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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The crowd cheered loudly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oof: Nancy Pelosi Also Booed at DNC

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

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

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

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

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

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


Here We Go: Ivanka Trump vs. Chelsea Clinton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battle of the daughters? Bring it on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCaskill: Trump May Have Violated the Logan Act With Russian Remarks

GOP nominee Donald Trump has insisted that his inviting Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails on Wednesday was a joke, but Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is not laughing. While on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, the senator suggested Trump had violated federal law.

“The notion he would invite a foreign nation to conduct an attack against our country, it’s just beyond the pale. And I believe it violates the Logan Act and he should be investigated for that. I don’t think it was a joke at all,” she concluded.

The Logan Act prohibits American citizens from negotiating with foreign actors who have a hostile relationship with the U.S.

Is McCaskill overreacting here? 

Trump told "Fox and Friends'" Brian Kilmeade he was of course being sarcastic when he made those off-the-cuff remarks. Yet, liberal pundits and Clinton surrogates have run with the controversial comment to prove he's not fit to lead. 

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called it "beyond the pale" and even questioned Trump's loyalty to the United States.

Uh oh: IRS To Review GOP Inquiry Into Clinton Foundation

Guy wrote that some have called it a slush fund; others have noted that it’s a bank where favors are deposited with the Clinton family. Either way, Hillary Clinton may soon have to face questions about the dealings of her family non-profit, which has already found itself in ethical hot water over the timing of some donations and corresponding actions favorable to the donors. For example, Hillary Clinton (and Barack Obama) was against the Columbia Free Trade Agreement, mostly due to human and labor rights concerns. One energy company, Pacific Rubiales, was at the center of the labor controversy. Its founder Frank Giustra gave millions to the Clinton Foundation, as did Rubiales, and Clinton did a 180-degree turn in her position on the matter. Giustra is now on the Clinton Foundation’s board of directors. 

Also, there were arms deals that soared into the billions that went to governments that donated millions to the Foundation. Well, now, the Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that they’re referring that matter as to whether anything felonious occurred at the Foundation to their exempt organizations division for review, the same division that landed the embroiled the IRS in scandal after it was alleged that this division was targeting conservative non-profits. The Daily Caller was the first to report on this matter (via Fox News):

The IRS confirmed in a letter it is looking into claims of “pay-to-play” practices at the Clinton Foundation, after dozens of Republican lawmakers requested a review of potential “criminal conduct” at the organization founded by the family at the center of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Commissioner John Koskinen wrote in a July 22 letter to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn that the issue has been “forwarded” to the IRS “Exempt Organizations Examinations” program in Dallas.


Asked for comment on the referral, the agency said in a statement: “The IRS receives referrals from a variety of sources. We forward all referrals to the appropriate area for consideration of whether there are issues that justify further review. We have standard processes and procedures we follow when we receive information or referrals from outside groups. Due to federal privacy protections, the IRS cannot comment on individual taxpayers or organizations.”

The request for an examination came in a July 15 letter from 64 House Republicans including Tennessee Rep. Blackburn. In the run-up to the Democratic convention where Hillary Clinton was nominated for president Tuesday, they asked the FBI, IRS and Federal Trade Commission to examine the dealings of the foundation.

"From the information we have been able to gather, it appears the Clinton Foundation is a 'pay to play' sham charity that needs to be investigated," Blackburn said in a statement on Tuesday. "The Clintons have used their Foundation to personally enrich themselves at the expense of American foreign policy. At a minimum, the Foundation’s tax-exempt status needs to be reviewed and revoked immediately."

Just like the FBI, don’t expect much from the IRS referral. There may be a lot of damaging information and odd coincidences between the donor, the donation, and the favorable event that benefited an interest connected with the individual, but this is from an agency that’s also been dragging its feet as to whether they did target conservative organizations. That’s still a thorn in its side, and I doubt the agency will be enthusiastic about possibly torpedoing Clinton with a finding that play-to-play does occur at the Clinton Foundation. It’s a wonderful mirage. At the same time, we can say that Clinton is still under FBI investigation since their probe into the charity hasn't concluded. 

ICYMI: Clinton Campaign Manager Laughs When Asked When Hillary's Next Presser Is

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has not held a press conference in a shamefully long time. Guy alerted us to the half-a-year mark in June. It’s now up to 260 days.

Ask her campaign manager Robby Mook about it and you’ll be greeted with giggles.

When Washington Post editorial board editor Ruth Marcus asked if the press conference blackout would continue into a Clinton administration, Mook again laughed it off.

“I will not speculate about anything after the election because I’ll be on vacation,” he said.

“I’m saying that I can’t even tell you what we’re doing 10 days from now, we make these decisions on a rolling basis,” he said.

GOP nominee Donald Trump mocked Clinton for her fear of the media during his own presser this week. “I think it’s time” to hold one, he challenged his opponent.

The last time Clinton tried to hold a press conference, it was a disaster. In addition to the awful optics of her outfit, which many pundits compared to an orange jumpsuit, Clinton did herself no favors by dismissing questions about her email server and joking whether the press meant she had “wiped it with a cloth?”

The potential for gaffes can help explain why Clinton prefers pre-taped, sit down interviews. As November nears, however, voters will demand she be more transparent.

Obama Talks About Himself Nearly 120 Times During Speech about Hillary

There is no doubt that Barack Obama loves himself some Barack Obama.  

In a speech that was supposed to be about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Obama made sure that Americans did not forget what all he has done these last eight years.  He reminded us of his passing of Obamacare, expanding clean energy regulations, efforts to pass gun control, and passing the Iran deal.  

We learned about Obama's strange, yet unexplained connection to grandparents in Kansas.  We heard all about how good of a father he is and his relentless work ethic.  

He also asked the American people to carry Clinton as they carried him.  And finally, he made it clear that he would be "passing the baton" of the Oval Office to Hillary only because of his sheer grace.

Democratic Delegate: Stop Shouting USA, 'That's A Trump Chant'

Oh, the things that are overheard by members of the media. Here’s a rather unsettling one from Fox News’ Shannon Bream picked up on the convention floor, where a Democratic delegate was irked that the arena was shouting “USA” to drown out the anti-war hecklers chanting “no more wars” and “lies” during former CIA Director Leon Panetta’s address. Apparently, Democrats shouldn’t do that because it’s a “Trump chant.”

So, being proud of your country, showing some patriotic fervor, and trying to push back against the fools being rude to Panetta is…bad because it’s somehow connected to Trump. That’s insane. The “USA” chants have long pre-dated this cycle and the 2008 cycle. It was heard at sporting events after the 9/11 attacks, where the country was more unified than ever—and lockstep behind then-President George W. Bush. I miss those days.

The truth of the matter is that shouting “USA” isn’t a Trump activity; it’s an American one. This isn’t something to get all crazy about. Additionally, it was somewhat appropriate, given that Panetta was interrupted as he discussed his parents’ immigration to the United States from Italy, where they started a restaurant and carved our their slice of the American dream, so yeah—“USA!” “USA!”

'Pearls Before Swine' Cartoon Mocking NSA Wiretapping Censored

The comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" is no stranger to controversy and is well-known for pushing the envelope. Apparently, yesterday's scheduled strip went a bit too far, and was not published in newspapers. Pearls Before Swine's cartoonist Stephan Pastis tweeted it out anyways, saying that he thought the strip was "harmless" and that the censorship was unnecessary.

Check it out:

Personally, I don't see the issue. Part of the appeal of Pearls Before Swine is that it's an edgier comic that takes more risk with its humor--it's not the saccharine Family Circus. It's also a strip known for its (often awesomely-bad) puns. This is nothing from the norm, and I don't understand why this couldn't be printed.

If this is the world we're living in now, I don't like it.

D’Souza Film Likening Hillary to a Criminal Becomes Most Successful Documentary of the Year

It turns out all you need for a successful documentary is a conservative message and Dinesh D’Souza. In the summer before the 2012 election, D’Souza released 2016: Obama’s America. While voters didn't heed the movie's warning judging by the election results, the film still enjoyed some serious box office success, earning $33.4 million. D'Souza has struck gold again with Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, which just became the top-grossing documentary of 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 12 days, it has already generated $5.2 million.

Timing is everything. D’Souza decided to release the film as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions were getting underway.

On the eve of the GOP gathering in Cleveland, Hillary's America took in $77,500 from five theaters in Texas for a stellar location average of $25,833. And last weekend — as the media's attention turned to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which kicked off Monday — the film expanded nationwide into a total of 1,217 theaters, grossing $4 million and coming in No. 10.

“The big criminals are still at large,” D’Souza says in the trailer, as he watches a Hillary Clinton press conference on TV from jail. “The system doesn’t go after them because they run the system.”

In addition to portraying Clinton as a criminal, Hillary’s America also uncovers the Democratic Party’s racist history that the film says stretched into the 20th century. D’Souza is also seen interviewing conservative pundits who define progressivism as social control with a dangerous reliance on Big Government.

“What if their plan is to steal America?” D’Souza asks.

Looking at the recent box office numbers, Americans are enamored with D’Souza’s message. This time, will those numbers be reflected in the election?

RELATED: D'Souza Explains 7 Things the Left Doesn’t Want You to Know About Their History

Money Talks: DNC Hack Exposes Federal Appointments for Major Dem Donors

PHILADELPHIA -- By now, you've probably heard that the Russian-linked DNC hack has exposed how party officials intentionally tilted the playing field against Bernie Sanders throughout the "Democratic" primary process. You've heard about how they peddled anti-Bernie stories to the press while voting was still going on. You've heard about how they mulled exploiting his religion, or lack thereof, to undermine his image among certain demographics. And you've heard about how they've discussed minorities as commodities and "customers" to be electorally-acquired through 'propaganda.' (Perhaps all of this could have been kept under wraps if the party had taken cyber security warnings more seriously, as opposed to privately mocking them in highly ironic emails). But here's another element of the email leaks that has received less attention thus far, via the transparency group Open Secrets:

Email exchanges involving top officials at the Democratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House. The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash. In an April 20, 2016 email, DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan canvassed what appears to be the committee’s finance department – its fundraising office – for names of people (mainly donors) to reward with federal appointments on boards and commissions...The White House strongly denied any link between financial support for the party and appointments.

That denial is not credible. At all. Obamaworld has been selling access to the White House and to Obama himself for years -- both in connection with presidential library fundraising efforts, as well as through Obama for America "Organizing for Action," or whatever they ended up renaming it.  It has not been subtle. And while it's in no way unprecedented for an administration to reward deep-pocketed donors with plum positions like ambassadorships (remember this?), Ed Morrissey notes one significant break from protocol revealed in these messages: "In truth these boards and commissions are routinely used to reward supporters. Usually, however, that isn’t handled by fundraising staff so as to avoid making it into an explicit quid pro quo."  The other issue at play here is hypocrisy.  Attendees of this convention have spent the week applauding one anti-Citizens United, Koch brothers-bashing, money-in-politics-lamenting speech after another.  We must reduce the corrosive influence of money on our politics, these liberals bray, even as their party rents out the White House and hands out prestigious presidential appointments to their own ultra-rich financiers.  As has always been the case, forever proven by Barack Obama, the Left is really against other people's money in politics.  When piles of sweet, sweet cash help their own heroes and causes, it's fine. Because that's different.  And that's how a mega-wealthy Clinton Foundation donor magically found himself on a sensitive national security panel despite his lack of qualifications; he was forced to resign when this came to light.  Speaking of the Clinton Foundation and credible accusations of sleazy pay-for-play impropriety, it looks like it's time for yet another federal investigation:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless” ... The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.” Koskinen’s July 22 reply came only a week after the House Republicans contacted the tax agency. It arrived to their offices Monday, the first opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The Exempt Organization Program is the division of the IRS that regulates the operations of public foundations and charities. House Republicans singled out Laureate Education and Uranium One as two companies that seemed to have paid lavish sums to the Clintons and later received official government benefits.

Ah yes, the IRS' Exempt Organization program. I'm sure they'll get right on this, in a characteristically evenhanded and above-board manner. Incidentally, we've written about both Laureate Education and Uranium One in this space previously. As we mentioned yesterday, James Comey recently declined to comment on whether the Clinton Foundation's practices were the subject of an FBI investigation, as Fox News' Catherine Herridge has reported.  I'll leave you with this investigative piece from NBC's Ronan Farrow on lavish spending, high rollers, and access-peddling at both parties' national conventions:

Here is The DNC Schedule For Thursday

The following 2016 Democrat Convention speaker agenda has been provided by the Democratic National Committee and is subject to change. The convention, being held in Philadelphia, started Monday and concludes Thursday. Below is the agenda for Thursday, July 28, 2016. 

Program hours: 4:30 PM Eastern Start Time

Location: Wells Fargo Arena

Beth Mathias

Beth works two jobs and her husband works the nightshift at a factory in Ohio. Hillary met Beth at a roundtable in Marion.

Jensen Walcott & Jake Reed

Jensen was fired from her job at a pizza restaurant in Bonner Springs, KS for asking her boss why she was paid 25 cents less than her male co-worker and friend, Jake. After Jensen and Jake’s story came to light, Hillary tweeted “Good for you, Jensen. Every woman deserves equal pay, no matter what her age. Keep up the hard work—and courage!”

Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan’s son, Humayun S. M. Khan was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Clinton spoke extensively about Kahn during a speech in Minneapolis.

Chelsea Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Well…At Least Obama Mentioned ISIS In His Speech

As Cortney noted on Monday, out of 61 speeches delivered that night—none mentioned ISIS. Now, after last night, which featured Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), and President Barack Obama as speakers, you would hope that the president would mention the threat we face from this Islamic terrorist group. Oh yes—the Republican National Committee was watching as well.

During the president’s speech that was prefaced by a video in which history did not begin until 2008 (or so it seemed), Obama praised Clinton (of course), tore into Trump, and said that America was already great. He also said that the Republican National Convention was fraught with pessimism (via ABC News):

"A lot’s happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge -– I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America," he said.

"I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America," he declared.


"This is a more fundamental choice -– about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government," he said. "We Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward."

In a remarkable series of broadsides leveled at Clinton's opponent, Obama rebuked Trump and the dire picture painted of the country by the GOP presidential nominee.

"America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump," he said, questioning Trump's qualifications.

"He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either," he said of Trump. "He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated."

He did mention ISIS, though–twice. But, as Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC noted, there was no mention of Iraq, where we’re deploying more troops; no mention of Israel; no mention of Libya (Benghazi); no mention of his push to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) into law; and no mention that the national debt has surpassed $19 trillion.

TPP isn’t the most popular swan song for the president to include on his playlist right now, though he seems to want to make signing it into law his last major act as president. The national debt has grown under Obama, which isn’t good—and it’s not like debt matters to Democrats anyway. You mention Benghazi, and then the media starts the whole inquiries into Clinton about her role—where she recently told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that security wasn’t her “ball to carry.” This also leads back into her email fiasco, which every Democrat so desperately wants to move on from, but can’t because we’re now debating whether the Democratic National Committee tried to rig the election for Clinton when she faced Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries. It sure injected a dose of animus into the Bernie camp present in Philadelphia. They’re playing it safe, though it still doesn’t shield the president from awkward moments, like when he said that Clinton would say anything to get elected—and a person who would change nothing in Washington.

Nevertheless, I guess the Democrats get a cookie (or gold star) for at least acknowledging that there is a vicious radical Islamic terrorist group called ISIS, they’re operating in Iraq, and they really want to kill us.

Oh, as for Tim Kaine—Hillary's running mate––he spoke, gave awkward Donald Trump impressions, and didn’t mention a single accomplishment from his days as Virginia’s governor. 

Is Tim Kaine Really Pro-life?

Hillary Clinton's new running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has claimed to be pro-life. As a "traditional Catholic," it's a personal matter to him, he's insisted. When he was governor of Virginia, he supported parental consent laws for young women seeking abortions as well as a partial-birth abortion ban. In 2005, before he ran for governor, he supported abstinence education.

Yet, pro-life groups have been quick to point out that once Kaine entered the U.S. Senate, everything changed. Since 2012, he has a voting record that has earned him a 100 percent rating from the pro-abortion group NARAL. 

The Susan B. Anthony List released a statement over the weekend arguing the Clinton-Kaine ticket could not be more "pro-abortion extreme." Kaine, the group points out, refused to support the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the latter of which prohibits late-term abortions after five months, while serving in the Senate.

If these stark flip flops didn't convince you that Kaine is all talk and no action when it comes to being "pro-life," consider that Tuesday night he reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment. Hyde is common sense legislation that prevents taxpayers from funding abortions. While the Virginia senator had before opposed it, this week he decided he's fine with it.

“You cannot be ‘personally’ opposed to the destruction of innocent human life and take no action to stop it," SBA List Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement Wednesday. "Voters should not be fooled by Tim Kaine. There is no daylight between him and Hillary Clinton on this issue. They are absolute extremists pushing the Democratic Party further and further left on abortion, alienating the one-third of Democrats who call themselves pro-life."

When he accepted his party's vice presidential nomination on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, he assured voters that Clinton would fight to defend Roe v. Wade. In other words, he's forgotten about the fight he first pledged to wage.

Kaine can claim he's pro-life, but his record proves otherwise.

Russia Disrespects Obama Once Again, Joins Chinese Navy in South China Sea for Joint Training

Russia has teamed up with the Chinese navy in the South China Sea to conduct a joint training exercise which only escalates tensions over the contested islands.  

The China’s Defense Ministry insisted the “routine” drills were only aimed at strengthening their relationship with Russia.

“This is a routine exercise between the two armed forces, aimed at strengthening the developing China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership,” China’s defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference.  “The exercise is not directed against third parties.

These drills deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation, raise the ability to jointly deal with security threats, and benefit the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability,” he continued.

Chinese ships have challenged vessels from the U.S., the Philippines and other nations in disputed waters, and China considers the United Nation's tribunal ruling earlier this month to be completely invalid.

Dems Are Now Offering a Reward For Trump's Tax Returns

Trump has long insisted he can’t release his tax returns because they’re currently under review, reiterating this position on Wednesday at a news conference in Florida.

But that’s not stopping Democrats (and Republicans) from wanting to know what’s in them. Some donors have even offered rewards for their release.

Moishe Mana, a top fundraiser for Clinton, has offered to give $1 million to the charity of Trump's choice if he makes them public. He joins an unnamed Republican donor working with Clinton ally David Brock who has made a similar offer of $5 million.

"Through his financial documents, we are trying to break into the image that he's portraying to the American people," said Mana, a real estate developer in Miami. "He says he's a successful businessman who wants to do for the country what he did for his company. Well, go ahead, show me the money."

The issue again surfaced this week after the DNC email hack, which the Obama administration has said was likely Russia’s doing.

Trump insists he has no ties to the country, but Democrats say they can’t be so sure without the release of his tax returns.

“Think of what's gone on just this week and connect the dotted lines," billionaire venture capitalist and Clinton donor J.B. Pritzker told the AP. "I'm not sure what's going on, but it sure doesn't look good. The question is who his investors are, and whether there are any in China or Russia that are affecting his personal income."

Mana had similar beliefs. If he’s elected president, "how much in debt would we be to other countries? This is about the security of the United States. We have the right to make sure he's not in debt to other countries."

The IRS has said there’s no legal reason Trump can’t release his tax returns while they are being audited. 

Pelosi: White Men Don't Support Hillary Because They're God-fearing Homophobic Gun Nuts

In an interview on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, PBS host Judy Woodruff asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi about the fact that Donald Trump is handily beating Hillary Clinton among ‘non-college educated’ white men, and how the Democratic nominee would be able to counter that.

Pelosi said that Clinton will be able to make up for the deficit with a strong economic agenda, but then proceeded to explain why the Democratic nominee is doing so poorly among this demographic.

“So many times non college educated white males have voted Republican, have voted against their own economic interest because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G’s,” she said, “God being the woman’s right to choose.”

Her answer—revealing how Democrats truly feel about this segment of the population—is reminiscent of President Obama’s infamous remarks in 2008 when he categorized conservatives as those who’ve become “bitter and cling to their guns” and “religion.”

Analysis: In His Element, America's Speech-Giver-in-Chief Soars, Kaine Fizzles

(1) The Bernie folks booed Leon Panetta, President Obama's former Defense Secretary and CIA director. Too serious about killing terrorists and keeping the country safe for the far-Left's liking, it seems.

(2) Joe Biden was likable, over-the-top, and a little bit goofy.  Per usual. His personal family loss engenders sincere nonpartisan sympathy, which manifested itself again tonight. He played the blue collar card, as always, and ripped into Donald Trump -- employing the word "literally" too often, as always, and getting hyper-political immediately after promising an apolitical part of the speech. In other words, Biden was Biden. If you like that sort of thing, you dug it.  He'd be a much better nominee than Hillary.  Trump is lucky to have her.

(3) I wasn't sure how Mike Bloomberg would play, but he did very well. Reviled by conservatives for being a petty, gun-grabbing nanny-stater (who occasionally tells important truths), Bloomberg specifically tailored his address to independent voters. He praised Republicans and Democrats alike, drawing some boos for mentioning education reform and deficit reduction. But his audience was sitting at home, not in the hall.  His message was well-designed and effective.  Bloomberg framed his remarks as an appeal to pragmatism and sanity, begging people to reject Trump and select Hillary, whom he called the only responsible choice:

(4) Tim Kaine was...not good. He seems like a nice, genuine guy -- despite having gutlessly sold out to the abortion extremists who dominate his party. Twitter compared him to a goofy dad, which seems about right. The content of his speech was instantly forgettable, with the possible exception of his cringe-y Trump impression. His delivery was halting and tentative. He seemed uncomfortable in the limelight. He did not look or sound like someone who's ready to be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.  It probably won't matter.  His personal background is impressive. He's known as a good man with a good family. And his (ostensible) moderation is at least a symbolic departure from the inexorable leftward slide of the party. But Kaine is a do-no-harm VP pick, and so he cleared that low bar this evening.

(5) President Obama's tenure in office is nearly over, thankfully. Despite a gauzy introductory video and some requisite boasting about his record, Obama's two signature "accomplishments" -- Obamacare and the Iran deal -- are enduringly unpopular, failing, and built on lies. The vast majority of Americans believe we're on the wrong track as a nation under his divisive leadership. The president's approval rating has benefited from America's historically-alienating and -disliked major party nominees.  His tribute to Hillary Clinton, and his criticisms of Donald Trump, played very well in an arena packed with adoring fans.  Obama was in his element, giving a soaring speech, the themes of which often diverged from his actions and tone on the job.  He devoted portions of the address to describing Trump as un-Republican and non-conservative, fashioning passages to appeal to disaffected center-right voters.  And of course he offered a heavy dose of liberalism to the gathered partisans.  He talks a good game on unity, and he did so again tonight.  Practicing what he preaches is not his strong suit.  Bottom line: Hillary's favorable rating is horrendous.  And as of this week, it's identical to Trump's.  She joined Obama on stage as the conclusion of what felt like his presidential valediction, all smiles.  It's her moment.  But she is not a talented, trusted, or beloved politician.  If she's going to get a bounce -- and she likely will -- she can thank both Obamas and her husband for it.  I'm sure Chelsea will be lovely, and Hillary will give a workmanlike speech, but I almost wonder if this would actually be the better -- if totally implausible -- play for her:

Onward, to Thursday's anticlimactic finale....

Obama Addresses the DNC: "There Has Never Been Anyone More Qualified to Serve as President"

It was 12 years ago that Barack Obama addressed the Democratic convention for the first time in the 2004 presidential campaign.  

He was praised for his bailouts of car manufacturers, passing into law of Obamacare, and efforts to pass gun control in an opening video before making his case for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  

Obama ripped the Republican convention by saying that the speeches were mostly pessimistic views of America.  

Obama said that Clinton's VP pick should clear up any doubt about her judgment.  He added that Clinton is the most qualified candidate in the history of the United States. 

He ironically said "democracy works" as he mentioned Bernie Sanders, the man who had the election rigged against him.  

Obama closed his speech with his famed sermon of 'hope,' as he asked the democratic party to accept and elect Hillary Clinton as the next president.