the making.

The Pentagon needs to get its act together and come up with tactics and weapons systems to solve the problem of swarm boat attacks. So, too, must the administration stop pretending Iran is not a real threat. Above all, it is time to end America's humiliation on the high seas.

This Item In Donald Trump's Online Store Has People Talking

On Friday, Twitter was abuzz about one of the items in Donald Trump's official online store: An "LGBTQ For Trump" shirt. Trump is the first GOP nominee to sell apparel specifically targeted for LGBT voters.

Given that Hillary Clinton's foundation has accepted funds from countries who outlaw homosexuality, this is new push to attract LGBT voters. Gay Trump supporters say that they support the candidate's emphasis on gun rights as well as his promises to prohibit immigrants from countries where gay rights are nonexistent.

Regardless, Trump's expanded line of campaign apparel could be a sign that the GOP is working to expand its traditional voter base.

Ragin' Cajun: Carville Says If You Go Against The Clinton Foundation, You're Going To Hell

If you go against the Clinton Foundation, people will die. That’s the pathetic new line of defense crafted by the Clintons and their supporters after another story exposed their nonprofit as a hub to cash in favors. The Associated Press reported that more than half of the nongovernmental meetings Hillary had while she was secretary of state were with Clinton Foundation donors. To boot, top aide Huma Abedin acted as a middle person between State, the donor, and the Foundation regarding granting these people an audience. Usually directing people who wanted a meeting with Secretary Clinton to go through the Foundation. Donors were also given expedited access.

Now, multiple news organizations have been calling on the Clintons to shut down the Foundation should she become the next president of the United States, noting that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should absorb most of the operation. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that the Clintons have a serious ethics problem with the Foundation; that it could drain Hillary’s political capital should she win; or that it could sink her presidency, which is something NY Magazine’s Jonathan Chait touched upon. Sadly, he added that it wouldn’t cost her the election. On the upside, if this collapse happens (and that’s a huge if), the Clinton-era would be short-lived. Yet, back to the “we’re all awful people for questioning the Foundation” defense. We’re not questioning their work; we’re questioning the internal dynamics of what some have called a slush fund. Regardless, longtime Clinton ally James Carville said that anyone who supports shutting down the Foundation is going to hell, and that kids are going to die. This was uttered during the August 23 broadcast of Morning Joe, where the host said this was “B.S” (via Kristine Marsh/Newsbusters):

JAMES CARVILLE: As a human being I think the foundation does an enormous amount of good. From a strictly political standpoint, if my sixth grade teacher [indiscernible name] says it's right, somebody is going to hell over this. Because somebody, understand here, or somewhere, this is saving people's lives. There's nothing -- I think--again -- I’m very proud of it.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I wish I could say the word I want to say. I'll just say that's B.S. The fact is if it's a great charity and its a five-star rated charity, guess what, other people can raise the money. It doesn't have to be Bill Clinton calling somebody up making people think, if you know what, if I give him money it could help me out. If it's a great charity it can stand on its own and other people can raise money for it. It's not a zero-sum game. It's not having Bill Clinton raise money while his wife is running for president or else we're all going to hell and little kids are going to die across the planet.

CARVILLE: They’re gonna

On August 24, Bill Clinton reiterated the same fear that folks will die if the transition process that will separate the power couple from the nonprofit isn’t done right should Hillary win the election (via Atlanta Journal Constitution):

At a stop at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta before a fundraiser, the former president sought to downplay an Associated Press report that found more than half the people outside the government who met with his wife at the State Department gave money to the foundation.

“We’re trying to do good things. If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is,” said Bill Clinton. “The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say, except I’m really proud of the work they’ve done.”

[…]

“I’m happy to do the transition as swiftly as we can, and we’ve already found partners who are going to take over some of this stuff,” he said. “But we have to do it in a way where no one loses their job, no one loses their income, no one loses their life.”

So, we’re I guess all going to hell, right? Please.

French Court Suspends Burkini Ban

France's highest court has ruled that towns do not have the right to ban women from wearing "burkinis" at beaches. Over 30 French towns had banned the garment from beaches due to terror concerns.

The full face-covering burqa veil, as well as niqabs, are already prohibited in France. The "burkini" does not cover the wearer's face, but rather resembles a wetsuit with a longer shirt. Headscarves and other religious clothing cannot be worn in French public schools.

An image of a woman being forced by police to remove part of her bathing suit went viral, sparking outrage about the ban.

Honestly, this is probably a good thing. A woman wearing an extremely modest bathing suit is not a security threat--her face is visible and she can be easily identified. This is very different from a burqa or niqab, which would be another conversation altogether. The police should have more important things to do than patrol women's clothing.

Did This Really Happen? Hillary Clinton Silences 'Well Behaved' Reporters by Offering Them Chocolate

At a campaign event in Nevada on Thursday, Hillary Clinton appeared outside a venue where she yet again refused to answer any unscripted questions from a group of reporters as she indulged herself in chocolate bites from a local business. 

“Mmmm,” she said to the reporters who were trying to question her past record. “Oh my gosh. This is really good.”

“Why don’t you offer some to the press?” she said to the reporters as she dismissed questions. “They are so wonderful, they are so hard working they all deserve a piece of chocolate.”

It has been nearly 265 days since Clinton has hosted unscripted questions in a press conference style setting.  How can you blame her though?  Just like with any liar, she needs time to formulate her plot and strategize her answers.  

 

New Trump Ad Shows Racist Remarks Made by Hillary Clinton in 1996

When dealing with "super-predators" in society, it is the government's job to bring them to "heel."  

This is what Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had to say about crime in the 1990's while her husband Bill Clinton was president.

Donald Trump posted a video on Friday showing Clinton's infamous speech discussing the controversial crime bill signed into law that increased mandatory minimums for first time offenders, specifically "certain kinds of kids" Clinton said.

"Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today," Clinton said earlier this year about her "super-predator" remark. 

The Clinton's are the real predators...

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Watch: PA Democratic Senate Candidate Refuses To Answer Whether She Supports Taxpayer-Funded Abortion

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate Candidate Katie McGinty appears to be cruising to a slim victory over incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, but she’s had a few trip ups recently. For starters, she called Toomey an “asshole,” an egregious act that saw her issuing an apology soon afterwards.

Now, she twisted herself into a pretzel over whether she supports taxpayer-funded abortion in accordance with her party’s platform on the subject. The 2016 Democratic Platform is the most left wing in recent memory (possibly ever) thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) taking one-third of the platform committee seats to accommodate the Vermont senator’s better than expected challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

On Monday, McGinty deployed countermeasures at a Pennsylvania Press Club event when asked, “In Philadelphia, your party adopted a platform calling for the end of the Hyde Amendment. Do you agree?” The Hyde Amendment bars federal funds to be used for abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest, or threatens the life of the mother. Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard had more:

She [McGinty] voiced support for the "privacy" of women seeking abortions, but she never said if she supports repealing the Hyde amendment, which would result in unlimited federal funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients.

[…]

In interviews, she has often touted her Catholic faith. "McGinty, who was raised in an Irish Catholic family and remains religious today, often speaks about rebuilding the middle class and expanding education and economic opportunities for everyone," Penn Live reported in April. "'I believe deeply in the dignity of every single human being and I believe that every person has unique gifts given to them by God,' she said. 'We are poorer (to) the degree to which anyone is deprived opportunity.'"

Yet, here, McGinty said that these issues surrounding women’s health care have been politicized, that they’re often medically complex, and are painful decisions that women and their families must undertake. Yet, she added that Planned Parenthood provides vital services to 108,000 Pennsylvania women, and that she’s proud to stand by that organization.

So, of course, she didn’t answer the question. And sorry Ms. McGinty, when an organization is accused of trafficking in aborted baby parts—that’s a story that needs to be investigated. So, will this non-answer on abortion by McGinty, and possible future prevarications on this question, help Toomey? It remains to be seen.

In areas where Republicans are dominate, it should boost enthusiasm and resolve to make sure Toomey is re-elected. Yet, in the collar counties around Philadelphia, it’s a different story. These are dotted with Republican voters, but ones who are moderate in their politics, especially when it comes to gun control. One of the reasons, I think, Toomey has been able to keep the conditions for a landslide loss at bay is that he’s gravitated away from his Tea Party roots.

He’s been reliably Republican in some areas, but departed from his party of highly-charges issues like gun control. Michael Bloomberg and former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ gun control group have endorsed him. Not good for Toomey regarding his relationship with die-hard Republicans, but it could earn him a reputation of being a strong, independent voice despite his party affiliation. That’s what he’s banking on selling to his collar county constituents. He won Bucks County in 2010; he needs to do so again in order to have any hope of surviving. I’m not sure engaging in an abortion war, which energizes Democrats, is the answer. Then again, McGinty's non-answer may show that Democrats in PA are a bit worried about such an intense issue gaining traction. After all, it's not a popular position. Still, the historical trends in the state are against Toomey here.

It’s been said often, but it needs to be repeated: Pennsylvania is a cruel mistress for Republicans. Okay—maybe it’s the unicorn for the GOP concerning national elections. It’s also another reason to give some pause to the notion that Trump maybe costing us Senate seats. In fact, in 2012, Obama carried most of the states where Senate Republicans are playing defense this year. The climate was going to be tough, most of all in Pennsylvania.

It’s a tad maddening because the state is, by most metrics, a red one. Republicans run the vast majority of the state’s counties, the state legislature is Republican, and up until Tom Wolf booted Tom Corbett—the governorship was Republican. And yet, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh decide the state when it comes to presidential years.

During the midterms, with turnout being lower, the GOP fares better statewide. We saw this when Republican Pat Toomey won his 2010 senate race, but with re-election during a presidential year—with Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket—turnout in the areas that matter will be a massive headwind for Toomey.

Until the end of the Republican National Convention, Republican nominee Donald Trump was trailing Clinton in the Keystone State by 8-10 points, but Toomey was remaining competitive against McGinty, who left Wolf’s office as his chief of staff to take on the Republican incumbent. She’s now leading him by almost three points on average, though still within the margin of error.

That being said, given Toomey’s independent streak, and Clinton being under siege for possible lapses in ethics regarding he Clinton Foundation, Toomey certainly has a good shot to survive this year. It certainly better than his colleague to the north, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

NYT: We Messed Up In Our Louisiana Disaster Coverage (Maybe It's Because Bush Isn't President?)

The New York Times is admitting that they dropped the ball in their Louisiana coverage. Public editor Liz Spayd addressed concerns that the Times, one of the top newspapers in the country, had very scarce coverage of the worst natural disaster to hit Louisiana since Hurricane Sandy:

The heavy rain started on Friday [August 12], and as flooding began in towns across the Gulf Coast, the governor of Louisiana declared a state of emergency. By Saturday the waters were raging: the National Guard was pulling people from their homes, rivers were cresting at historic levels, cars and buses had overturned and the worst was ahead. It was not until Sunday night, at 8:20 p.m., that The New York Times posted a staff-written story on its website, which appeared Monday in print.

Readers trying to follow the news might have come across a wire story before Sunday, but The Times had devoted no staff resources before then. Only today has a staff writer reached the flood areas — Campbell Robertson, who until now has been covering the floods from dry ground in New Orleans.

[…]

The Times is not the only news organization being criticized for doing too little too late on the floods. Even so, from my scanning of the media’s reaction, The Times’s performance seems particularly weak. I asked national editor Marc Lacey what explains the limited coverage so far.

[…]

No doubt this is a busy news period, and the fact that it is August compounds the usual challenges of getting available staff to the site of the news. But a news organization like The Times — rich with resources and eager to proclaim its national prominence — surely can find a way to cover a storm that has ravaged such a wide stretch of the country’s Gulf Coast.

Especially when it has brought devastating floods, once more, to the brave state of Louisiana.

Okay, so the Times admitted to being late to the party on the flooding, but could it also be due to the fact that Bush isn’t president—and the media's aversion to painting the Obama administration negatively. The president was on vacation that week and ignored calls to cut his excursion to Martha’s Vineyard short to assess the damage. Donald Trump, on the other hand, made a trip down there, energized locals with his visit, handed out aid, and got high marks from local politicians (and some members of the media), including former Sen. Mary Landrieu and Gov. John Bel Edwards. Landrieu hoped to see President Obama and Hillary Clinton make similar trips. Obama (finally) visited the disaster-stricken zone earlier this week. Clinton has yet to visit.

Joe Concha over at The Hill wrote a week ago about this tale of two cities under two different presidents and yes, he found some glaring examples of media bias (shocker) concerning how publications reacted to Bush and Obama's leadership on Louisiana:

2005: President George W. Bush's presidency is basically declared over after he waits two days to cut a vacation short to return to the White House to directly engage in relief strategy around hurricane-ravaged Katrina. On Day 3, he would visit the Gulf Coast to survey the damage.

The headlines at the time and since have included, A compassionate Bush was absent right after Katrina, The 7 worst moments of George W. Bush’s presidency, Kanye West Rips Bush at Telethon, What If They Were White?, Jesse Jackson lashes out at Bush over Katrina response, Katrina thrusts race and poverty onto national stage: Bush and Congress under pressure to act and An Imperfect Storm - How race shaped Bush's response to Katrina.

[…]

Fast forward to August 2016 — several storms hit Louisiana, not just a hurricane — the floodwaters have created the biggest natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina.

At least 13 people are dead, more than 85,000 people have applied for federal disaster aid, 30,000 people needed to be rescued and 40,000 displaced. State officials report it is easily the biggest housing crunch since Sandy.

[…]

A very simple question, if George W. Bush was president right now and playing golf with celebrities in one of the richest zip codes in the country, would the headlines again be everywhere that portray him as insensitive, out-of-touch, even a racist president be the same now as they were 2005? Of course they would.

Instead, President Obama continues his vacation that includes fundraising events for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the relative silence is deafening.

[…]

Obama mocked the Bush Administration in 2005 for its "unconscionable ineptitude" after Katrina hit. He even visited the area to report what he witnessed.

[…]

2005: A Republican president takes three days to survey a natural disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi after cutting a vacation short.

The media at the time declares that was way too long, far too insensitive, even pushes a narrative that labels him racist.

2016: A Democratic president will not only cut a vacation short in any capacity to survey a natural disaster in Louisiana — the worst of any kind to hit the country in four years — but hasn't even made any public statements on it. Not one.

Concha added that only editorial board to demand that Obama cut his vacation short was Louisiana’s Advocate. Moreover, he said that, at the time, the headlines were dominated by Paul Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign, the Ryan Lochte saga in Rio, and the revelation that we withheld the $400 million from the Iranians until our four detained citizens were released, which sounds a lot like ransom. Even still, the latter story barely got airtime, with Lochte receiving 10x more coverage on the Big Three—CBS, NBC, and ABC—than the Iran story. That’s sort of odd since the Rio Olympic coverage weren't stellar in the ratings game. 

So, again, good on the Times for admitting their mistake, but it sounds like they, and the rest of the liberal media, avoided painting a clear picture of the disaster that struck the Bayou State in order to prevent a Bush-like comparison regarding response time.

Oversight Committee to Kerry: Explain Why The State Department Was Used to Find Clinton Foundation Employees

New revelations this week showing the Clinton Foundation used the State Department to find and recruit employees during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary are prompting questions from House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday, Chaffetz wants details about taxpayers resources used to recruit State Department experts for Clinton Foundation donors and wants to know whether federal ethics codes were violated in the process. 

"State Department employees interviewed applicants for Clinton Foundation positions  and sought a Libya expert on behalf of Clinton Foundation donors. According to one report, Clinton Foundation employees also contacted the State Department in an effort to find jobs for Clinton Foundation donors. Moreover, earlier this week, the Associated Press reported ‘[m]ore than half the people outside of government who met with [Secretary] Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation.’ These reports give rise to a perception that access to our State Department’s official resources, were for sale," Chaffetz states in the letter. “The allegations contained in the Associated Press report and others also raise questions as to whether State Department employees acted to benefit the Clinton Foundation in violation of executive branch ethics guidelines."
 
“In addition, work on behalf of the Clinton Foundation on personal time may also violate section 2635.705 of the executive branch ethics code, which generally prohibits a superior from coercing a subordinate from performing activities other than official duties,” the letter continues.   

Earlier this week the Associated Press published a report showing 50 percent of individuals who were granted interviews with Secretary Clinton were big time donors to the Clinton Foundation. We also learned long time Clinton aide Huma Abedin regularly denied requested meetings with Secretary Clinton, rerouted individuals through the Clinton Foundation, donations would be made and then meetings would be granted. Chaffetz makes the argument in his letter to Kerry that these revelations further show official State Department resources were "up for sale."

Chaffetz has requested Kerry produce a number of documents, communications and a list of all individuals on Clinton's official calendar during her time as Secretary by September 7.
 

Massachusetts to Tax Uber to Subsidize Taxis

Well this is absurd: Massachusetts is planning on taxing ride-sharing services like Uber in order to bail out...the taxi industry. This is the first tax of this kind in the country. Taxis are upset that ride-sharing services don't follow the same rules as the taxi industry (which makes sense, given that...they're not taxis.)

From Reuters:

Massachusetts is preparing to levy a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.

[...]

The law levies a 20-cent fee in all, with 5 cents for taxis, 10 cents going to cities and towns and the final 5 cents designated for a state transportation fund.

The fee may raise millions of dollars a year because Lyft and Uber alone have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts.

The law says the money will help taxi businesses to adopt "new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities" and to support workforce development.

This is absurd. Given that the cars used by ride-sharing drivers are either owned or leased by said drivers, they do have to go through the same regulations as taxis and pass state inspections. In Massachusetts, vehicles are inspected yearly--it's not legal to drive a car without an inspection sticker. Uber should not be punished for figuring out how to connect drivers and riders via a mobile phone app before the traditional taxi industry did--and that's effectively what this tax seeks to do.

This tax is the equivalent of charging extra for lightbulbs in order to bail out the candlestick makers. Technology adapts and moves on, and it's not the government's role to prop up outdated industries. Taxis should take steps on their own to keep up with a competing industry.