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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: The Vatican speaks out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missing Topic From DNC Day One: ISIS

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

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

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

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

The Ironic Line in Elizabeth Warren’s Speech

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

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

They returned when Warren stepped up to the podium.

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

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

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

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

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

That’s when she offered a bit of irony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DNC Saves Its Loudest Applause for Daughter of Illegal Immigrant

Karla Ortiz, the 11-year-old daughter of an illegal immigrant, was offered the podium at the Democratic National Convention Monday night. She relayed how when she was younger she would come home and wonder why her parents were always crying. She didn't understand it was because they feared deportation. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her policies, Karla suggested, would help relieve her and her parents’ anxieties.

"She wants me to have the worries of an 11 year-old, not the weight of the world on my shoulders,” she said.

She got a loud, warm applause for her remarks. Some in the audience were even crying.

You may remember Karla from a Hillary Clinton ad earlier this year called "Brave." In the video, she is seen telling the Democratic candidate how scared she was that her parents were going to be deported, which prompts Clinton to beckon her over and asks her to be brave and let her do the worrying.

Karla’s mom Francisca also addressed the crowd and likewise got arena wide applause.

Some viewers, however, were not exactly thrilled.

Following Ortiz’s remarks, the DNC aired an aired called “Trump: In His Own Words,” highlighting some of the Republican nominee’s most controversial remarks about illegal immigrants. 

'60 Minutes' Edits Out Hillary’s Response to the DNC Email Scandal

Hillary Clinton’s response to the DNC email leak didn’t make it to air on 60 Minutes this Sunday.

The unaired clip, posted on the CBS News website, shows repeated denials by Clinton that she knew anything about the DNC being biased in her favor—one of the main takeaways from the released emails. By the same token, however, she also refused to say that it would be “improper” for the DNC to favor one candidate over another, saying that she did not know enough about it to comment.

Interviewer Scott Pelley first asked about the controversial plan to question Bernie Sanders' religion, as expressed in an email by DNC CFO Brad Marshall. Though Hillary Clinton pleaded ignorance, she was quick to disavow the comment.

“I didn’t know anything about it, and I haven’t read any of those [emails], but I am adamantly opposed to anyone bringing religion into our political process,” she stated.

Pelley continued to press her on the larger point of how the DNC seemed to have its “thumb on the scale” for Clinton.

“Again, I don’t know anything about these emails—I haven’t followed it—but I’m very proud of the campaign that I ran,” Clinton said.

She gave a similar response when asked whether, in her view, it would have been “improper” for the DNC to favor one candidate over another.

“Again, I don’t have any information about this, so I can’t answer specifically,” she said. “I can’t speak to what people who were not working for me, who were saying whatever they were saying—I can’t speak to that, I can only speak to my campaign.”

 Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine stepped in to defend Clinton from the scandal.

 “You’re not going to find anybody at the DNC or the RNC or any political organization who is a complete agnostic, who doesn’t have an opinion about a candidate,” he said. “But there’s a difference between having an opinion about somebody… and trying to alter the outcome.”

The 60 Minutes appearance was Clinton and Kaine’s first joint interview and Clinton’s first interview since news broke of the leaked DNC emails. Some have expressed disapproval that Hillary’s response to the scandal was left out of the 60 Minutes broadcast.  

Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard called the editing decision "odd." 

"Why did Clinton's suspect answers to the biggest political story of the moment not make it into CBS's TV broadcast?" he asked.

Journalist Stephen Hayes criticized the decision along similar lines: “The biggest news of the interview gets left on the cutting room floor? Really?” he tweeted.

In response to criticism, a spokesman told The Weekly Standard: "The material in question was broadcast on THE CBS EVENING NEWS before 60 MINUTES last night; then on; CBSN, and CBS Radio," wrote the spokesman. 

"It's out there, far and wide."

The Surge Continues: Almost 7,000 Syrian Refugees Have Entered U.S. Since October

After a lull in refugee arrivals this month, the State Department has admitted nearly 1,700, and is closing in on its goal. 

The U.S. has admitted 6,909 Syrian refugees since October, and has just over two months left to reach President Obama's promise of 10,000 by September 30. 

This total was not reached by July's numbers alone, however. The Refugee Processing Center made edits to June's totals Monday, bumping the numbers from 2,381 to 2,406.

The refugee admission process accelerated in May and set records in June, but until July 11, only 43 had been admitted this month. Since then the refugees came in at over 150 a day.

Over half of the refugees are under 21 years of age, and over half are male. 30 percent are over the age of 30, yet men between the ages of 21 and 30 continue to be noticeably absent from the immigrant population. 

The number of men between the ages of 31 and 40 is greater than the 21-30 category and also exceeds the 14-20 age group. Men in the 31-40 group are also joined by nearly equal numbers of women, a condition not found in any of the other age categories. 

Nearly 92 percent of the refugees identified themselves as Arabs and seven percent were listed as Kurds.  Only 0.51 percent of the current fiscal year population is not Muslim.

A New Study Predicts Zika Will Be A Bigger Beast Than Anyone Thought

The Zika virus could affect up to 2 million women in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new study. The projection comes a few weeks after Senate Democrats blocked funding intended to combat the disease.

The study was done by Nature Microbiology and published Monday. The mosquito-transmitted disease can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects in babies born to women with Zika, scientists found last fall. Since then, Latin American countries have seen a massive increase in Zika-infected pregnant women.

“The model also predicts that Brazil will have three times more infections than any other affected country, due to its size and suitability for transmission,” Reuters reported.

More than 1,600 cases of microcephaly have been confirmed in Brazilian babies, but the new study predicted that is, unfortunately, just the beginning. As many as 2.06 million women of childbearing age and 117.1 million people could contract Zika in the next two or three years, resulting in “tens of thousands” of babies with birth defects.

Meanwhile, the United States is fighting a battle within its borders as the number of cases of Zika rise: up to 1,306 cases as of mid-July, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “None of those has been the result of local spread by mosquitoes,” CNN reported.

American mosquitos may not be safe from Zika for very long: the Florida Department of Health announced on July 21 that it was investigating the possibility of a non-travel-related case in the state (meaning the mosquito with the virus came from Florida itself). Gov. Rick Scott declared a public health emergency in February, and the number of pregnant women with Zika in the state is up to 43.

What is being done to combat this grave health crisis? Thanks to the Senate Democrats, not much. As Townhall reported in June, the Senate failed to pass a $1.1 billion bill before it went on summer recess because it included restrictions for birth control.

Planned Parenthood amazingly did not understand how the funding could save lives, arguing, according to Politico, that "a vote against this bill will be seen as a vote for women’s health care."

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican whip, argued that responsibility for the lack of action lies squarely on the Democrats’ shoulders.

“The first TV picture of an American woman bearing a child with a birth defect caused by this virus will be on [Democrats],”Cornyn told Politico. “I wouldn’t want to be in their position.”

Despite the lack of Congressional funding, President Obama did say on July 20 that the CDC would send more than $5.6 million to Florida to help with the state’s recent outbreak.

Smart Power: Obama Administration Admits Iran is Harboring top Al Qaeda Leaders

Iran aiding international terrorist groups -- including Al Qaeda -- is literally the opposite of new news. This is what they do. The regime in Tehran has been designated by the US government as the world's top state sponsor of terror for years, a dubious distinction that has not changed since the dangerous nuclear deal was agreed to last year. The State Department has affirmed that Iran's support for terrorism is "undiminished," and President Obama has admitted that a portion of the many billions in sanctions relief now flowing to Iran will be redirected to terrorists. He's already been proven correct. About his own deal.  Which may explain why he has lightly chided the regime for flouting "the spirit" of the deal. They sure are:

Just so we're crystal clear, the Obama administration has slapped sanctions on high-ranking Al Qaeda officials being harbored by the the rogue, criminal, radical, illegitimate regime upon whom the Obama administration has just bestowed an internationally-blessed nuclear program.  Consider the implications of that sentence.  As you mull that over, don't forget the secret provision of the deal that was just uncovered this week.  Also, because it's been manifestly untrue for quite some time, can we finally bury the falsehood that radical Shiites and radical Sunnis can't or don't team up for evil?  The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes sought comment from the White House about this development, and he received this truly surreal response:

This is not the first time the Obama administration has targeted the Iran-al Qaeda relationship. The Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran at least 10 times between July 2011 and August 2014. Testifying before Congress in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship as a "marriage of convenience." There is considerably more evidence of Iran's support for al Qaeda in the collection of documents captured during the raid of Osama bin Laden's compound on Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011. Senior U.S. intelligence officials have told The Weekly Standard that the document collection includes letters describing the nature of the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda and specific ways in which Iran has aided al Qaeda's network and operations. The Weekly Standard contacted the Obama administration official who last week dismissed Iran-al Qaeda cooperation to see if the new designations changed his view that claims of Iranian support for al Qaeda are "baseless conspiracy theories." He replied: "Al Qaeda has long used Iran as a transit and facilitation point between South Asia and the Middle East, sometimes with the knowledge of some Iranian authorities. At the same time, the Iranian government has imprisoned some al Qaeda operatives, and we believe today's action provides another opportunity for Iran to take action against al Qaeda."

"Another opportunity for Iran."  Unbelievable. Here's Hayes, flabbergasted:

Think about that for a moment. The Obama administration accuses Iran of harboring senior al Qaeda operatives and sanctions those operatives in an effort to prevent them from hurting America and its interests. But rather than scold Iran for continuing to provide safe haven to terrorists devoted to killing Americans, the administration spins the move as an "opportunity" for Iran. An opportunity? Why would the Iranian regime need the U.S. government to provide an "opportunity" to take action against the very terrorists it has been supporting for more than a decade? This is illogical, insulting, and dangerous. But it is consistent with the kind of irresponsible whitewashing of the radical regime that has become a trademark of the Obama administration's approach to Iran. The Obama administration provided Iran with billions of dollars through the nuclear deal despite having evidence in its possession that the country was providing safe haven to senior al Qaeda terrorists and despite acknowledging, publicly, that some of those funds would be used for terror. The administration kept secret crucial details of the agreement from Congress, concessions that the Iranians are now citing, convincingly, as evidence that they fleeced the United States and its partners.

Parting thought: Would this  qualify as a violation of more than just "the spirit" of the agreement?

Top Iranian leaders have instructed the country’s atomic energy organization to prepare for the reopening of multiple nuclear sites that had been shuttered as part of last summer’s nuclear agreement. Ali Larijani, the leader of Iran’s parliament, requested this week that the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization prepare a plan to reopen nuclear enrichment facilitates that had been shutdown as part of the effort to limit Tehran’s research into nuclear weapons technology, according to comments carried in Iran’s state-controlled media. Iranian leaders are displeased with a recent United Nations report chastising the Islamic Republic for violating international agreements prohibiting the country’s work on ballistic missiles. The U.N. described these repeated test launches as not consistent with international accords. Iranian leaders dismissed the report as “biased.”

They're upset that the international community has noticed their numerous banned missile tests, even as key stakeholders avert their eyes from other Iranian acts of treachery.  And lest you forget, Hillary Clinton helped launch the nuclear talks with Tehran and endorsed the "strong" resulting deal. Smart power.

UPDATE - More anti-American provocation:

Awful: Man Stabs Over 40 People, Kills At Least 15 Near Tokyo

Details are scarce, but there appears to have been a horrific mass attack in Tokyo, Japan, where a 20-year-old man wielding a knife has stabbed over 40 people at a disabled persons facility, killing at least 15.

The Washington Post added that such attacks are rare in Japan, though the suspect has turned himself into authorities. The facility was located in Sagamihara, which is west of the capital.

We’ll keep you updated.

DNC Starts Up, But Seems To Be Missing Something

The Democratic National Convention is underway, but it looks like it started off without a very important song. Any event especially a presidential party convention should start off with the national anthem, but it seems that the Democrats have other priorities.

They had no problem starting off with a church choir singing "Battle Hymn of The Republic" designed to pander to minorities voters. 

Next there was a Boyz II Men performance.

It would take them quite some time to eventually get around to the national anthem, but does it really surprise anyone that it took the Democrats this long. 

DNC To Sanders Campaign: We're Sorry About Those Emails, But Let's Unite To Defeat Trump

With the Democratic National Convention underway, the Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Sen. Bernie Sanders, his supporters, and the entire party as a whole over the controversy that’s erupted over leaked emails from the DNC, showing that staffers worked behind the scenes to undermine Sanders. It confirms what many have suspected, which is that the DNC was putting its finger on the scale in favor of Hillary Clinton. The revelation of these emails, days before the convention, has intensified Sanders supporters’ distrust (and disgust) of Clinton in Philadelphia. Earlier this afternoon, Sen. Sanders was booed by his supporters when he suggested that they vote for the Clinton/Kaine ticket.

It’s been a day highlighting the deep divisions present within the Democratic Party that have not healed since the end of the primaries. Nevertheless, this move by the DNC, and its incoming interim chair Donna Brazile, aims to smooth over those tensions and call (once again) for unity.

“These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not–and will not–tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again,” read the statement.

So, it sounds that no one is going to be fired or forced to resign over this fiasco. All you need to do is just offer a half-hearted apology.

At the same time, isn't Brazile also another anti-Sanders Democrat. It sure seems so, thanks to the emails obtained by Wikileaks.

Democratic Governor On DNC Emails: Debbie Has Been A Good Leader, So Let's Move On, Already

There are some Democrats who just want the Debbie Wasserman Schultz and DNC email leak story to just go away. One of them is Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. During his CNN interview with Carol Costello, Wolf stated that he thought outgoing DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was a good leader, and that it was time for the Democrats to unite.

Costello had brought up how the hope that Democrats could leave Philadelphia under the narrative that they’re a united party is gone after Sander’s intense speech drew boos when he said that Democrats needed to vote for the Clinton/Kaine ticket, the emails that show the Democratic National Committee tipping the scales for the former secretary of state in the primaries, and testimonials from reporters and Sanders supporters alike that there are a) more pro-Bernie signs than Hillary signs; and b) some of these Bernie supporters are so distrustful of Clinton that they might vote for Trump.

At the time, there was still debate as to whether Schultz was going to gavel in the convention; she’s not doing that anymore. Wolf pressed on, saying that it’s time to unite as a party or risk defeat come November.

“But at this point, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a distraction, isn’t she?” asked Costello.

“I think she has been a good leader. She has done what she thinks she ought to do and we got to move on,” he said.

“She’s been a good leader? Did you read some of those leaked emails?” Costello asked.

“Okay–we need to move on. This is about unity. I know you want to talk about…but this is a side issue,” Wolf said.

He reiterated the call for unity that is so lacking right now in Philadelphia. At the same time, when Clinton supporters are trying to say this this is just a peripheral issue, and that we should move on–you know it's a big deal. 

Watch LIVE: Bernie Sanders to Address DNC on a Hostile Day One

The Democratic National Convention is already rife with scandal after those notorious Wikileaks emails revealed the DNC's bias against the Bernie Sanders campaign. His supporters have shown up in droves to protest the week's events, believing that their votes were unfairly suppressed throughout the primary process. Their unrest was on display again as they booed DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the stage on Monday and chanted "We Want Bernie!" during Sanders' address to delegates. 

Sanders is addressing the convention Monday night, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and First Lady Michelle Obama.

One person who will not be onstage tonight: DWS. She is set to resign as chair at the end of the week. 

Here's a 51-Foot "Joint" At The DNC

There are a lot of odd sights abound at the DNC, but this may be the weirdest yet: A 51-foot-long inflatable "joint" being paraded about by angry Bernie Sanders supporters around the streets of Philadelphia.

"Deschedule" cannabis means removing the drug from the Schedule 1 classification of narcotics. Currently, the government considers cannabis to be more dangerous than cocaine, with absolutely no medicinal properties.

This is such a fun election, isn't it?

Revolt? Sanders Delegates Pondering Whether To Challenge Tim Kaine As VP Choice

Cortney wrote about a fiery speech Bernie Sanders just delivered to his supporters at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. He delivered the usual far left red meat about income inequality, universal health care, and corporation paying their fair share of taxes. He also added that he wants to transform the United States’ political system so that it doesn’t favor the one percent. Things were going great until he told his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to defeat Donald Trump. That drew boos. Now, we have rumblings that Sanders delegates might challenge Clinton’s VP pick, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), during the convention (via Politico):

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders are moving towards a challenge of Sen. Tim Kaine’s selection as presumptive vice presidential nominee, accusing Hillary Clinton of failing to roll back “some of the worst neo-liberal policies” with her choice of running mate.

“There’s serious interest right now and exploration as we speak of a formal challenge,” Norman Solomon, a California delegate and national coordinator for the Bernie Delegates Network, said at a press conference Monday. The network represents about 1,250 of the 1,900 delegates that have pledged support for Sanders.

Kaine's selection riled Sanders supporters, who accuse the Virginia Democrat of being too closely tied to Wall Street and fault him for his past strong support for trade deals.

Yeah, that’s why Kaine, like Clinton, flip-flipped on his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership once he was formally picked as the former secretary of state’s running mate (via CBS News):

A Clinton aide confirmed to CBS News that Kaine had made a private commitment to Clinton that he would now oppose TPP, falling in line with the former secretary of state's declared view on the trade deal.

Previously, Kaine had voted for "fast tracking" authority in the Senate, which would speed trade deals like the TPP through Congress.

And of TPP itself, Kaine had seemed to defend the 12-nation trade pact in an interview with The Intercept earlier this week.

"I am having discussions with groups around Virginia about the treaty itself. I see much in it to like. I think it's an upgrade of labor standards. I think it's an upgrade of environmental standards, I think it's an upgrade in intellectual property protections," Kaine told the publication Thursday.

MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, interviewed radio Host Hugh Hewitt where he reiterated why Sanders supporters, or any member of the progressive left, would not be happy with the Clinton/Kaine ticket–they’re BFFs of Wall Street. He also said that unlike Indiana Gov. Mike Pence–Trump’s running mate–Kaine doesn’t do much for Clinton, and the feeling for Sanders supporters is that they were “punked” by her who dangled the possibility of choosing someone more progressive. Not the case:

CHRIS JANGSING: Joining me now from Cleveland, Hugh Hewitt, host of the Hugh Hewitt Show on the Salem Radio Network, and an MSNBC political analyst. Good to see you, Hugh. What are you looking for this week?

HUGH HEWITT: Well, I am very happy with the Tim Kaine selection. I think that the Bernie Sanders people have to feel punked this morning by Hillary Clinton. You couldn’t get closer to Goldman-Sachs if you were built-in furniture than Tim Kaine. So it’s a huge head fake that Secretary Clinton has pulled off on the left. She met with Cory Booker, she met with Elizabeth Warren, she pretended to be a progressive throughout the campaign. She’s in fact an insider’s insider, as is Tim Kaine. He’s very affable, a very nice man. Everybody likes Tim Kaine. He has some assets. He’s fluent in Spanish. But in terms of those progressives, those hard left members of the Bernie Sanders coalition, the Woodstock generation, meaning the millennials, Chris, they’re not happy. And Donald Trump made an explicit appeal to them, especially on TPP, and Tim Kaine, like Hillary Clinton, is a big supporter of TPP. I’m a supporter of TPP. But the Bernie Sanders people are not. And so Donald Trump said come join us.

CJ: Well, Hugh, are you one of those people, are you one of those people, though, who think that a VP matters? Sort of the conventional wisdom is do no harm. Do you really think that Tim Kaine is somebody who is going to do harm to Hillary Clinton?

HEWITT: Mike Pence did a lot of good for Donald Trump, an enormous amount of good as we saw here in Cleveland, the wonderful, with the exception of the Cruz speech, a wonderful sense of okay, Trump’s our guy. His line on the Supreme Court got the biggest applause line in the room all week long, and it was the Baja 500 convention. Don’t get me wrong. At times, it felt like you know, Yosemite Sam was driving. But Priebus and Sean Spicer and others would get it back on the road. So we ended up having a fine time. Trump had a great speech. The kids were four for four. At the end of the week, they’re unified with Pence adding. Tim Kaine doesn’t do that for her, because the wing of the party she needed to satisfy with her vice president, the way that Trump had to reassure conservatives as he did with Mike Pence, she needed to reassure progressives that she wasn’t faking it. And she has an inauthenticity problem. Nobody believes her. She has this huge, long record of not only failure in Egypt and Libya and Syria, with the Russian reset button, but of lying repeatedly to Congress, and now to her Democratic wing. So Chris, I come out of Ohio happy. In fact, like you, I’m a Buckeye. I used to summer down in Saybrook, not far from your hometown. I now want the Ohio Olympics, I was so happy at the end of the week here in Cleveland. I don’t think the Democrats are going to leave Philadelphia happy.

JANSING: Hugh, I just wonder if you’re, obviously you’re putting a positive spin on this, but don’t you think that what Ted Cruz pointed to, what, frankly, the first two appearances between Donald Trump and Mike Pence pointed to, was an essential disorganization within a campaign, an inability to get their act together by a guy whose, one of his central selling points is that he is organized, that he does have his act together. Do you really think that the, I’m not talking about the Republican voter who was in that audience, who cheered him on, and everybody, Ivanka did an amazing job, but for the swing voter out there, they watched that campaign and thought, oh, yeah, they had their act together there and this is somebody I can get behind?

HEWITT: Oh, Chris, absolutely. I think he reassured people like me, who are traditional party people, conservatives, people who care about the Supreme Court and the American military, he got us back, happy, and generally accepting of his, and I’m not an anti-free trade guy in the way that Donald Trump is, but nevertheless, I’m okay with the ticket. And he reached out to the unemployed union worker in Warren, Ohio, my hometown. He reached out to Southern Pennsylvania to the coal country in Pennsylvania. He went up to Michigan to the unemployed car worker. He built his coalition, and he went to the Bernie Sanders people who were waiting for Elizabeth Warren, waiting for Cory Booker, and who got Tim Kaine. Now Senator Kaine is a wonderful guy. Everybody likes him. I wouldn’t deny that for a moment. But he is corporate. And I was reading the Washington Post story this morning. The progressives, you know, the Bernie-back-to-Woodstock people, are outraged at this choice, and I don’t think he makes a lick of difference to Black Lives Matter. So if you’re a social justice activist, if you’re an anti-big banks activist in the Democratic Party, you’re already mad at Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t help her on the authenticity. He doesn’t do anything to reassure as Admiral Stavridis would have done, he was on the short list, about her chronic inability to tell the truth. And so when you run down her failures and her character problems, she didn’t do much with a Tim Kaine pick.

JANSING: I’ve got to tell you, I was with, out on the trail with Bernie for a month or more. I’ve talked to hundreds of Bernie voters. I’ve not really found many of them who are ready to go for Donald Trump, but we shall see. It will be an interesting set of coming months. Hugh Hewitt, thanks so much.

HEWITT: Thanks, Chris.

Let’s see what happens. Tensions are surely running a bit high.

Hillary Clinton Claims She Faces A "Hillary Standard" On Her Campaign Trail

Presumptive Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton and her Vice Presidential pick Tim Kaine made their debut as a ticket in an interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night.

In the interview with CBS's Scott Pelley, Hillary complains about the scrutiny the public places on her.

"I often feel like there's the Hillary standard, and then there's the standard for everybody else," she went on to explain that "it is unfounded inaccurate, mean spirited attacks with no basis in truth, reality which take on a life of their own."

Some of the "inaccurate and mean-spirited attacks" came from Chris Christie, Reince Priebus and many more.

"She was the chief engineer of the disastrous overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya. Libya today after Hillary Clinton's grand strategy... their economy's in ruins, there's death and violence on the streets and ISIS is now dominating that country," said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at the RNC.

"Just look at her disastrous Iran deal. Which lined the pockets of the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism with your money while abandoning our greatest ally in the Middle East, the nation of Israel. It was on her watch ISIS began to spread its wings of evil over the Middle East," said RNC chairmen Reince Priebus.

Apparently the "Hillary standard" is just pointing out facts. Almost all of what was said about Hillary at the RNC were things that actually happened. 

It was proven she lied about her email servers, yet this fact is viewed as an "attack" by the former Secretary of State.

If there is any "Hillary standard" it isn't any harsh scrutiny placed on her. It's the phenomenon in which she doesn't face any consequences for her actions. See this quote from FBI director James Comey's statement on the investigation.

"Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case... To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences."

I would say this is a prime example of the "Hillary standard."

BREAKING: ISIS Claims To Have Shot Down U.S. Warplane In Iraq, Crew Killed?; UPDATE: Centcom Says All Aircraft Accounted For

There are reports that ISIS has shot down a U.S. warplane, and that the crew had been killed. It was reportedly shot down near Anbar. Yet, MSNBC’s Cal Perry said it’s unknown if this was a jet fighter or an unmanned drone. We’ll keep you updated.

UPDATE: U.S. CENTCOM denies ISIS shot down a U.S. warplane, says all aircraft are account for.

Dems in Disarray: Delegates Boo Bernie, Chant 'Lock Her Up!'

When RNC delegates chanted "lock her up!" in Cleveland, many in the media clutched at their pearls, scandalized. This is unprecedented demonization, they lamented, willfully forgetting quite a lot of demonization. While I myself became a bit queasy when that particular chant was shouted in response to anti-Clinton criticisms that were not related to her national security-endangering criminal conduct, about which she continues to habitually lie, much of the commentariat's fainting-couch routine engendered deserved eye rolling.  And now we have this, in Philadelphia:

Just some random protesters and agitators? Nope, elected delegates, too:

Angered by email leaks showing Democratic National Committee favoritism toward Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders delegates chanted "Lock her up!" at the California delegation's breakfast on Monday. The scheduled agenda of the delegation's first breakfast of the week was overrun by hundreds of Sanders supporters, angered by their party's bias towards Hilary Clinton, as proved by the recent e-mail leaks. As California Secretary of State Alex Padilla spoke, the crowd chanted "You got served!" and "Count the votes!" until his speech was nearly inaudible. As House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi spoke, much of her speech was drowned out with chants of "Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!" and "Lock her up!"

Perhaps Mrs. Clinton is more of a bipartisan uniter than anyone expected. This comes on the heels of resigning DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz being booed lustily by the Florida delegation, prompting her to abandon the plan to appear on the convention's main stage:

In fairness, Debbie's always been a little slow on the uptake.  Nancy Pelosi was also jeered at her own party's convention.  Last but not least, here is Bernie Sanders himself getting loudly booed while urging his supporters and delegates to rally behind the Clinton/Kaine ticket.  Feel the unity.  Feel it:

Parting Thoughts: (1) Does Hillary get booed at her own acceptance speech? (2)  How's this for a bumper sticker?

"Hillary 2016: Because not everyone agrees she should be in jail!"

Congress Approves GMO Labeling Bill

Congress passed a bill last week that will require companies to label their food to reflect that they contain genetically modified ingredients. 

The legislation passed by Congress and waiting on Barack Obama's signature would require food packages to carry a text label, a symbol or an electronic code that smartphones can read that identifies that the package contains GMOs. 

Pamela Bailey, the chief executive of the Grocery Manufacturers Association described the passage of the bill as a huge victory.

"Today's vote is a resounding victory not only for consumers and common sense but also for the tremendous coalition of agricultural and food organizations that came together in unprecedented fashion to get this solution passed," said Bailey.

The House approved the bill 306-117 on Thursday, and the Senate passed the bill over the strong objections made by Vermont's representatives. Both Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy argued that the bill does not go far enough and compared it to their states tougher GMO requirements. The Vermont law requires the food to be have a label that says "produced with genetic engineering."

"The Stabenow-Roberts GMO bill is confusing, misleading and unenforceable. It does nothing to make sure consumers know what they're eating," tweeted Sanders on Wednesday. 

The federal law renders Vermont and other state's GMO labeling laws null and void. "It's a shame that Congress chose to replace our standard with a weaker one that provides multiple ways for the food industry to avoid transparent labeling," said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. 

Many have argued that the bill is pandering to the interests of big business by allowing them to use the code option. Rep. Jim McGovern described the bill as catering to a few special interests and not to the American consumers. 

The food industry argues that GMOs are not harmful to people, and that the labels could mislead people into believing they are bad. They have pointed out that 75-80 percent of foods contains genetically modified ingredients, which the FDA says are safe to eat.

Many now believe that the fight for clear GMO labels is now in the hands of the USDA which has to come up with the new rules and regulations for these labels. 

"The fight for national mandatory GMO transparency now shifts to USDA and to the marketplace, where companies should think twice before they remove GMO labels from their packages," said Gary Hirshberg, the chairman of the Just Label It coalition.