Analysis: Charmless Vessel Shouts Acceptance Speech at America

It's finally, blessedly over. As expected, Hillary Clinton's anticlimactic acceptance speech capped off a Democratic convention at which two of the weakest primetime speeches were delivered by the the two members of the nominated ticket. There were powerful moments earlier in the evening -- including an impactful address by the father of a Muslim US soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country in Iraq, and an address from a valorous Medal of Honor recipient, who was shamefully heckled by some DNC delegates. But when the lights shone brightest, we got a perfectly nice little talk by Chelsea Clinton, an over-the-top 'Heroine Hillary' introductory video, and a over-long, mediocre, robotically-delivered address by the woman of the hour. Pete Wehner, a senior speechwriter for President Bush and an exceptionally harsh conservative critic of Donald Trump, rendered this assessment of her performance:

Some bits were better than others, but Clinton only seemed to truly come into her own when she was attacking Donald Trump -- her longtime friend and donor, whose wedding she attended. Hillary quoted Trump's infamous statement that he understands ISIS better than our generals. She looked into the camera, ice cold, and unleashed one of several stinging lines:

Alas, there is also no other Hillary Clinton. This is it.  If only she and Donald had taken some voice modulation lessons -- maybe (stronger) together? -- a few weeks ago, things might have been better.  They weren't.  In any case, even if you're inclined to agree with her temperament critiques of Trump (as I am), it's quite rich listening to a woman who knowingly compromised high-level secrets for her own selfish reasons and lied repeatedly about it lecture anyone about trust and national security.  The rest of her speech was almost entirely unmemorable -- although newscasts will love her 'break the ceiling, sky's the limit' formulation.  She talked a little bit about her upbringing and family, she tossed a few bland rhetorical scraps to independent and Republican-leaning voters, and she rattled off a laundry list of liberal-left agenda items.  She made sure to highlight her strong opposition to Citizens United -- because this woman is so terribly offended by money in politics, you see -- failing to mention that the ruling she abhors literally overruled the government's censorship of a film that was critical of...Hillary Clinton.  She also condemned "mean and divisive rhetoric," which seems apt in an age of Trump. But once again, physician, heal thyself. As I predicted, Donald Trump earned a clear polling bounce out of Cleveland. It may or may not be receding. I would be surprised if Clinton doesn't garner one from the program in Philadelphia, too.  But because this is 2016, and because the commentariat was largely enamored with the Democrats' gathering, this is a reasonable caveat:

By mid-August, the polls will likely have 'settled' a bit, and we'll have a better sense of the dynamics of the post-conventions horserace.  And then come the debates.  I'll leave you with a sentiment I felt acutely while watching the final evening of the DNC proceedings, and some sorely-needed levity:

Ha: California Delegates Change "Hillary" Signs To "Liar"

The Democratic Party is still far from unified after a long and drawn-out primary season. Plenty of Bernie Sanders supporters are not about to jump on the Hillary Clinton train, and these California delegates figured out a way to show their displeasure at their party's choice of nominee. They covered up part of the "HILLARY" sign to change it to "LIAR."

A tweet with a picture of the modified sign has gone viral:

Props to them to sticking to their guns and sticking it to the DNC.

Oh My God: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Was Hacked Too

The email woes for the Democratic Party are not over yet. Reuters has reported that the FBI is looking into another breach at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which could be related to the hack into the Democratic National Committee earlier this year.

The release of the DNC emails prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention caused quite a bit of heartburn between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton camps, with the former accusing the national party leadership of trying to tip the scale for Clinton. The emails show DNC staffers discussing ways to derail the Sanders candidacy. It led to the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as committee chairwoman.

The news organization added that for some time, a phony site collected the information of would-be donors to the party. Instead of that information going to the company that processes donations, it would go to the phony site. Sources told Reuters that the FBI feels that this was used to obtain donor information and not steal money:

The DNC, targeted by hackers earlier this year, and the DCCC share the same office space on South Capitol Street in Washington.

The DCCC had no immediate comment on Thursday. Donation processing company ActBlue also had no immediate comment. CrowdStrike, the California-based cyber security firm that investigated the DNC breach, declined to comment.

Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist who once worked for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, said the possibility of the DCCC being hacked was cause for great concern.

“Until proven otherwise, I would suggest that everyone involved with the campaign committee operate under the assumption Russians have access to everything in their computer systems,” Manley said.

The FBI referred questions to a statement it made on Monday on the DNC hack:

"The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter. A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace."

The disclosure of the DCCC breach is likely to further stoke concerns among Democratic Party operatives, many of whom have acknowledged they fear further dumps of hacked files that could harm their candidates. WikiLeaks has said it has more material related to the U.S. election that it intends to release.

While there is chatter about the Russians being responsible, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said it was just too early to name a perpetrator. Nevertheless, these hacks only add to the whole email narrative against Clinton that has proven to be disastrous concerning her favorability numbers, especially when it comes to trustworthiness and honesty. Hillary had an unsecure server that housed sensitive information. It was certainly vulnerable to foreign intrusion and could have possibly threatened national security. Now, Clinton’s own party’s files are being scooped up—and they may contain some dirty laundry. Yet, who knew that emails would be tripping up Democrats right now.

Stronger Together: Here Is The Agenda Hillary Clinton Has For America

Hillary Clinton will be accepting the Democratic nomination tonight. In her remark, her agenda centers on creating more job opportunities, raising stagnant wages, and reaching out to every corner of the country—from the cities to the rural 15 MPH small towns—in order to accomplish that economic goal.

She also pledges to be strong on national security, offering a strong leadership on the issue of tackling our “determined enemies,” which is obviously ISIS but they're not mentioned by name. In all, the speech centers on what Democrats have been saying throughout this convention, which is that America’s best days are ahead, don’t be pessimistic like the Republicans, and that we’re stronger together. Also, let’s come together to make sure the Clinton vision of America is a success.

Again, it would be more reassuring if Clinton could name out determined enemy by name, along with the radical ideology they follow. Moreover, given her unsanctioned and unsecure private email server that left our secrets vulnerable—not so sure you’re to be trusted on that front either. In fact, the vast majority of American voters don’t trust you. So, let’s see if Clinton pushes back against that narrative, along with Trump’s definition of her as “Crooked Hillary.” We shall see shortly.

Despicable: Black Lives Matter Interrupts Moment of Silence for Fallen Officers at DNC

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez spoke at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night to offer some remarks about the strained relationship between police and civilians. While she acknowledged the police have been guilty of using excessive force, even against her own family, she decided to become an officer herself and promised that she and her team put on their badges every day to "serve and protect, not to hate and discriminate." She also offered a beautiful story about how four separate tables in a restaurant in which she was dining offered to pay for her bill, proving her community respected her service. 

Following her remarks, she asked the audience to join her in a moment of silence for the fallen officers in Dallas, in and countless other cities that have faced similar tragedies. Her request was respected - until shouts of "Black Lives Matter" interrupted the touching moment.

Disrespectful - and despicable.

Black Lives Matter activists have the right to protest against what they believe is police brutality - but during a moment of silence for murdered officers and the devastated families they've left behind? Unthinkable.

The DNC's "Stronger Together" theme is unfortunately out of reach at this point. This country needs some serious healing.

Former Reagan Staffer To Trump: You're No Reagan

"This year I will vote for a Democrat for the first time," said Doug Elmets, a former aide to President Ronald Reagan at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night.

“I know Ronald Reagan," he explained. "I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.”

This year's Republican platform and chosen nominee, Elmets continued, is too extreme for his liking. As a result, he's voting Democrat for the first time in his life.

"Loyalty to our country is more important than loyalty to our party," he concluded.

The Republican National Committee was prepared for Elmets' remarks, highlighting the fact that he has donated to Democrats for years and is no Republican.

Sanders Supporters To Reid: Wait–You Didn’t Speak Up When You Thought The DNC Was Rigging The Game Against Us

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that he thought that the Democratic National Committee didn’t give Sen. Bernie Sanders a fair shake at the Democratic nomination, which we all knew, and that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was right to step down once Wikileaks released emails showing staffers scheming ways behind the scenes to derail the self-described Democratic socialist’s presidential ambitions. Now, Sanders supporters are saying what the heck, why didn’t you say this sooner at the party’s convention in Philadelphia (via The Hill):

The retiring Democratic leader faced multiple questions about Sanders, the party as a whole and progressive flash points over a roughly half-hour question-and-answer session at a state delegate meeting.

[…]

He was immediately questioned by a delegate who asked why Reid didn't "speak up earlier for Bernie Sanders" after saying this week that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hadn't been "fair" with him.

"I've been in touch with Bernie Sanders through the whole campaign. We talk on a regular basis," he said. "I don't have to apologize to anybody for my relationship with Bernie Sanders."

Reid has repeatedly refrained from criticizing Sanders for refusing to drop out of the Democratic primary and sharply told reporters to "lay off" him amid criticism in late May.

[…]

In a contentious moment, a Sanders backer — who described himself and other supporters as "victims" — asked to know Reid's stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) amid groans and murmurs of "no" from other delegates.

So, as you can see, all is not well in Democrat land. There are also allegations that the DNC is busing in people to fill the empty seats in the convention hall to give the veneer of party unity. It’s quite possible that 30 percent of the Sanders coalition could go third party in November, which only helps Donald Trump. Clinton’s task in unifying her party is something to watch from this night forward. 

Also, look out for the Sanders delegates tonight––they'll be wearing the neon green t-shirts.

Schultz Claims She's 'Taking One for the Team' With Resignation

Outgoing Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz claims she is taking one for the team in offering her resignation. Under her leadership, the DNC behaved belligerently toward the Bernie Sanders campaign, as exposed in the recent Wikileaks email dump. Can Schultz really say she's sacrificing herself on behalf of the team when she's the coach? 

Yes, according to what she told the National Jewish Democratic Council on Thursday.

"It has been a remarkable team effort, and you know sometimes you just have to take one for the team, and that's OK, it's OK," she said with a smile.

Schultz's bias toward a Hillary Clinton nomination was clear from the beginning of the primary process. Instead of providing Clinton's challengers ample opportunity to speak to the American people, Schultz scheduled only six debates. The email leaks only further confirmed Sanders' supporters suspicions. On the first two days of the convention, it was obvious how it affected his progressive fans, who booed Schultz off the podium multiple times and heckled any and every speaker who dared say they vote for Hillary Clinton.

As you can see, the DNC leaks scandal is still causing a stir at the convention.

When Schultz steps down following the DNC's conclusion Thursday night, the Sanders voters she left out in the cold can trade boos for cheers.

Uh Oh: Trump Bounce Already Gone -- Or Not?

It's time to play Pick Your Poll. If you're rooting for Trump, there's evidence that his undeniable public opinion boost coming out of Cleveland is still alive and well. Take, for example, the Los Angeles Times/USC tracker, which shows him expanding his lead to seven points nationally.  The trend lines are self explanatory:

That was yesterday.  Today, his lead has inched up to nearly seven-and-a-half points. Even more encouraging for Team Trump is the Reuters/Ipsos data from yesterday. Sure, both candidates are in the high 30's with Trump two points ahead (a statistical tie), which may not sound especially promising.  Here's the context that makes the new results such good news for his campaign:

Mid-June: Clinton +10

Early July: Clinton +11

Mid-July: Clinton +4

Late July: Trump +2

Quite a trajectory -- and all the more eyebrow-raising considering how unkind this particular series has been to Trump all cycle.  Part of what's at play here is that the Republican National Convention, for all of its upheaval and snafus, relentlessly and successfully reminded American voters of why Hillary Clinton has richly earned her unfavorable and distrusted reputation.  I mentioned these pre-DNC numbers from Gallup last night, but they're worth revisiting to fortify my point:

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton now have identical favorability ratings, according to a new Gallup poll, and the average American does not look fondly upon either one of them. The new poll, conducted July 18-25, found 37 percent of Americans have favorable ratings of the two nominees, while 58 percent have unfavorable ratings. This is the first time Clinton’s favorable rating was not higher than Trump’s...Gallup also found the net impact of the GOP convention was negative, with 51 percent of Americans saying the convention made them less likely to vote for Trump and 36 percent saying they were more like to vote for him.

Hillary is less popular than ever in this poll, which helps explain Trump's surge...but the same survey found a slim majority of respondents saying that his Cleveland convention made them less likely to vote for him in November.  Which brings us to the other side of today's polling coin.  Rasmussen, which has been the pro-Trump outlier series in 2016 (the opposite of Reuters in that respect) has a new survey with Clinton ahead by a point.  That's down from a seven-point Trump advantage two weeks ago.  Hmm.  In fairness, given the amount of polling noise out there, it's tough to separate outliers from trends.  For instance, is this new data point out of Pennsylvania a huge red flag for Trump, or an anomaly?

If that's even close to accurate, this election is effectively over. Trump must be competitive in the Keystone state, and probably carry it, to win. His (highly debatable) theory of the race is that he'll flip enough blue collar, working class white people in rust belt states to pull off a victory. Pennsylvania, so often the GOP's presidential year white whale, is basically serving as a petri dish for that proposition. Statewide polling throughout June showed a competitive race, with Hillary very slightly ahead. But this is now the second consecutive poll showing hear advantage pushing double digits. A third survey with similar results would mark a very serious problem for the Trump campaign. We shall see.

Why Is Michigan Getting The Most Syrian Refugees?

Michigan is receiving more refugees from Syria than any other state in the U.S. according to State Department records.

More Syrian refugees came into the U.S. on Wednesday than any single day since June 6. The State Department admitted 268 people, breaking its previous record of 253.

The top five states to receive refugees were Michigan (42), California (35), Texas (33), Arizona (27), and Pennsylvania (26). These states have also received the most refugees since October. Michigan's total reached 831 Thursday morning, while the other four had 698, 581, 534, and 460.

According to U.S. census population estimates for 2015, California and Texas have the largest populations in America, while Pennsylvania is sixth, Michigan is 10th, and Arizona is 14th. Despite these statistics, Michigan has become the primary territory for the Syrian refugee resettlement effort.

These states have some of the biggest cities in America, but the three Michigan cities which took in the most had higher refugee numbers than every city in Pennsylvania and Texas. Troy (220) gained 18 refugees Wednesday, Dearborn (189) took in 14, and Clinton Township stayed at 191. The only cities to shelter more Syrian refugees were San Diego (360) and Glendale, Arizona (288).

San Diego, Glendale, and Troy take in refugees from many countries, according to Refugee Processing Center. Clinton Township is part of Macomb County, Michigan, one of the top refugee resettlement areas in the state. Dearborn, however, is not a common destination for all refugees seeking resettlement.

According to a Time article from September, at the end of the 2015 fiscal year, Michigan was not originally the biggest refugee state. At the time, Texas and California led the effort while Michigan was third. Only 1,584 refugees had entered the U.S. since the Syrian Civil War began in March 2011.

The article explained how Dearborn might receive more Syrian immigrants:

Some areas already have communities with a long-established Middle Eastern presence. Dearborn, Mich., for example, has a large Arab-American population that stretches back to the late 19th century, and the state has continued taking in refugees from war-torn Arab countries over the last decade.

The numbers in this report reflect Thursday morning totals. As of Thursday afternoon, the RPC's records were updated to show 210 more refugees arrived Thursday, bringing the fiscal year total to 7,491.

Mayor of Rochester, NY "Thanks" Susan B. Anthony For Paving The Way on Women's Suffrage

Suffragette Susan B. Anthony is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York. I've written before about the sweet tribute female voters leave on her headstone on Election Day. Now, with Hillary Clinton as the first female nominee for president from a major party, another tribute has appeared at her gravesite: a letter from Lovely Warren, the first female mayor of Rochester. The letter thanks Anthony for helping to pave the way for increased female participation in politics. Visitors to the gravesite were given the chance to sign their names in thanks as well.

Warren also points out that less than 150 years after Anthony was arrested for voting, America could very well have a female president.

Regardless of a person's thoughts on Clinton, this is still a very nice tribute for an early pioneer in women's rights.

Pile On: Reid, Booker Follow McCaskill’s Lead On Trump’s Remarks About Russia

Piggybacking off what Cortney wrote about Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said about Trump’s remarks about enticing Russia to dig up Clinton’s deleted emails. It certainly got under the skin of top Democrats including Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Harry Reid (D-NV) saying they’re either looking into what they can do to respond to these remarks or agreeing with McCaskill that Trump may have violated the Logan Act (via the Hill):

"I'm already in conversations about this. I want to assess what the options are," Booker said in an interview on Thursday on Joe Madison's "The Black Eagle" show on SiriusXM.

"So I want to find out what the appropriate actions will be. ... I’m looking forward to sort of getting into more of the details and understanding the full nature of what he was saying, as well as what the implications are and what my options are in office."

The relationship ship between Booker and the Trump family is sort of odd, as Ivanka held a fundraiser for the former’s 2013 senate race. Now, we have Trump attacking Booker over his speech to the Democratic Convention, where he tore into the Republican nominee. Trump responded by saying that Booker has no future in the Democratic Party, while Booker responded by saying that he loves Donald and will pray for him. All of this whiles the New Jersey senator also called him anti-American prior to the DNC.

After McCaskill and Booker, comes outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who was quoted by The Hill, “I had a number of people come up to me yesterday about the Logan Act. He may have done that. He may have violated the law…his business records skirted the law for a long, long time."

Now, we all know that Trump’s remarks were made I jest, or at least that’s what he’s now telling the press. Obama’s intelligence chief, James Clapper, said Americans should stop going nuts over the DNC hack, and blaming the Russians for it. These things happen—and it’s the new reality we live in, where people engages in hacking (via Washington Examiner):

Americans need to calm down and stop blaming Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Thursday.

"I'm somewhat taken aback by the hyperventilation on this," Clapper said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "I'm shocked someone did some hacking," he added sarcastically. "That's never happened before."

Russia also responded by saying this in an in-house matter, and that Russia doesn’t involve itself in the internal affairs of other nations. They also called the allegations lobbed against them by Democrats that they were behind the hack as “total stupidity” (via Reuters):

Russia told the United States on Thursday to get to the bottom of a hacking scandal involving Democratic Party emails itself and rejected what Donald Trump said was a sarcastic suggestion that Moscow should dig up Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails.

[…]

On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said accusations of a Russian hand in hacking Democratic Party emails bordered on "total stupidity" and were motivated by anti-Russian sentiment. He rejected Trump's apparently sarcastic suggestion for Russia to dig up Clinton's emails point-blank.

"As regards these (email) batches, that is not our headache. We never poke our noses into others' affairs and we really don't like it when people try to poke their nose into ours," he said.

"The Americans needs to get to the bottom of what these emails are themselves and find out what it's all about."

Hillary to Give First Interview As Democratic Nominee to Fox News Sunday

"Fox News Sunday" has been working with the Hillary Clinton campaign for months to try and set up a sit-down interview between her and host Chris Wallace.

Well, the details have finally been nailed down – and it couldn’t be at a more important time. This Sunday, Fox News will air Wallace's meeting with Clinton, making it her first interview since officially becoming the Democratic nominee.

Clinton last appeared on Fox News five years ago, although she did participate in a democratic town hall with Special Report’s Bret Baier in March and, more recently, spoke with "O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly via phone to discuss the horrifying terror attack in Nice, France.

As Shepard Smith noted on Wednesday, Clinton’s accepting the "Fox News Sunday interview" indicates she wants to appeal to moderate voters.

Clinton's interview with Wallace will air on “Fox News Sunday” on Sunday morning and on Fox News at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Watch LIVE: Last Day of DNC Features Chelsea Clinton and Hillary's Most Important Speech Yet

It's the final day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention and the spotlight belongs to Hillary Clinton as she accepts her party's nomination. Clinton's daughter Chelsea will be introducing her. Watch live starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The Internet Is Quite Smitten With This Picture of Young Tim Kaine

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is the Democratic nominee for vice president, and, as the internet discovered this week, was quite handsome in his younger years.

NBC's "Today" even did a short segment on the "Young Tim Kaine" phenomena:

Glad we're focusing on the important things this election!

Bernie Delegates Say DNC Is Hiring Seat Fillers To Create Appearance of Unity

Delegates for Bernie Sanders have spoken out against the DNC for hiring seat fillers to replace protesting Sanders supporters. 

While many Sanders delegates were outside staging protests during the convention Wednesday, every seat in the arena was filled, giving the impression that the delegates had unified around their nominee, Hillary Clinton. Several Sanders delegates have posted videos claiming that many of those in the delegates’ seats were not delegates at all, but seat fillers paid for by the DNC.

Sanders delegate Nancy Kim posted a video with a man who said he was a seat filler.

“Because our people—the Bernie people—went outside to do a press conference, he was just given a credential,” she said. “Right?”

“Right,” the man said.

“And he came to be a seat filler.” 

Sanders delegate Jeff Day posted a video with his own observations of seat filling.

“I got here around 5:30 or 6 o’clock, and when I got here it was empty,” he said. He explained that many Hillary delegates were attending events outside the convention and many Sanders supporters were protesting outside. Suddenly, however, the convention center was full.

“The convention is full now. Every seat in the house is full. Those seat fillers you guys were talking about? It’s real. They’re in here now. There are a lot of people sitting near me who I don’t know or have seen since I’ve been here.”

Challenging the media coverage which stated the convention looked “more unified,” he said, “It’s because the Bernie people aren’t here!”

“There are a lot of people here that aren’t delegates who are standing and clapping and cheering for somebody that we aren’t ready to believe in,” said Day. “The media needs to know, so they stop telling everybody in America that we’re together, because we’re not together yet. There’s a lot of work left to be done.”

"Don't believe what you see on TV."

Day posted another video Thursday morning suggesting that Sanders supporters stage a sit-in Thursday night. He proposed that the Sanders delegates sit silently as Clinton and others give their speeches, rather than protesting outside and having their seats be taken by cheering stooges. He hopes their silence will signal that the Democratic Party has not unified around Clinton—contrary to media reports. 

Paul Ryan Adviser's "Devious Thug" Comment Latest Example Of Rift In GOP's Russia Strategy

Following the fall-out from the Democratic National Committee email leak, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump split with Republicans this week with his suggestion that Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s server, with both parties quickly condemning what they considered irrational comments.

At a news conference in Florida on Wednesday, Trump suggested the Kremlin was “probably not” behind the DNC hack, but in the same breath he expressed a desire for Russia to release deleted emails from Clinton’s unsecured State Department email server.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. He has since clarified that his comments were "sarcastic."

Amidst the din of politicians decrying Trump’s statements, what House Speaker Paul Ryan’s communications adviser told The Guardian is perhaps the best representation of the disconnect in the Republicans' foreign policy stance during this election.

“Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” Ryan’s adviser, Brendan Buck, said. “Putin should stay out of this election.”

After making headlines for not endorsing Trump outright in early May (he said he was “just not ready to do that at this point”), Ryan has since supported the nominee cautiously. He spoke at the RNC but recently criticized some of the campaign’s foreign policy positions, reinforcing the notion the GOP is splintered under Trump’s inflammatory leadership.

The Associated Press reported on a July 26 luncheon where Ryan distanced himself from Trump’s comments about trade:

“In another break from Trump, Ryan spoke of the need for the U.S. to be a leader in crafting free trade agreements. Trump has made his opposition to trade agreements the centerpiece of his economic argument. Trump wants to revoke the North American Free Trade Agreement and do away with the Obama administration-negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership.”

At the luncheon, Ryan offered a strong defense of NATO in response to Trump’s comments in The New York Times about possibly backing out of the alliance if other countries didn’t contribute their fair share.

Trump had said, “You always have to be prepared to walk. It doesn’t mean I want to walk. And I would prefer not to walk. You have to be prepared and our country cannot afford to do what we’re doing.”

Ryan countered on Tuesday that NATO is an “indispensable ally” and said the agreement is “as important now as I would say it’s been in my lifetime.”

The possibility of a Trump-Vladimir Putin friendship has alarmed some Republicans. Trump has flip-flopped on his impression of Putin throughout the campaign, but many have said he has not been critical enough of the Russian president.

“I never met Putin. I don’t know who Putin is,” Trump said at the Florida news conference. In an interview recorded the same day, he called Putin “a better leader than Obama.”

Here is a Handy List of Hillary's Trillion Dollar Tax Increases

It's the final day of the DNC convention in Philadelphia and Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton is set to take the stage tonight as she tries to redefine herself in front of millions of American voters. 

Will she talk about policy? Her upbringing? How she's just like everyone else? We aren't quite sure, but one thing is for certain: If she makes it to the White House, you'll be paying more in taxes. A whopping $1 trillion more.

Our friends over at American's For Tax Reform, who launched HighTaxHillary.com last year, have made a list of Hillary's tax proposals just in time for her big moment later tonight.

Income Tax Increase - $350 Billion: Clinton has proposed a $350 billion income tax hike in the form of a 28 percent cap on itemized deductions.


Business Tax Increase -- $275 Billion: Clinton has called for a tax hike of at least $275 billion through undefined business tax reform. According to the Clinton campaign document, "Hillary will fully pay for these [Infrastructure] investments through business tax reform."


"Fairness" Tax Increase -- $400 Billion: According to her published plan,Clinton has called for a tax increase of "between $400 and $500 billion" by "restoring basic fairness to our tax code." These proposals include a "fair share surcharge," the taxing of carried interest capital gains as ordinary income, and a hike in the Death Tax.
But there are even more Clinton tax hike proposals not included in the tally above. Her campaign has failed to release specific details for many of her proposals. The true Clinton net tax hike figure is likely much, much higher than $1 trillion.


Capital Gains Tax Increase -- Clinton has proposed an increase in the capital gains tax to counter the "tyranny of today's earnings report." Her plan calls for an overly complex, byzantine capital gains tax regime with six brackets for those whose total taxable income puts them in the top 39.6 percent bracket. Her campaign has not said how much this will increase taxes.


Tax on Stock Trading -- Clinton has proposed a new, unquantified tax on stock trading. The tax increase would only further burden markets by discouraging trading and investment. Inevitably, costs associated with this new tax will be borne by millions of American families that hold 401(k)s, IRAs and other savings accounts.


"Exit Tax" - Rather than reduce the extremely high, uncompetitive corporate tax rate, Clinton has proposed a series of measures aimed at inversions including an "exit tax" - on income earned overseas. The term "exit tax" is used by the campaign itself. This proposal would completely fail to address the underlying causes behind inversions. Her campaign document describing this proposal says it will raise $80 billion in tax revenue, but claims some of the $80 billion will be plowed into tax relief. It does not specify a dollar amount.

Last night Vice President Joe Biden tried to paint Hillary Clinton as a champion of the middle class. Her tax proposals prove the opposite. 

Harry Reid Agrees, The DNC Didn't Give Sanders A Fair Shake

From calling the GOP field losers to lying about Mitt Romney not paying taxes in a decade, the outgoing Senate Minority Leader is just saying pretty much whatever the hell he wants. He’s out. He’s done. Let’s have some fun. While known for raising the blood pressure of Republicans often, Reid now seems to be agreeing with the Bernie camp over the leaked DNC emails that showed staffers might be trying to rig the primary for Hillary Clinton. At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, Reid said that Sanders never got a “fair deal” (via Huffington Post):

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she’s always been good to me. I like her just fine,” Reid said. “I know she’s tried hard, but as some people probably know, I thought Bernie deserved somebody that was not critical to[ward] him. I knew ? everybody knew ? that this was not a fair deal. So I’m sorry she had to resign, but it was the right thing to do. She just should’ve done it sooner.”

[…]

“Bernie really had a movement out there, and it wasn’t right to treat him that way,” Reid said.

So, there you have the most senior Democrat in the Senate agreeing with the Sanders camp that the disheveled Democratic socialist didn’t get a fair shake. Not the best thing when it comes to fostering unity, as 30 percent of Sanders supporters could go either to the Greens or Libertarians. Clinton’s task of bringing this group together might be a more monumental task—and Sen. Tim Kaine surely isn’t an added bonus in that effort. Both he and Clinton are darlings of Wall Street. Let’s see what happens. The Clinton camp completely miscalculated the staying power of her email fiasco. This could be another misfire waiting to happen.

Kesha At DNC: 'We Can Control' Who Gets Weapons–Or What Every Anti-Gun Liberal Actually Thinks

Pop artist Kesha did a brief four-song set at the Democratic National Convention, hosted by former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ pro-gun control Americans for Responsible Solutions. Actress Elizabeth Banks was also there, introducing the artist who took the stage and blurted out this halfway through her set (via The Hill):

“We as a nation, we can’t control who feels hurt, we can’t control who feels pain,” she said.

“You can’t control every single person and know how they’re going to deal with things and know if they’re going to pick up a weapon — you don’t know that,” she continued. “But what we can control is who we give the f---ing weapons to.”

The crowd cheered loudly.

“I think the universe is screaming at us that there needs to be a change, and we have to f---ing listen,” Kesha said, adding that she hoped that “love could heal us” before launching into a song called “Dirty Love.”

“Love trumps hate,” someone in the crowd shouted back.

She may be a singer (who reaches millions of people), but she blurted out what many anti-gun liberals want to enact here. The notion of gun control has never been about safety, but what Kesha noted—control. More government control to the point where they want to ban certain types of firearms and strip gun rights from Americans without due process through terror watch lists. Last night was dotted with hyperbole about America’s non-existent gun violence problem. Mass shootings account for a miniscule fraction of all gun deaths. Is one too many? Of course—but we’re not venturing into a lawless shooting gallery a la Mad Max.

Over the years, the Democrats have included a Second Amendment provision in their platform acknowledging the right to own firearms. Not this year (via Reason):

2000: "A shocking level of gun violence on our streets and in our schools has shown America the need to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them—in ways that respect the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and legitimate gun owners."

2004: "We will protect Americans' Second Amendment right to own firearms."

2008: "We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms."

2012: "We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms."

2016: "While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe.

Remember, Clinton wants Australian-style gun control to be enacted here. She struggled to even say we have an individual right to own guns, even Obama admits that much. Like any anti-gun politician, Clinton wants to control who can exercise one of our oldest civil rights—and those people that are deemed acceptable to liberals are usually the police and the military. Clinton, Kesha, and the rest of the pro-gun control crew think that the Second Amendment is a government right; this is the narrative that we’re against this cycle. And we could very well lose if Lady Macbeth should become the next president of the United States.

Bloomberg's NY Remarks May Be More Offensive Than Cruz's 'New York Values'

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a comment at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night that appears to have been overshadowed by his condemnation of Donald Trump.

“Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us,” Bloomberg said during his speech. “I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”

He went on to further criticize Trump's reality show behavior and shady business activity, but let's hang on a second. Did he just slam his home state? Or at least the Big Apple? What exactly did he mean by saying New Yorkers are all too familiar with con artists?

Furthermore, do his remarks not deserve the same amount of scrutiny that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) received after his now infamous "New York values" remarks during the 2016 Republican primary?

Watch below, judging his tone, etc. and decide. Bloomberg's "con" remarks come at 6:27.

Oof: Nancy Pelosi Also Booed at DNC

It's been a rough week for the unity of the Democrat Party as Bernie Sanders delegates refuse to get in line and back Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia. 

On Monday morning DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is exiting her position and joining the Clinton campaign after the convention on Thursday, was wildly booed offstage by delegates from her home state of Florida after an email dump proved the DNC operated with an anti-Sanders bias during the primary. 

But she isn't the only one who has been booed this week. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a giant in the Democrat Party, was booed Tuesday after claiming delegates were unified behind Clinton. Roll Call has the details:

Democratic discontent with Hillary Clinton was on full display at the California delegation breakfast Monday morning ahead of the first night of the Democratic National Convention.   

Whenever a speaker talked about uniting to elect Clinton in November, the crowd balked. They booed Rep. Michael M. Honda. And chanted, “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie!” during Rep. Barbara Lee’s address.

During speeches by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders himself last night, pro-Sanders delegates booed when Clinton's name was mentioned.

H/T BPR

Here We Go: Ivanka Trump vs. Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump have been friends for a very long time, but that could start to change as the ugly battle for the White House heats up on the campaign trail. 

During her address to the RNC convention last week in Cleveland, Ivanka Trump argued that not only does her father believe in equal pay for equal work, but he's lived it through his companies. 

"At my father's company, there are more female executives than male executives. They are paid equally to men for the work that they do. And when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out," she said. "He is color-blind and gender neutral. He hires the best person for the job, period." 

"Politicians talk about wage equality...my father made a practice for his entire career," she continued.

During an interview for Glamour Magazine at the DNC this week, Chelsea Clinton went after Ivanka by questioning her father's credibility on the issue of equal pay for women and on women's issues in general. From CBS News

Chelsea Clinton challenged her friend, Ivanka Trump Tuesday to ask her father how he would fight to promote rights for working women.

In a Facebook Live event with Glamour magazine, Clinton was asked about her relationship with the younger Trump, a longtime friend of Clinton's.

Glamour Editor in Chief Cindi Leive mentioned Trump's "very passionate speech" at the GOP convention last week, in which the billionaire's daughter "talked about how [her father] would fight for equal pay for equal work and would focus on making quality child care accessible for all."

"So you and Ivanka are friendly, I know," Leive prompted, but "if you got to ask her a question about how her father would do that, what would it be?"

Clinton barely skipped a beat. "It would be that question: 'How would your father do that?'"

"Given it's not something that he has spoken about, there are no policies on any of those fronts that you just mentioned on his website -- not last week, not this week," she said. "So I think the 'how' question is super important. In politics as it is in life."

As the FreeBeacon points out, during her time in the Senate Hillary Clinton paid women far less than she paid men:

While Hillary Clinton has vowed on the campaign trail that she will pour energy into closing the gender wage gap should she win the White House in November, the former first lady stumbled over the issue during her time in the U.S. Senate.

Women who worked for Clinton when she served in Congress were paid 72 cents for each dollar paid to men, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of salary data from her Senate years.

From 2002 to 2008, the median income for a female staff member working in her office was about $15,708 less than the median salary for a man, the report found. 

Battle of the daughters? Bring it on.

It's The Democratic National Convention, So You Know Anti-Israel Shenanigans Were Bound To Happen

Well, it wouldn’t be a Democratic National Convention if some anti-Israel antics didn’t happen. On Tuesday night, a rally for the Free Palestine movement featured an Israeli flag being lit on fire to chants of “Intifada” and “death to the U.S. Empire.”

Clinton’s Jewish outreach director told the Jerusalem Post, Hillary Clinton has always stood against efforts to marginalize Israel and incitement, and she strongly condemns this kind of hatred…burning the Israeli flag is a reckless act that undermines peace and our values."

I know we like to harp on the Democrats booing God at the 2012 convention, which they did, but they also booed Jerusalem be recognized as Israel’s capital as well.

After The Dust Settles, Sanders Says He'll Return to The Senate As An Independent

See ya! That’s what Sen. Bernie Sanders is saying to the Democratic Party after a mere 24 hours after losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton. Sen. Sanders has been an Independent for pretty much the entire duration of his career in public life, though he said he was a Democrat for the primaries last November. For a man who made all these grand gestures at the convention for unity, who suspended the rules so that Clinton could be nominated nearly unanimously by a voice vote, this is sort of a smoke signal to his progressive coalition that maybe they should do the same. In fact, many are already disgusted with the Democratic Party over the latest email flap, where Wikileaks released a trough of emails detailing how staffers at the Democratic National committee worked behind the scenes to undermine Sanders’ candidacy. They were released right before the Democratic Convention and tempers flared on the first day.

Yet, Emily Zanotti of Heat Street, who first reported on the story, noted that—and the postulation that maybe Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the outgoing DNC chair who resigned due to the emails, did her job by allowing Clinton to win, even with the covert ops that were discussed in the emails against Sanders:

If Wasserman Schultz’s job was to ensure that a Democrat got the Democratic party nomination, then she might have been doing her job correctly (even if Bernie’s supporters would disagree).

There’s the additional complication, of course, that Wasserman Schultz was a vocal Clinton supporter, a Clinton surrogate and is now a senior adviser to the campaign, as she’s been officially booted from her DNC duties. But if anyone is vindicating her position, it’s Sanders, dumping the Democratic Party as soon as it was no longer useful.

To some extent, yeah—a Democrat should win the Democratic nomination. The “Bernie’s not really a Democrat” line of attack was used rarely by Clinton on the campaign trail, though she could’ve used it after the southern primaries gave her a significant edge in the delegates count—and definitely could’ve launched that missile at Sanders after the Acela Corridor bloodbath. But she didn’t. Nevertheless, Sanders plans to return to the Senate as an Independent. So, is this a subtle way of pulling a reverse Ted Cruz? Ted refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, with a bizarre call for party unity, but also vote your conscience—a not so subtle way to say screw you, Donald Trump. Sanders called on his supporters to endorse Clinton in Philadelphia, which was marked by boos. He made the gesture for unity again at the roll call vote, but soon made a mad dash towards the exit, which could be viewed as his final moments as a member of the Democratic Party.

I lost so I’m taking my ball home because the Democrats are too centrist. That seems to be the mindset of Sanders supporters right now. As for the Republicans, I’m sure many Never Trump folks would agree that Reince Priebus should’ve engaged in similar covert, and despicable, behind the scenes politicking to defeat Donald Trump, who is also not a Republican in the traditional sense. The only difference is that a) Trump won the nomination; and b) there were 10-15 (depending on whether you’re counting the ones who dropped out before Iowa) candidates who could’ve stopped Trump, but didn’t. At any rate, would the Republicans want to have the chaos that’s engulfing the Democrats right now? Chants in the hall, people climbing over barricades, and the media rambling about Republican disunity—that’s not worth the headache. Compared to Philadelphia, Cleveland was a cakewalk with the fight over the adoption of the rules lasting less than an hour. Intense—yes, but brief. And there weren’t massive delegate walkouts either.

Frankly, I think we can all agree that the party apparatuses should just stick to being referees. Don’t pull a Debbie.

Sanders has caucus with the Democrats since he entered the Senate back in 2007.