Terrific: Team Hillary Using McCarthy's Disastrous Benghazi Comments in New Campaign Ad

Last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the huge mistake of tying Hillary Clinton's nosediving poll numbers directly to the work of the Benghazi Select Committee during an interview on Hannity

"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable, but no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen,” he said. 

Democrats have been able to use the comments as "evidence" the Select Committee was created to go after Hillary Clinton and her presidential run, rather than truly getting to the bottom of what happened. In particular, Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee immediately issued responses to the comments, with some members arguing for the Committee to be shut down.

“This stunning concession from Rep. McCarthy reveals the truth that Republicans never dared admit in public: the core Republican goal in establishing the Benghazi Committee was always to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and never to conduct an even-handed search for the facts. It is shameful that Republicans have used this tragedy and the deaths of our fellow Americans for political gain. Republicans have blatantly abused their authority in Congress by spending more than $4.5 million in taxpayer funds to pay for a political campaign against Hillary Clinton,” Ranking Member Elijah Cummings said in a statement. 

His comments have also come under heavy fire from fellow Republicans and has even prompted a challenge for House Speaker from Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

To no avail, McCarthy tried to clarify his comments during an interview with Special Report.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday that he regrets remarks he made about Hillary Clinton and the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

"This committee was set up for one sole purpose: to find the truth on behalf of the families for four dead Americans," the California Republican said in an evening interview with Fox News' Bret Baier. "Now, I did not intend to imply in any way that that work is political. Of course it is not. Look at the way they have carried themselves out."  

McCarthy also issued a statement this morning about the purpose of the Benghazi Select Committee. 

"The mission of the Select Committee on Benghazi is to find the truth -- Period. The integrity of Chairman Gowdy, the Committee and the work they've accomplished is beyond reproach. The serious questions Secretary Clinton faces are due entirely to her own decision to put classified information at risk and endanger our national security," he said. 

Now, Clinton's official campaign is using the comment in a new campaign ad. Not only does the ad use McCarthy's comments to destroy the credibility of criticism surrounding Benghazi, but it also slams Republicans for the use of millions in taxpayer dollars.

At this point, Benghazi won't sink Clinton's presidential campaign, but it certainly could ruin McCarthy's plans to become Speaker.

Sen. Cotton Blocks Three Obama Ambassador Noms Due to Chaffetz Secret Service Scandal

Until Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) gets answers about the Secret Service's snooping into his colleague Rep. Jason Chaffetz's (R-UT) personal information, President Obama will not be getting a few of his ambassador nominations through Congress.

Chaffetz, chairman of the Oversight Committee, who is challenging Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House, was once denied a job in the Secret Service. He has since been one of the agency's biggest critics, especially in light of the string of incidents at the White House where agents failed to stop intruders from jumping the fence. In what has largely been seen as payback, the government agency accessed the congressman's personal information from a secret database and leaked it to the media.

Incensed by the Secret Service's treatment of Chaffetz, Cotton spoke on the Senate floor Monday explaining why he's taking action against the Obama administration:

"The gravity of this scandal hasn't thus far been met with appropriate action from the highest levels of the executive branch," Cotton said on the Senate floor. "Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson stated last week that he's 'confident U.S. Secret Service Director Joe Clancy will take appropriate action to hold accountable those who violated any laws or policies of this Department.' This response is woefully inadequate on multiple counts."

Cotton is halting the nominations of Cassandra Butts as ambassador to Bahamas, Azita Raji as ambassador to Sweden and Samuel Heins as ambassador to Norway. 

"The executive branch needs to take it much more seriously than they have," Cotton reemphasized on Fox News Tuesday morning. "There needs to be a criminal investigation."

Oregon Community Rocked By Campus Shooting: We Don't Want Obama Here

Just hours after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Rosenberg, Oregon last week, President Obama stepped to the microphones at the White House to deliberately politicize the tragedy in the name of gun control. 

“Somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize,” he said, admittedly without all of the facts surrounding the situation. "We should be changing these [gun control] laws."

Now the community affected by the shooting is saying no thanks to an official Obama visit, which is scheduled for later this week. Why? They don't want Obama standing on the graves of their dead for political reasons.

President Barack Obama will travel to Oregon this week to visit privately with families of the victims of last week's shooting at a community college.

However the trip has angered locals in Roseburg who say Obama is 'not welcome' in the town because the visit will be nothing but a 'grandstand for political purposes'.  

Lee Stranahan has the video:

No word yet on who exactly President Obama plans to visit while he's in town or how long he'll stay.

Ben Carson Promotes ‘I Am a Christian’ Trend After Tragic Oregon Shooting

Presidential candidate Ben Carson kickstarted a very popular trend this weekend with one simple, yet beautiful message.

The picture has now garnered over 1.4 million likes on Facebook and 7,400 retweets.

Carson chose to boldly express his faith after the tragic mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The murderer, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, demanded students stand and state their religion before firing, multiple witnesses reported.

People of faith face persecution around the globe. Pastors are imprisoned in Iran and ISIS just murdered 12 Christians for refusing to renounce their faith, as Leah reported earlier today. Now, it appears hate-filled people are targeting Christians here in the States, where we have the freedom to worship.

Thanks to Dr. Carson for encouraging Christians not to be afraid to announce the most important characteristic about them.

Deal Reached In Trans-Pacific Partnership

Douglas Holtz-Eakin of American Action Forum noted this morning that the clock was ticking on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as no one wants to be dealing with this when election season gets going.  The deal is projected to add $80 billion in national income, with an additional $125 billion in exports. The trade deal, which involved 40 percent of the world’s economy, apparently reached an agreement in Atlanta after days of negotiations.

According to The New York Times, the deal would gradually eliminate thousands of trade tariffs, establish rules for intellectual property, expand Internet rights, curb wildlife trafficking, and protect against environmental abuses. Nevertheless, President Obama still faces an uphill battle in Congress, where anti-trade Democrats and Tea Party Republicans refuse to support the deal for various reasons. Democrats think that the agreement will further gut American jobs for working class Americans, while conservatives don’t want to give any more power to Obama–and also have taken a more populist tone on trade. As for progressives, they’re skeptical that this agreement would improve labor conditions and protect the environment:

The Pacific accord would phase out thousands of import tariffs as well as other barriers to international trade. It also would establish uniform rules on corporations’ intellectual property, open the Internet even in communist Vietnam and crack down on wildlife trafficking and environmental abuses.


Several potentially deal-breaking disputes had kept the 12 trade ministers talking through the weekend and forced them repeatedly to reschedule the promised Sunday announcement of the deal into the evening and beyond. Final compromises covered commercial protections for drug makers’ advanced medicines, more open markets for dairy products and sugar, and a slow phaseout — over two to three decades — of the tariffs on Japan’s autos sold in North America.


The Office of the United States Trade Representative said the partnership eventually would end more than 18,000 tariffs that the participating countries have placed on United States exports, including autos, machinery, information technology and consumer goods, chemicals and agricultural products ranging from avocados in California to wheat, pork and beef from the Plains states.

Japan’s other barriers, like regulations and design criteria that effectively keep out American-made cars and light trucks, would come down.

While many opponents say the trade pact will kill jobs or send them overseas, the administration contends that the United States has more to gain from freer trade with the Pacific nations. Eighty percent of those nations’ exports to the United States are already duty-free, officials say, while American products face assorted barriers in those countries that would end.


The accord for the first time would require state-owned businesses like those in Vietnam and Malaysia to comply with commercial trade rules and labor and environmental standards…


Unions and human rights groups have been skeptical at best that Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei will improve labor conditions, or that Malaysia will stop human trafficking of poor workers from Myanmar and Southeast Asia. The United States reached separate agreements with the three nations on enforcing labor standards, which would allow American tariffs to be restored if a nation is found in violation after a dispute-settlement process.

There are a few concessions. The article noted that the agreement isn’t as tough on currency manipulation, which is why the Ford Motor Company is against TPP in its current form. Additionally, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said he would withdraw his support for TPP if the current provision that cuts down the time in which brand-name pharmaceuticals can keep their biologics data secret, is cut. Biologics are medicines derived from living things–and American pharmaceutical companies have a 12-year window to keep that information private.

If the fight over Trade Promotional Authority (aka “fast track”) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (a program that helps workers whose jobs might be affected by free trade) are any indicators, then the final passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will probably go down as one of the most difficult pieces of legislation for Obama to get pass Congress since Obamacare.  For starters, 151 members of the House Democratic Caucus is against TPP.

Fast track authority was critical for Obama, as it assures the other nations that America would speed up the approval process, giving an up-or-down vote on whatever agreement is in question. No filibuster or amendments can be logrolled into the agreement if this authority is granted.

Obama got this authority, but only after a stinging defeat at the hands of his own party over TAA. The president signaled that he wouldn’t sign off on TPA without the TAA provision. Being that TPA/TAA was a packaged deal in its initial form, the Democrats torpedoing the TAA provision stopped any advance on Obama’s trade agenda. Congress then voted on TPA and TAA separately, which was successful. When TPA passed, there was no reason for Democrats to use TAA, as leverage.

The initial debate about TPP saw Obama going head-to-head against some prominent members of his own party, getting involved in intra-party squabbles that he normally stayed out of for most of his presidency. 

TPP involves the United States, Peru, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, New Zealand, Chile, Canada, and Mexico.

Connecticut Dunkin' Donuts Tells Police Officer They 'Don’t Serve Cops Here'

It’s happened yet again. Another franchise telling police officers they won’t be served because they put their lives on the line to uphold the law. This incident brings us to New England, where a Dunkin’ Donuts employee in Hartford, Connecticut told an officer standing in line that they don’t serve law enforcement (via PIX 11):

According to police, the officer was standing at the back of the line when an employee looked over at him said loudly, “He didn’t get the message. We don’t serve cops here.”

As the officer left the store, he was approached by the manager and the employee who apologized, stating it was just a joke.

The officer told the employee she should apologize to the people in the store who appeared to take offense to her comment. The employee then apologized to the patrons and offered the officer a free coffee.

He declined and said he would go to a different store.

This idiocy, and other like-minded incidents of disrespect, has been occurring across the country. In Texas, a Whataburger employee was fired after refusing to serve two off-duty two police officers, both of whom were working security at a construction site. A police officer from Newton, Kansas received his Taco Bell order with the word “PIG” written on the wrappers. In an incident similar to Dunkin’ Donuts, a police officer in Florida was told by an Arby’s manager at the drive-thru window that an employee doesn’t want to serve her. In the end, it seemed to be a misunderstanding, and the whole incident was meant to be taken as a joke. It was costly. The manager was fired and the clerk was suspended.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ senior director for global public relations, Michelle King, said in a statement that the coffee and donut giant is aware of the situation, with the franchise owner–and long-time supporter of police, reaching out to local law enforcement to apologize as well.

Protip for all the comedians out there: don't joke about refusing service to police officers in light of current events. It could cost you your job, you look like an idiot, and you'll rightfully experience the wrath of social media. It's not fair to the people who employ you, so cut it out.

Watch: Planned Parenthood Fact Checks Planned Parenthood on Mammograms

The people over at Live Action put together an amusing video that shows how Planned Parenthood has duped the public into believing that they provide mammograms:

No Planned Parenthood clinics have mammogram machines, but some do offer manual breast exams.

MSNBC: Fiorina 'Terrifying' to Democrats

Carly Fiorina's stellar debate performances have vaulted her candidacy into the upper echelon of GOP contenders -- both nationally and in New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.  As we noted earlier, a pair of general election NBC News polls show the former business executive leading Hillary Clinton by eight points in that state, and a whopping 14 point margin in Iowa.  MSNBC's Morning Joe crew (alongside Hugh Hewitt) mulled over these numbers earlier, with left-leaning co-host Mika Brzezinski declaring the prospect of facing Fiorina "terrifying" to national Democrats:

Liberal columnist Mike Barnicle chimed in, arguing that Fiorina presents as the "direct opposite" of Hillary Clinton in the campaign: "Every time she appears in the debate, I think somewhere in a voter’s mind, they contrast her with Hillary Clinton, and Hillary loses," he said.  Fiorina has been disciplined, informed and focused on the trail thus far.  She's answered every question thrown her way -- including a more than a few high hard ones -- and has even directly engaged critics protesting her events.  Hillary Clinton has been evasive, aloof, annoyed and inconsistent.  "Direct opposites," indeed.  Fiorina also presents an obvious clear and present danger to the Clinton campaign's longer-term identity politics strategy.  Then again, if Fiorina were to win the GOP nomination, her tenure as CEO of Hewlett Packard would no doubt become a major issue in the campaign.  Democrats would try to "Romneyize" her, painting her as a ruthless CEO who laid off thousands of workers while lining her own pockets.  Fiorina seemed prepared for this criticism in an exchange with Donald Trump and moderator Jake Tapper at the CNN/Salem Radio debate last month:

She has a proactive case to make on the HP issue, and she's demonstrated that she'll make it, aggressively.  But Democrats would definitely have several lines of attack to pursue.  Fiorina must be ready to parry and counter-attack, a task that may be made easier if Democrats nominate their frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.  Clinton is a privileged plutocrat and a multimillionaire; hardly a credible carrier of the "average Joe" mantle.  Another potential pitfall for the Fiorina camp was resurrected today by the Washington Post, which quotes sources who say Fiorina's 2010 US Senate campaign still owes hundreds of thousands in unpaid bills to vendors and staffers:

Upon his death, Fiorina praised Shumate as “the heart and soul” of her team. She issued a news release praising him as a person who believed in “investing in those he worked with” and offering her “sincerest condolences” to his widow. But records show there was something that Fiorina did not offer his widow: Shumate’s last paycheck, for at least $30,000. It was one of more than 30 invoices, totaling about $500,000, that the multimil­lionaire didn’t settle — even as Fiorina reimbursed herself nearly $1.3 million she lent the campaign. She finally cleared most of the balance in January, a few months before announcing her run for president. “Occasionally, I’d call and tell her she should pay them,” said Martin Wilson, Fiorina’s former campaign manager, who found Shumate after the pollster collapsed from a heart attack. “She just wouldn’t.

Asked to account for these reported outstanding IOU's, the Fiorina campaign side-stepped the issue in a statement to Hot Air's Jazz Shaw (see update):

It’s interesting that the Washington Post—to my knowledge—never ran a similar front page headline about Hillary. Hillary, a multi, multi-millionaire, held $20 million in campaign debt for over 4 years. That’s roughly 40 times the amount the 2010 senate campaign had—but the Washington Post barely mentions it. And let’s not forget this is the same media organization that was widely mocked after trying to claim Carly wasn’t a secretary while noting she had been a full time secretary after college. It’s becoming obvious that the Left and their allies in the media are terrified of Carly because she is everything Hillary isn’t—a candidate from outside the political class whose authenticity and grasp of the issues connects with voters because she has the track record to challenge the status quo.

These are savvy digs at Hillary Clinton and the Washington Post, but they're not good enough.  Fiorina should address the actual issue at hand, take responsibility, and make things right.  Showing the capacity to be an attack dog is important, but more will be expected of a presidential nominee.  I'll leave you with this, from the insightful Dan McLaughlin:

UPDATE - The Fiorina camp has reached out to clarify a key point: Carly's full 2010 campaign debt "was paid off nearly a year ago," Sarah Isgur Flores writes in an email to Townhall. "The FEC terminated the [campaign] committee, so it's all done." In other words, the crux of WaPo's story is that it took Fiorina years to tie up these loose ends; slow, subject to criticism, but hardly unprecedented. That's why Team Carly is highlighting the parallel Hillary example: Her campaign owed tens of millions of dollars after she lost the 2008 Democratic primary, and the ledger wasn't totally settled for more than four years.

ISIS Executes 12 Christians For Refusing to Renounce Faith

In the latest display of ISIS's barbarity, jihadists tortured and brutally murdered 12 Christians, including the 12-year-old son of a Syrian ministry team leader, for refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus and embrace Islam. The attack, which only recently came to light, occurred in an unnamed town outside of Aleppo, Syria on Aug. 28. 

"In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam," humanitarian group Christian Aid Mission revealed, reports The Gospel Herald. "When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion."

They were killed for refusing to return to Islam after embracing Christianity, as were the other eight aid workers, including two women, according to Christian Aid. The eight were taken to a separate site in the village and asked if they would return to Islam. However, after they refused to renounce Christ, the women, ages 29 and 33, were raped before the crowd summoned to watch, and then all eight were beheaded.

They prayed as they knelt before the Islamic State militants, according to the ministry leader Christian Aid assists, who spoke with relatives and villagers while visiting the site.

"Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord's Prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus," the ministry director told Christian Aid. "One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, 'Jesus!'"

In a manner reflective of Christ's crucifixion, the bodies of those killed were then hung on crosses for display.

The twelve martyrs are among thousands of Christians who have been ransomed, tortured, beheaded and killed over the past year by the Islamic State, a hardline Muslim group determined to wipe Christianity off the Middle Eastern map.

Patrick Sookhdeo, founder of Barnabas Fund, a charity that seeks to provide hope and relief to the persecuted church, told the Daily Express that “were are dealing with a group which makes Nazism pale in comparison.”

Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011 the Christian population has dropped by roughly two-thirds. In Iraq, Christianity is practically nonexistent, falling from around 1.5 million in 2003 to under 200,000 now.

"Crucifying these people is sending a message and they are using forms of killing which they believe have been sanctioned by Sharia law," Sookhdeo added. "For them what they are doing is perfectly normal and they don't see a problem with it. It is that religious justification which is so appalling."

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan To Challenge Ayotte in 2016

The speculation is over; New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is going to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016. While Ayotte leads Hassan in the latest polls, which have been updated regularly, it’s safe to assume that she will be facing a tough re-election battle next year; Ayotte won a landslide victory in 2010, clinching 60 percent of the vote. Don’t expect that this time around.

In her video announcing her senate run, Hassan played up her bipartisan approach in Concord, how both Democrats and Republicans “held the line” against a sales and income tax, and balanced the budget. Hassan also outlined how both parties cut taxes for small businesses and research and development. As a result, Hassan claims that her governorship created a business friendly environment in the state, reducing unemployment to its lowest level since 2008.

She then added the typical we can do better mantra for teachers, the middle class, police, senior citizens, and women, who have had their access to health care threatened by the Planned Parenthood fiasco. Of course, she had to add that point into the mix.

So far, Ayotte has $5 million in the bank, and raised $1.6 million in the third quarter of this year. She’s in decent shape financially, but Hassan is popular, has won two statewide races before, and will be running during a presidential year. She's bound to be a solid opponent, with Ayotte trying to convince a very different electorate in a presidential year. The last time New Hampshire went Republican in a national contest was during the 2000 presidential race.

As for the bipartisan warrior bit, the New Hampshire Union Leader is already hitting her for that claim, saying she’s not credible on that front.

Bloomberg's Anti-Gun Group Pushes Obama to Take Executive Action on Gun Control

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun advocacy group Everytown is putting pressure on President Obama to use his pen to implement new gun control measures through executive action. 

In an effort to exploit the murders at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week, Everytown has issued a report with actions they claim will "save lives" and "keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people."

"This report answers the President’s call, and offers five life-saving measures that the Administration could advance — today — to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," the Everytown website states. "These five critical — and simple — steps would: keep dangerous people with guns out of our schools; crack down on gun trafficking and curb the sale of guns without background checks; ensure that law enforcement identifies and prosecutes the most dangerous criminals who try to illegally obtain guns; help states to enforce their own background check laws; and ensure that all convicted domestic abusers are prohibited from possessing guns. A comprehensive list of these and other recommended executive actions is set forth in the appendix to this report."  

The executive action recommendations: 

1. Issue guidance to ensure that dangerous people are not permitted to carry guns within 1,000 feet of a school;
2. Issue a regulation clarifying that high-volume gun sellers are “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms and must obtain dealer licenses and comply with applicable laws, including background checks on all gun sales;
3. Instruct federal law enforcement to identify and arrest dangerous criminals who try to buy illegal guns, and to notify and work with state and local authorities when these illegal purchases are attempted;
4. Assist states in enforcing their existing background check laws by publishing aggregate background check denial data for guns sold by unlicensed sellers; and
5. Protect victims of domestic abuse by clarifying that convicted abusers are prohibited from having guns regardless of marital status.

I should note:

1) The vast majority of schools are already "gun free zones" by law with the goal of banning "dangerous people with guns out of schools." 

2) It is already illegal to operate as a business selling firearms with the intent of making a profit without an FFL.

3) The U.S. already has laws that allow law enforcement to identify and prosecute dangerous criminals who try to illegal buy guns but under President Obama, prosecution of these crimes and enforcement of these laws are down significantly.

4) Oregon in particular has a universal background check system which didn't stop the murders last week.

5) Convicted domestic abusers are already banned from purchasing firearms.

As Everytown notes, President Obama lamented the lack of action from Congress to implement more gun control during remarks last week and said he can't change current laws by himself. Everytown seems to think he can and that he should.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said over the weekend she would use executive action to implement more gun control should she win the race for the White House in 2016.

Poll: Hillary Now Trails Trump, Jeb, Carly in New Hampshire and Iowa

Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, two key nominating states and general election battlegrounds, have had quite a lot of exposure to Hillary Clinton through campaign rallies, meet-and-greets, and millions of dollars in television advertising. Democrat-leaners in the two early states have't been impressed; self-described Socialist Bernie Sanders has inexorably gained on her on Iowa, and has led in every major New Hampshire survey since August.  NBC News is out with fresh polling data from the Hawkeye and Granite States that may stir additional consternation in Democratic circles. Iowa:

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She's down ten to Jeb, down seven to Trump, and trails Fiorina by 14 points in hypothetical match-ups.  In New Hampshire, Hillary holds a modest three-point lead over Donald Trump, but has fallen behind Bush and Fiorina by seven and eight-point margins, respectively. Bernie Sanders outperforms her against all three potential GOP rivals -- leading Trump in both states, and Carly in New Hampshire.  In fairness, head-to-head numbers tend to bounce around, so their utility in predicting voters' actions 13 months from now is spotty at best.  The Clinton campaign should be more concerned about several enduring trends: First, President Obama's job approval rating is underwater in Iowa (38/55) and New Hampshire (43/51). Any Democratic nominee -- Clinton and Biden especially -- will be tied to the Obama legacy. Second, Mrs. Clinton's personal favorability remains quite weak in these critical states, in which she's spent so much time and money since launching (and re-launching) her campaign (Iowa, then New Hampshire):

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Roughly six in ten registered voters hold unfavorable views of Hillary Clinton, with almost nobody undecided, thanks to her brand saturation.  The only other candidate polled in these surveys whose numbers are this far upside-far down is...Donald Trump, sitting at (-23) in Iowa -- on par with Hillary -- and (-33) in New Hampshire, significantly worse than her. Whatever small bounce Hillary have have gained from her please like me performance on SNL this past weekend, she may well have erased it in an interview with NBC this morning.  She abandoned all pretense of contrition over her email scandal, blithely asserting that she's been historically transparent and suggesting that the continued focus on the issue is "beyond the pale:"

This arrogant, dishonest career politician is attempting to disqualify questions pertaining to her improper email arrangement as illegitimate. Unfortunately for her, the FBI is investigating her server scheme, which violated federal rules and compromised reams of classified material -- and about which she's lied repeatedly. She's been shown to have withheld emails that she claimed under penalty of perjury to have already turned over, a process that only commenced under intense public pressure and court orders. Cease and desist with your impertinent questions, Her Majesty demands. And she wonders why people don't like or trust her.

Gov. Haley: 9 Dead After Historic Floods

Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) held a somber press conference Monday to address the frightening situation in her state as South Carolina enters its third straight day of flooding. Weather-related events, she said, have now claimed nine lives across the Carolinas.

South Carolina has already received 50 percent of its annual rainfall, Haley said. It is the worst flooding in the state’s history. While Hurricane Joaquin seems like the obvious source of the devastating floods, CNN reports it may be more complicated than that:

The low pressure area associated with the rain soaking the Carolinas is funneling heavy tropical moisture into the region, creating the torrential rainfall, the CNN Weather Center said.

While Hurricane Joaquin is predicted to miss the U.S., water connected to the storm is feeding torrential rain on the East Coast.

The moisture the storm is pulling in is also associated with Hurricane Joaquin, but the two systems shouldn't be confused.

Haley said she was late to today’s presser because she had just got off the phone with President Obama, who she said was “extremely gracious” in his comments and “concerned” about the life-threatening situation her citizens are facing.

Some positive news: National Guardsmen and water rescue teams have worked together to make over 150 rescues and the rain is expected to stop soon.

Yet, the flooding will persist. To avoid any more tragic casualties, Haley plead with her state to avoid the elements at any cost:

“If you’re in your house – stay in your house," she said. "This is not the time to take pictures.”

Chicago Had A Horror Show Of A Week With Reported Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

Since Tuesday, almost 75 people have overdosed on a rather dangerous batch of heroin, which authorities suspect is laced with fentanyl. The painkiller-laced heroin sent 14 people to Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago on Friday alone, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Drug Enforcement Administration has stepped in to help Chicago police find the source of the drugs, which have some patients taking two to three doses of Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of opioids, in order to bring them out of their heroin-induced state. The Tribune added that a similar case with laced heroin occurred in 2006:

In all, nearly 75 people have overdosed in Chicago since Tuesday afternoon from dangerous batches of narcotics, possibly heroin laced with the painkiller fentanyl, according to city health and fire officials. Police were investigating if at least one recent death was caused by a heroin overdose.

"We suspect what is happening is the same thing that happened in 2006 when people were getting heroin that was cut with fentanyl, which is a very strong narcotic," said Diane Hincks, a registered nurse and emergency room director at Mount Sinai on the West Side. "That's what we think is happening."

By early Friday afternoon, emergency crews had responded to 74 cases over 72 hours, more than double the same three-day period last year, said Larry Langford, spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.

Hincks said some of the 14 overdose victims treated at Mount Sinai had collapsed as soon as they injected themselves. The hospital typically sees two or three overdoses a day, she said.

Two of Mount Sinai's patients were in intensive care, another was still undergoing treatment, seven had been discharged and a few more were still in the emergency room as of about 3 p.m, Hincks said.

Chicago police said the drugs were purchased primarily at two locations on the West Side, one of them in the North Lawndale community. A sample of heroin recovered by police may have contained fentanyl, authorities said.

On top of that, the last weekend of September saw the Windy City experiencing another bloody weekend of shootings that killed four and wounded 52. According to NBC Chicago, it marks the second weekend in a row in which over 50 people were shot. The violence continued into that following Monday–September 28–where 14 people were shot in 15 hours:

According to a Chicago Tribune analysis, at least 2,300 people have been shot in the city so far this year, roughly 400 more than in the same period last year.

Last month, the New York Times reported Chicago saw the sixth highest murder rate increase so far this year when compared with other U.S. cities. The report indicated the city had 294 murders by the end of August, a 20 percent increase from 2014. According to Chicago police data, that number rose to 349 as of Sept. 20, up 21 percent from the year before.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday [Sept. 29] that he was "angry" about the recent shootings in the city.

"I'm going to try to control my anger," he said. "We have way too many guns in the city of Chicago."

Originally, many thought Illinois' latest recognition of carry laws, and the implementation of concealed carry, would cut down on the violence. It’s led to predominantly black and Hispanic communities in the city to line up for their respective permits. For a time after the implementation of concealed carry, Chicago’s murder rate dropped to its lowest levels since 1958, and robberies had decreased by 20 percent. Nevertheless, Illinois’ concealed carry laws are restrictive, and the state, overall, isn’t friendly to gun owners. Maybe instead of discussing tougher penalties for people who don’t care about law, Mayor Emanuel should consider loosening the city’s stringent anti-gun laws because the pro-gun control way isn’t working. It’s only making the butcher’s bill longer.

"Do You Get How Bad it Looks?": Today Show Grills Hillary on Emails

Hillary Clinton was clearly annoyed by Savannah Guthrie's line of questioning during a "Pancakes and Politics" town hall event in New Hampshire Monday. The Today Show host posed several unflattering questions to Clinton about her inability to connect to voters and brewing email scandal.

"They just don't connect with you, they don't trust you, they might not like you," Guthrie began.

"Oh, that really hurts my feelings!" Clinton responded.

Since journalists aren't supposed to let a politicians' feelings get in the way of an important question, Guthrie posed the issue to the Democratic presidential candidate again: "Are you having a problem connecting?"

"Well I don't know," Clinton said. "You can ask me that and it's not the nicest question to hear because I feel I have a long record of working on the issues I believe are important to people and I'm going to continue to do that...I'll admit I'm a more reserved person then maybe some people in politics are..." 

But, Clinton was quick to point to her appearance on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend as proof she "also likes to have a good time."

Guthrie then shifted to another unpopular topic with Clinton: her use of a private server as secretary of state. After pointing out that Clinton has contradicted herself by offering an apology for her unsecure handling of classified material, while also dismissing it as a GOP agenda, Guthrie asked, "If you're blaming the Republicans, how genuine is that apology?"

"It's both," she said. "I'm sorry that I made a choice that has resulted in this kind of situation and I've said I made a mistake. Obviously if I had to do it over again I wouldn't...But it's also as we now know very clearly the way the Republicans are trying to, as they admit, bring my poll numbers down. So I'm very committed to answering questions and being as transparent as possible."

Clinton was referencing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's recent comments that suggested the GOP created the Benghazi Select Committee as a means to hurt her politically. He has since walked back those remarks and other Republicans have rejected them as "absolutely terrible." 

Clinton said she's looking forward to testifying before the Benghazi committee later this month and answering "real questions," yet repeated that it "is nothing but a partisan exercise."

Guthrie acknowledged Clinton's claim that the State Department may have allowed her to use a private server, yet she insisted, "Do you get how bad it looks?

"Well, Savannah first of all it was allowed," Clinton irritatingly answered. "And I've said it wasn't the best choice and every government official gets to decide what is personal and work-related. If I had two separate accounts, as many people do obviously, I would have decided every hour what was personal, what was work-related...I have gone further than anyone in American history, as long as we've had emails I've gone longer and farther to try and be as transparent as possible. Nobody else has done that."

Just to be sure Guthrie and the town hall attendees were clear, Clinton expanded on what she thought of the email brouhaha, calling it "beyond the pale."

To be fair, Hillary did admit she was ashamed about one aspect of this unfolding controversy:

"I'm a little embarrassed the emails are so boring."

ATF Agent Stole $20,000 in Taxpayer Money After Submitting Fraudulent Work Hours

Former Georgia ATF Task Force Officer Daryle McCormick has plead guilty to stealing nearly $20,000 in taxpayer money from 2013 to 2015 after submitting 800 overtime hours that he didn't work for payment. 

According to the FBI, ATF agents are required to affirm certification in writing when submitting hours for overtime payment. 

"“I certify that the above time was duly earned. I understand that my misstatement concerning the aforementioned time may be cause for dismissal," the certification McCormick repeatedly signed states.

McCormick's hours were approved and payment was issued, but a retroactive investigation was launched after suspicions arose McCormick wasn't working the hours he claimed.

“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that federally deputized task force officers will be held to the same standards as other federal law enforcement officers,” Special Agent in Charge of the DOJ Office of the Miami Inspector General Field Office Robert Bourbon said in a statement.

“McCormick’s lies about the overtime he worked cost the taxpayers almost $20,000,” U.S. Attorney John Horn added. “In committing this crime, McCormick violated both the law and the public��s trust.” 

Last year, the House of Representatives introduced legislation in an effort to limit overtime abuses by federal employees.

'Humor:' Hillary Does SNL

Hillary Clinton's planned spontaneity tour brought her to NBC's Studio 8H this weekend for a widely-reported guest appearance on Saturday Night Live. This sketch provides a few laughs, and lots of cringeworthy awkwardness, particularly during the musical number:

Unsurprisingly, fake Hillary is funnier and more charming than the real deal -- who also seems almost genetically incapable of singing, or even snapping, along with "lean on me."  Clinton's self-depricating jokes fall into two categories: I'm perceived as a little uptight, and I should have adopted more liberal issue stances, sooner.  Hilarious.  Former SNL mainstay Tina Fey wrote in her memoirs that when prominent figures appear on the show  to signal that they're 'in on the joke' (she calls these bits "sneaker uppers"), it usually results in unfunny writing: "Comedy writers hate Sneaker Uppers. On a pure writing level, it's just lame.  But like other lame things…people seem to love it," Fey writes.  And so it came to pass.  Vague lameness, endured gamely by talented comic Kate McKinnon -- who's stated publicly that she's "obviously" rooting for Hillary in 2016 -- and marginally improved by a brief cameo from Darrell Hammond as Bill.  The whole vibe of the segment, alongside a number of ham-fisted 'Weekend Update' jokes, wasn't subtle:

Yeah, pretty much. The Daily Beast's Kevin Fallon describes the episode as "basically a Hillary Clinton campaign ad,' which is difficult to dispute.  The inherent comedic lameness of thinly-disguised, barely-amusing political boosterism is self evident, but much like Hillary's televised advertising to date, one suspects it wasn't especially effective.  Generating more laughs, as opposed to "clapter," would have required tackling Hillary's obvious weakness: The poll-battering, credibility-draining, national security-compromising email scandal -- about which Mrs. Clinton evidently isn't joking anymore.  Recent national surveys show that a majority of voters hold an unfavorable view of the Democratic frontrunner, with an even larger percentage deeming her to be untrustworthy.  Perhaps "Val" would fare better, but unless the current trajectory is disrupted, Democrats will be stuck with the real Hillary Clinton.

Coast Guard Believes the El Faro Sank in Storm

The container ship El Faro, with 28 Americans and five Poles on board, lost contact on Thursday en route to Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, FL. The ship sent out a distress call saying that she had lost power and was taking on water. Today, the Coast Guard announced that they believe the ship sank during Hurricane Joaquin.

As of writing, no members of the crew have been discovered, but a large debris field of cargo and an oil slick consistent with El Faro were found over the weekend. The search for survivors continues. The El Faro was equipped with state-of-the-art lifeboats and abandon ship drills are conducted weekly.

A horrible tragedy. Please pray for the crew and their families.

UPDATE: Per the USCG press conference Monday at 10 EDT, one set of human remains (in a survival suit) has been discovered as well as one life raft, which was empty. The remains have not been identified as of now. The search for any survivors continues.

New Poll: Fiorina Gains on Trump, Soars to Second in New Hampshire

Voters in New Hampshire have taken notice of Carly Fiorina's stellar debate performances and campaigning on the ground in the Granite State. 

According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released over the weekend, Fiorina has surged to second place and has gained significant ground against frontrunner Donald Trump. Since last month, Fiorina has gained 10 percent among voters while Trump has seen a seven percent drop in support. Senator Marco Rubio has seen a seven percent jump in support. 

Fiorina is also topping the field as voters' favorite second choice. 

The new numbers are also an indication Trump's personal attacks about Fiorina's physical appearance have failed.

The next GOP presidential debate will be held Wednesday, October 28 at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

School Shooting Plot Foiled In California

Four students have been arrested for planning to commit a mass shooting at their school, according to USA Today:

Among the evidence, deputies said they found a list of the names of the targeted victims. Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele said the students confessed.

When asked what they said, Mele responded: "that they were going to come on campus and shoot and kill as many people as possible."

The suspects were taken into custody Saturday and attended Summerville High School in Tuolumne, California. These arrests come after Chris Harper-Mercer committed a similar act of horror at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon last week. Mercer killed nine people in the attack before committing suicide after engaging with police.

As it’s been previously reported by The New York Times, perpetrators of mass shootings fit a profile, though it’s one that’s also shared by million of other Americans who don’t commit acts of violence. Most of the firearms used in these attacks are purchased legally, and often the shooters exhibit symptoms of mental illness. Furthermore, the perpetrators sometimes specifically target individuals, like with this foiled plot, or shoot their victims at random, which makes detection of something that’s already unpredictable more difficult.

In this instance, an alert student body alerted the authorities when they overheard the four suspects detailing their plans for this horrific attack (via the Modesto Bee):

No weapons were found, but Mele said the students were in the process of trying to obtain some to carry out the attack.

“(They were) pretty dog-gone close. (Close) enough to keep me up last night, to keep my detectives and lieutenants up last night. There was an event that would be coming up that they specifically talked about,” Mele said. “To talk about specifically what, I don’t want to, but enough to move forward ... that we took four children away from their homes in order to protect other children.”

Mele said he did not know the motive for the planned attack, though he said bullying and cyber-bullying continues to be a problem on campuses across the country. He also addressed the issue of violence in the media.

“I have no idea why a group of individuals would want to do this,” he said. “When we turn on the TV, violence is always on, or at our fingertips on the computer. I think children today have a hard time trying to understand the difference between what is reality and fiction. To say why, I don’t know why. I do know the discussion needs to start not only in our community, but throughout the nation, about what can we do to stop this violence.”

Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter said his office will collect the information about the case from the sheriff’s department at the beginning of the week and begin to decide what charges will be filed. The four suspects will be arraigned as juveniles before a Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge.

Nevertheless, good police work, Tuolumne County. Many lives were saved.

Even Vox Says That Mass Shootings Are ‘A Small Portion Of All Gun Violence’

In the aftermath of the horrific Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, the reaction from the pro-gun control crowd was as expected–the NRA is a terrorist organization, and we should have a nationwide gun control campaign. The former point is just plain absurdity. The latter is already happening, albeit with zero success. Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), is already spewing the false “40 percent of gun sales are conducted without background check” talking point. Yet, while the data crunchers keep doling out information about mass shootings, even the left-leaning Vox admitted that mass shootings represents a very small proportion of all gun violence. Violent crime and gun deaths have gone down again, and this narrative that the county has a gun violence epidemic doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. 

The article’s articles second, third and fifth points about how gun violence in America detail the typical points espoused by the president and other gun control advocates. Australia is the gold standard for new gun control laws, Americans support gun control measures, but Congress prevents them from being enacted, and more guns equals more deaths. As the National Review noted through information obtained through Pew Research and the National Institute of Justice, the last point simply isn’t true. Moreover, David Freddosso at the Washington Examiner aptly noted that the data used by gun control zealots often detail overall gun deaths in America, not those specifically attributed to a violent incident.

Regarding Australia’s gun control laws, which the anti-gun left salivates over, it’s not going to happen here. It’s straight-up gun confiscation, which would require federal agents going door-to-door asking people disarm themselves. You’re on bath salts if this is within the realm of possibility. The point about Americans supporting stricter gun laws isn’t true either. According to Pew, gun rights are at a 25-year high–and Gallup noted that support for new gun control laws has sunk to 47 percent since Newtown. 

The Pew data used in the Vox piece was right after Newtown, where support for anything relating to gun control was higher than usual. While the National Rifle Association we’re getting their teeth kicked in during this time, the irony is that one of their policies–having armed guards in schools–was immensely popular. Bans on high-capacity magazines are impossible to enforce, with millions are already in circulation. It’s window dressing and fundraising fodder for the anti-gun left. Most striking was the 39/58 split in support for a ban on semi-automatic weapons. This strikes me as a wording issue with the poll, and members of the news media are show their ignorance when they say a semi-automatic handgun was discovered at crime scene x in news reports.

All handguns for civilian use are semi-automatic, or self-reloading, weapons systems. In short, semi-automatic weapons require the shooter to pull the trigger each time in order to discharge a round. An automatic weapon shoots multiple rounds per trigger pull, and those weapons are an entirely different story regarding ownership.

Civilians may own such firearms, though that person would need to get a permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives via the National Firearms Act, which takes almost a year to process. Additionally, all registered firearms are in a database maintained by the ATF. Banning semi-automatic weapons is a gun ban. Period. And there would be very little support for a policy if the pollster knew, or explained, the difference between automatic and semi-automatic firearms.

Yet, as I’ve mentioned before, let’s not freak out about the gun control people coming out of the bushes with their malarkey. We’ve been here before post-Newtown, where there could have been a major push to curb Second Amendment rights–nothing happened. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly’s efforts to curb gun rights have failed. Moms Demand Action and Everytown have failed. We’ve stopped the president, and this issue does nothing more than fractures his party in Congress.

Final Note: Ian Mercer, the father of the Chris Harper-Mercer, says that guns are to blame, not his son, for the horrific Oregon shooting. As Caleb Howe of Right Scoop  wrote, “To repeat, the man who is the parent of the murderer is blaming gov’t for not preventing his child from becoming a murderer.”

The Associated Press unsurprisingly reported that Harper-Mercer showed little sympathy during his senseless attack. Yet, Jazz noted that all of the firearms recovered were purchased legally. Mercer was never in troubled with the law, nor was he mentally adjudicated. He would have passed background checks for all 14 firearms. So, expansion of background checks isn't a serious starting point.

Also, The New York Times  reported that these incidents are hard to detect, as most of the perpetrators fit a profile can be applied to millions of Americans, and yet they don’t commit mass murder. They also added that most of the guns purchased in these mass shootings were legal, and that many exhibited signs of mental illness.

Those who study these types of mass murderers have found that they are almost always male (all but two of the 160 cases isolated by Dr. Duwe). Most are single, separated or divorced. The majority are white. With the exception of student shooters at high schools or lower schools, they are usually older than the typical murderer, often in their 30s or 40s.

They vary in ideology. They generally have bought their guns legally. Many had evidence of mental illness, particularly those who carried out random mass killings. But others did not, and most people with mental illness are not violent.

They do not fit in. Their most comfortable companion is themselves. According to Dr. Fox, mass killers tend to be “people in social isolation with a lack of support systems to help them through hard times and give them a reality check.”

“They have a history of frustration,” he went on. “They externalize blame. Nothing is ever their fault. They blame other people even if other people aren’t to blame. They see themselves as good guys mistreated by others.”

Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, said these individuals often feel they do not belong, yet frequently live in “smaller town settings where belonging really matters.”

Mr. Harper-Mercer showed signs of such isolation and despair. Like others, he appeared smitten by past mass killers. “They see them as heroes,” Dr. Fox said. “Someone who wins one for the little guy.”

The article then goes on to list the personality traits from previous mass shooters, how they target their victims, some of which are completely random, while others, like Dylann Roof and Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez–sought members of the African-American community or American military servicemen. As the Times noted, “With many of the killers, the signs are of anger and disappointment and solitude,” but like gun confiscation, we’re not going to have federal agents round up young, angry, American men. 

As for those who wish to see something done, there are cases where the experts and those in Washington have no solutions (yet), though they may act like they have one. Don’t fall for it; no one has a serious policy to curb mass shootings. That's why we need to have a debate about this that doesn't end up devolving into a discussion about gun bans. Then again, we may have already reached that point; Obama is using the UK, Australia model in official remarks.

Rumor Mill: Boehner Might Postpone House Leadership Elections UPDATE: Yep, House Majority Leader and Whip Elections Postponed

UPDATE: It's a rumor no more. Speaker Boehner announced today that elections for House Majority Leader and Whip will be pushed back a month. Over the weekend, it was rumored that Boehner might do this, though his office said all leadership elections were for this Thursday at the time. Change of plans, I guess (via Politico):

Speaker John Boehner postponed the election of majority leader and majority whip until next month, a blow to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) who announced Sunday night he had the votes to win the race.

The House Republican Conference will still choose its nominee for speaker of the House Thursday, and the full chamber will vote on the next speaker on Oct. 29.

The following is a statement from the Speaker's Office:

When I made my announcement last month, I said that I would continue to serve through the month of October. After consulting with my colleagues, I am announcing today that all members of the House of Representatives will vote to elect their next Speaker during a floor vote on October 29th.

“Next Thursday, October 8th, the members of the House Republican Conference will meet to elect our nominee for Speaker. After the new Speaker is elected on October 29th, the members of our Conference will select the rest of their leadership team. The new Speaker will establish the date for these additional leadership elections. This new process will ensure House Republicans have a strong, unified team to lead our conference and focus on the American people’s priorities.”

Updates are sure to follow.

***Original Post***

Via Politico, there are rumors that outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner might postpone elections for the House Majority Leader and Whip in order to quell unrest within the Republican Conference.  If this were to happen, only the vote for speaker would happen this Thursday. Yet, as of now, all leadership elections are still on, according to Boehner’s office.

There is serious unrest in the House Republican Conference, and delaying the elections might give more time for the mood to settle, according to sources involved in the planning.

But the move would also give the right wing of the conference more time to find a candidate to run against Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and Georgia Rep. Tom Price.

"There is a broad interesting in discussing rule changes before we discuss leadership changes," Mulvaney and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) said. "Conservatives and centrists alike are interested in changing the structure of the way the conference is run and the way the House is operated. If we move immediately into leadership elections, we may not have time to have the debate."

Boehner (R-Ohio) has not yet agreed to a delay, but he will discuss it with fellow leaders Monday and Tuesday.

"All leadership elections remain on Thursday," said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the speaker.

Speaker Boehner is set to resign his speakership and his seat in Congress on October 30. He had planned to serve on through the end of last year, but former Rep. Eric Cantor’s defeat to David Brat changed the whole agenda, according to Boehner’s office. The speaker also thought of the institution as well, and how a prolonged battle over who would replace him would do irreparable damage to the office.

As Guy pointed out on Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has tossed his hat into the House speakership ring, challenging the favored Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The Greatest Assassination Plot in History Comes to Life in New Book, "Operation Long Jump"

In October 1943, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin had a rare meeting in Tehran. But the Nazis had another plan for the gathering of the Allied forces: Operation Long Jump, a complex plan to track the men in Iran’s capital and assassinate all three at the same time, winning the war for Hitler and drastically changing the course of world history.

Townhall had a chance to catch up with author and historian Bill Yenne, who brought this much-forgotten and incredible piece of history to life in “Operation Long Jump: Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Greatest Assassination Plot in History.” Below you’ll find an inside look at what his inspiration for writing the book was, some surprising pieces of history discovered along the way, and why the story has all the dimensions of a blockbuster hit.

Townhall: You’ve written a number of books on World War II already, was the idea for this developed while doing research for these other books?

Yenne: Yeah, I guess everything flows together, so research I’ve done in the past has led me to pick up a lot of random tidbits for later use and this is something that I crossed the threads of a number of times and it struck my interest.

Townhall: Everyone knows about the successful assassinations of our U.S. presidents but when it comes to attempts like this one they’re hardly known at all—why is that?

Yenne: Well, I think that unsuccessful assassinations tend to be like other events that might’ve happened but didn’t and they just sort of fade away. … But there’s a lot of reasons why this particular conspiracy got overlooked. One of the things [Roosevelt] said was that there were hundreds of German agents running around the city and if they got all three of us it would’ve been a ‘pretty good haul’. He also said to the press with a twinkle in his eye “Well, there’s no use going into it.” I think that is an incredible statement, equally incredible from our own perspective in the 20th century is that the press didn’t go into it and I cite that in my discourse of this thing. They had their plates full because this was the middle of World War II, there were a lot of things to cover and so that was one reason that they probably didn’t, another was that Tehran was halfway around the world and in a place that was virtually inaccessible to the average reporter. The only flights in and out were military flights, although a lot of reporters were given access to military flights during the war, but it was a long way away and ... [also] the level of censorship was very, very dense, so a reporter who seriously wanted to pursue the story would’ve run into that. Another aspect of that is the fact that the assassination attempt was foiled not through the heroism of the Allied secret services, but through a convoluted series of clumsy almost accidents, which unfold in the book, and that made it nothing for the Allies to brag about. Meanwhile, the Germans, well they didn’t want to brag about something that they failed at and some of the key players were in allied custody after the war. ... Laid over the top of all of that, there was the Official Secrets Act of the UK, the impenetrable wall of secrecy in the Soviet Union; in fact, some of the most tantalizing tidbits that came out that I crossed paths with as I was gathering items for the book were accounts by former Soviet agents who were on the ground at the time and after the fall of the Soviet Union they started to go public with some of what they knew.

Townhall: If Roosevelt felt then that there was "no use going into details" about the foiled operation, why should people care about it now?

Yenne: On the one hand you like to know about secret things that happened in the past, people are always tantalized by those kinds of things, and I’m addressing that audience pretty heavily. And people just love conspiracies [laughing] … and I think the practical aspect of it is the history of protecting high profile people in public situations. Anybody who has deconstructed the Kennedy assassination has been able to point out all of the myriad errors committed by the secret service there, and then even in the last couple of years we have had several incidents where people got into the White House, or got across the White House fence, so I think these things are always of interest and I think there’s something that these protective agencies need to be aware of and we need to understand.

Townhall: You said that in many ways the operation had stranger than fiction twists and turns, which makes me think it’d be great on the big screen. Do you think we’ll ever see a movie come out of this?

Yenne: You’re just singing to the choir. I would love to see it on the big screen, but you know, when it comes to putting it on the big screen that’s not a decision for me to make. ... Oh, I think it would be great, I think it would be a fantastic big screen film, it’s got all of the aspects of it, it’s got romance, it’s got comedy, it’s got, well, I guess it really doesn’t have a car chase [laughing].

Townhall: Was there anything you discovered in your research that surprised you?

Yenne: I guess there were a number of things that surprised me. I don’t know that there's one huge thing, but in the earlier chapters I got into details about how thoroughly involved in Iran the Germans were before the war. As you’ll notice, the first picture in the photo section is an autographed picture of Adolf Hitler that was given to the Shah of Iran. So when you've got Hitler and the Shah exchanging autographed pictures, and it wasn’t just that, it was many things. The Germans ran the airlines, they had built the railroad, they were Iran’s biggest international trading partner. Most of the dyes that went into Persian rugs came from German chemical companies—the Germans were just so totally invested in Iran before the war and so that allowed there to be this network of agents and safe houses and there was a large pro-German contingent within the Iranian armed forces. Another aspect that they don’t teach us in school about World War II is this German presence in Iran was such that the British and the Soviets in 1941, when they had a lot of bigger fish to fry, actually invested in an invasion and occupation of Iran and that was to curb the threat behind the lines of the German influence in Iran. I had known it existed but when I started to learn the depth of that involvement and then that it was only the British and Soviet occupation that curbed that and took Iran out of the potential part of the war, the Iranians, the pro-German Iranians totally expected that the German armies when they advanced into the Soviet Union would come into Iran and throw the British and Russians out of that country as well. So that was surprising, that and the knowledge of how close this assassination plot came to being successful.

Townhall: Finally, is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Yenne: Well, I would hope that they would find it a great deal of fun to read. There’s a lot of information, things I’ve already mentioned, that is not widely known, and students of history like to read about things that reveal dimensions of familiar events which are obscure and, as you have pointed out to my pleasure, that it is also a very cinematic adventure story, and I would hope that people would read it and enjoy it. 

For more information on the book and how you can purchase it please click here.

Conservatives Ban 'Militant left-Wing' Israeli Boycotts

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom – British Conservatives are planning to make it impossible for public bodies to pursue boycotts of Israeli products. The move comes after Town Halls across the UK began effectively dictating foreign policy by voting to stop buying from Israeli companies.

From now on only countries that have been subject to official sanctions from the UK government can be boycotted. On the eve of their annual conference in Manchester a Conservative statement warned of risks to the “economic and national security” of the country from “municipal militancy”.
The ban will come into force in the shape of new rules on procurement for local authorities. There will also be rules governing council pension funds so they cannot avoid Israeli firms and UK defense contractors if they represent a good investment.
The move comes amidst growing concern over the militant actions of left-wing councils, spurred on by trade unions and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Conservatives claim these actions threaten to “poison community relations” and “harm Britain’s economic and international interests”. The ban is likely to be just one of a raft of policies, announced during the conference, aimed at exposing Corbyn as a threat to national security and peace in the Middle East.
The Labour leader has already spent a week defending his position on wanting to abolish Britain's nuclear deterrent, Trident. Corbyn also described himself as a “friend” to Hamas and Hezbollah, prompting concerns he is not on Britain's side in most international disputes. He is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which is encouraging boycotts across the country.
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “Divisive policies undermine good community relations, and harm the economic security of families by pushing up council tax. We need to challenge and prevent the politics of division. Conservatives will provide the stable, competent and sensible Government that working people want to see.”
There have already been a raft of Israeli boycotts across UK local government. In November 2014, Labour run Leicester City Council passed a policy to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Jewish groups have recently launched a judicial review against the council’s decision, asking the courts to rule on its legality. They warned the policy “amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews”.
In January this year, Labour councillors on Nottingham City Council debated a boycott against Israel, the council resolved to consider the issue further and “work with the Nottingham Palestine Solidarity Campaign”.
Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “We will take steps to stop such outdated policies being pursued through procurement and pension policies. We will safeguard the security of families at home and prevent such playground politics undermining our international security.”
Earlier this year Alex Brummer, from the British Board of Jewish Deputies, said: “Importing foreign conflicts into our local communities causes real friction on the ground and does nothing to promote peace elsewhere.”
Not every public body has taken a left-wing position when making their own foreign policy. Shortly after 9/11 the University of Reading Students' Union declared war on Iraq, only to be told by the Foreign Office they had no right to do so. Unlike the students at Reading University the boycotts of Israel are doing real economic harm.

Names of The Oregon Shooting Victims Have Been Released

Chris Harper-Mercer, the man who engaged in a senseless act of carnage at Umpqua Community College this week, took the lives of nine people. We know now from the medical examiner’s report that Mercer killed himself on the day of the horrific attack. Police had engaged Mercer–wounding him–but he was able to get away, according to The New York Times. He suffered a self-inflicted wound shortly thereafter and died in the ambulance en route to the hospital. Additionally, 14 firearms recovered in this investigation, six at the school and an additional seven at the Mercer’s residence, according to CNN. We also know the names of Mercer’s victims. The ages range from 18 to 67:

Those killed are Lucero Alcaraz, 19; Treven Taylor Anspach, 20; Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18; Quinn Glen Cooper, 18; Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59; Lucas Eibel, 18; Jason Dale Johnson, 34; Lawrence Levine, 67; and Sarena Dawn Moore, 44.

You can read more about their profiles here.

CNN added that Mercer was enrolled at the school, taking two courses in English and theater. As to the motive, that remains murky, though he appears to have been on angry individual, with mental health issues:

The writings include ramblings about his racial animus toward black people and general feelings of anger about being isolated and unable to make relationships, law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation told CNN.

Two officials said that after the shooting, the gunman's family told investigators that he suffered from mental health issues and had sought treatment.

The writings also reflect an apparent fascination with the Irish Republican Army, one law enforcement official said. A MySpace page believed to belong to the gunman, which included photos of him, included photos of IRA posters.

But investigators so far have found no indication he was linked with any organized groups.

The Times  reported that he was into gun and hunting, visited the range with his mother regularly, but didn’t take much about his personal life. On a side note, there are millions of Americans who own multiple firearms and go to the range and DON’T commit mass shootings:

Mr. Harper-Mercer collected handguns and rifles, and he regularly went to a shooting range with his mother, said neighbors in Torrance, Calif., where the two lived until moving to Oregon in 2013. At a barbecue shortly before they left, Mr. Harper-Mercer spent hours talking with a next-door neighbor about guns and how he and his mother were excited to leave Los Angeles and get a fresh start.

“When we talked about guns and hunting, he was real open about it,” said the neighbor, Louie Flores, 32. “But anything about what was going on in his life, he really didn’t say too much at all.”


After his parents divorced when he was about 16, he lived with his mother, Laurel Harper, a nurse who fiercely protected him from, among other things, the neighborhood sounds of loud children and barking dogs. Once, neighbors said, she went door to door with a petition to get the landlord to exterminate cockroaches in her apartment, saying they bothered her son.

“She said, ‘My son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him,’ ” Julia Winstead, 55, said. “She said they were going to go stay in a motel. Until that time, I didn’t know she had a son.”

He was listed as a 2009 graduate of the Switzer Learning Center in Torrance, a private school for students with learning disabilities, emotional issues and other special-education needs. Officials from the school declined to comment on Friday. Mr. Harper-Mercer joined the Army for a month in 2008 but was discharged before finishing basic training.

From other accounts, Mercer was reclusive and unfriendly:

One night, the Flores family, the next-door neighbors, were watching a movie when Mr. Harper-Mercer knocked on the door.

“He said: ‘Can you turn that down? Your TV is really loud,” Esther Flores said. “And he just had that look. No smile, nothing. And he just turned and walked away. My husband didn’t even have a chance to respond.”


In Winchester, Ore., Mr. Harper-Mercer and his mother shared an apartment in a dun-colored building that sat roped off behind police tape on Thursday evening, guarded by sheriff’s deputies who shooed away reporters.

Bronte Hart, a neighbor who said she lived in an apartment below Mr. Harper-Mercer’s, described a more assertive young man than his former neighbors in California did. Far from avoiding social interaction, she said, he frequently shouted at her for smoking on her balcony.

“He yelled at us, me and my husband,” said Ms. Hart, who lives with her husband and father. “He was not a friendly type of guy. He did not want anything to do with anyone.”

It’s clear that Mercer had problems. The extend of which we will know in due time.