Socialist Venezuela New Food Police Unit Targeting People For Waiting In Supermarket Lines

Venezuelans continue to fight for survival, as the nation’s socialist experiment has all but collapsed. Looting is commonplace. Hunger is rampant, with Venezuelans of every economic class eating out of garbage cans for sustenance. And a medical system that is so starved of supplies, like soap and gloves, that newborns are reportedly being put in cardboard boxes in maternity wards. That’s coupled with the spikes in infant deaths that began when the country started to falter. The energy shortages haven’t helped either. The rapid inflation has rendered the nation’s currency worthless, there’s no real domestic food production, and all of this has led to empty shelves at supermarkets.

The long lines have been a source of ire for the socialist government led by President Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s successor, who says that his nation’s economic woes are brought on by outside sources. He’s banned lines outside of bakeries and supermarkets. Those who are willing to sleep outside of supermarkets to beat the rush are arrested and detained. As The Washington Post reported, these people are given sentences like community service and cleaning the streets, but they’re not defined punishments in Venezuelan law. Moreover, there’s no clear definition as to what constitutes hoarding or transactions on the black market. It’s the Maduro government’s attempt to find a scapegoat. So far, almost 10,000 people have been scooped up by “Dracula’s bus,” which might as well be the nickname for the food police:

The hunt for food started at 4 a.m., when Alexis Camascaro woke up to get in line outside the supermarket. By the time he arrived, there were already 100 people ahead of him.

Camascaro never made it inside. Truckloads of Venezuelan troops arrived in the darkness, arresting him and nearly 30 others seemingly pulled from the queue at random, according to his lawyer. Camascaro, 50, was charged with violating laws against interfering “directly or indirectly” with the production, transportation or sale of food. He has been in jail for three months awaiting a hearing.

I went to see the prosecutors and explained that he was just buying some food for his family. He’s not a bachaquero,” said Lucía Mata, Camascaro’s attorney, using the Venezuelan term for someone who buys scarce, price-capped or government-subsidized goods to resell on the black market.


…[T]he Venezuelan government has arrested or detained at least 9,400 people this year for allegedly breaking laws against hoarding, reselling goods or attempting to stand in line outside normal store hours, according to the Venezuelan human rights organization Movimiento Vinotinto. Many were taken into custody by the Venezuelan troops assigned to police the checkout aisles and the long lines snaking into supermarkets.

Ismary Quiros, a deputy director at Movimiento Vinotinto, said the law does not define exactly what constitutes illegal hoarding, smuggling, or reselling of goods. She said the government’s real goal is to find scapegoats for the scarcities.


According to the Caracas-based rights group Provea, national guard troops have periodically carried out a mass-arrest operation nicknamed “Dracula’s Bus” to round up Venezuelans trying to wait in line overnight for groceries, now a banned practice.

Oh, and of course, due process is a not even considered in these proceedings. The Post added that many that are arrested are simply trying to keep their families alive, with economists estimating that almost half of the Venezuelan workforce is dependent on black market goods to make it through the day. When you have to mandate that people leave their jobs to work in the fields, you know your economic experiment has failed. When the nation’s military is part of a new policing unit to monitor food distribution, you know 21st Century Socialism is a total disaster.

Watch Live: Clinton Holds Rally in Florida

More Zombie Voters Discovered, This Time in VA

The curious case of the dead voters continues, this time in Virginia, where at least 19 people who are very much dead are very much registered to vote.

The FBI is investigating why 19 dead people were registered to vote in the town of Harrisonburg. The people were registered by a group that was attempting to register (alive) students to vote at James Madison University. The voter registration fraud was discovered when a clerk looking over the entries recognized one of the names as the deceased father of a local judge.

From the Washington Post:

One case came to light after relatives of a deceased man received a note congratulating him for registering, Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst said Thursday.

“His family members were very distraught,” said Garst, who confirmed the existence of the FBI and police investigation but said she could provide few details because the case is ongoing.

All 19 were initially registered as voters in the Shenandoah Valley city of Harrisonburg, although a clerk double-checking the entries later raised questions about one. She recognized the name of Richard Allen Claybrook Sr., who died in 2014 at age 87, because his son is a well-known local judge. She happened to recall that the judge’s father had died.

Meanwhile, the zombie voter epidemic has also touched Colorado, where dozens of deceased people were found on the voter registration list and sent mail-in ballots. Also, in Washington, it was revealed that the state effectively only requires a pinkie promise that a person attempting to register to vote is actually a citizen and will not make an attempt to verify this claim. Great work, everyone!

Analysis: As Hillary Attacks on Treatment of Women, Countering with Clintons' History is Fair Game

First things first: Calling a woman "Miss Piggy" while pressuring her to lose weight is mean-spirited -- even if her weight gain constituted a contract violation, and even if demanding that she trim down was entirely justified. Calling a woman of Hispanic ethnicity "Miss Housekeeping" is racially-tinged, to put it charitably, and demeaning. And talking about Bill Clinton's decades-old sexual escapades and misconduct is probably not productive ground on which to be fighting, in the context of a late-stages presidential election. (Making cracks about Mrs. Clinton's health, after having shown advantageous restraint, is definitely not helpful to Trump). All of which is to say that I have no intention of defending Trump's boorish excesses, both alleged and manifest. That being said, however, the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton's latest attack on Trump has been predictable and biased. Various outlets had stories about Alicia Machado in the can, evidently waiting for Clinton to unleash her attack on Trump at the debate, followed up by a slickly-produced campaign video. This is known as "coordination." In a column for CBS News, Will Rahn notes that few outlets have delved into Machado's sordid past, which includes alleged entanglement in a murder, violent threats against a judge, an affair with a drug kingpin, and a sex tape-related break-up with an athlete. If she's effectively being trotted out as a character witness against Trump, news consumers should be given all the facts:

An obscure figure in America less than a week ago, Machado is perhaps the biggest story in politics at the moment. So it’s almost inexplicable that, despite all this coverage, the publications discussing the extraordinary stories of her life are mostly right-wing ones. The most interesting thing about the mainstream articles is what they leave out. There is no discussion at CNN or The New York Times, for instance, about her post-pageant fame as the fiancée of Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu, or how he reportedly called it off after a reality show she was on revealed video of her apparently having sex with a housemate. Likewise, there is little mention of how a Venezuelan judge once alleged on live TV that Machado had threatened to kill him. Or how the Mexican attorney general’s office later said she was the girlfriend of a major narco trafficker, and that she he had a child with him, according to Univision and other outlets. Or how a government witness who reportedly testified about their affair was later shot to death...Additionally, if all the allegations against Machado are true, they would not necessarily undermine her accusations against Trump. People should not sit off in priggish judgment of her life, or assume she’s a liar because she made mistakes when she was younger. But that doesn’t mean that her life, which has been reported on extensively in the Spanish language press, should be sanitized and whitewashed by the press. The political media is not in the beatification business; if it’s out there, readers deserve to know it.

Meanwhile, as Katie mentioned yesterday, the Trump campaign has distributed marching orders to its surrogates, recommending that questions about the GOP nominee's treatment of women be countered with reminders of former President Bill Clinton's conduct, and his wife's complicity in viciously attacking his accusers. Many in the press have reacted by fanning themselves, overwhelmed by the vapors of "beyond the pale" indignation. Look at what these horrible people are saying about the Clintons. Here's one representative tweet from a CBS News correspondent in disseminating the talking points:

Bill Clinton's misdeeds aren't merely limited to "dalliances," such as receiving oral sex in the Oval Office from a very young intern, which he also did. Serious allegations against him include misconduct, harassment, and forcible rape. Blaming Bill's wife for his sins (Rudy Giuliani's recent broadside seems particularly foolish) is unfair. Pointing out that she's tolerated and enabled the sexual objectification and exploitation of women in order to protect her political interests is fair game. As is drawing attention to the role she played in trying to destroy 'unhelpful' women, especially since she's chosen to make Trump's poor treatment of women a central line of attack.  As far as narratives go, going blow-for-blow on infidelity, sexual misconduct and the treatment of women (especially spearheaded by three guys with nine wives among them) doesn't seem strategically smart.  But it's at least preferable to spouting  ludicrous anti-empiricism on polling or peddling bonkers conspiracy theories.  I'll leave you with Rush Limbaugh unhelpfully calling Machado a "porn star bimbo" in the process of more helpfully pleading with Trump to turn the page on this whole chapter:

Yeah, Rush, who could have ever anticipated Trump (a non-conservative whom you -- ahem -- "never" took seriously on immigration) getting easily baited into committing unforced errors by fighting petty, counter-productive battles? Aside from, you know, everyone?

UPDATE - Who's up for a manic, paranoid 3am tweet storm, with fewer than 40 days to go until the election?

Um: We Also Lifted Sanctions on Iran Same Day As Ransom

UPDATE: House Speaker Paul Ryan responds.

It's hard to believe, but the Iran ransom scandal we learned about has taken another turn for the worst. We already know that on the same day that Iran released four American prisoners, the U.S. government forked over $1.7 billion in cash. That's not all. Now, officials report that we lifted UN sanctions on two key Iranian banks as part of the swap agreement, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. agreed in a third document to support the immediate delisting of the two Iranian banks, according to senior U.S. officials. In the hours after the documents were signed at a Swiss hotel, the different elements of the agreement went forward: The Americans were released, Iran took possession of the $400 million in cash, and the U.N. Security Council removed sanctions on Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International, these officials said.

These sanctions were supposed to remain in place until 2023. Yet, the U.S. agreed to lift them after Iran claimed Bank Sepah was critical to their economic growth. So, we apparently complied - and the timing was no coincidence, officials say.

“Lifting the sanctions on Sepah was part of the package,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the deliberations. “The timing of all this isn’t coincidental. Everything was linked to some degree.”

Why were these banks sanctioned in the first place? They are reportedly connected to Iran's missile program.

Congress has passed legislation making it illegal to send future ransom payments to Iran.

Steny Hoyer Doubts Democratic Takeover of House

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is hopeful Democrats will pick up a handful of seats in November's House elections, but stopped short of predicting a complete takeover.

“It is not beyond the realm of possibility that we take back the House if there’s a wave election created," he told reporters on Thursday. "Right now, we don’t see that."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also downplayed expectations, simply telling reporters it's too early to tell.

The last time Republicans had the opportunity to take the House, they didn't waste it.

The Democrats have a much better shot at retaking the Senate, but over the summer Guy analyzed how even that outcome may be in jeopardy.

USA Today Breaks Its Presidential Election Silence For the First Time in History

By unanimous consent, USA Today has declared GOP nominee Donald Trump to be "unfit for the presidency."

With this harsh announcement on Thursday, the outlet broke its 34-year silence in regards to presidential politics. Yet, with a 50 percent chance that Donald Trump will be our next president, the editors saw no choice but to speak up.

From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.

Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protections.

In case that didn't convince their readers, the editorial goes on to list several bolded reasons why they should not vote Trump, including how he's a "serial liar," "ill-equipped" and has run a campaign built on prejudice.

Also in bold print, however, is the line that reads their editorial is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. 

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential running mate, felt immediately compelled to respond to their unflattering post. He penned his own editorial, entitled "Donald Trump is ready to lead."

States Sue Obama Administration in Last-Ditch Effort to Stop US From Giving Up Control of Internet

Republican attorneys general from Nevada, Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma are suing the Obama administration in a last-ditch effort to stop the U.S. from giving up control of the internet’s domain name system.

“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”

The AGs … asked a judge late Wednesday to step in and stop the transition to an international oversight body, after GOP lawmakers failed to stall the move as part of a short-term spending bill. 

Paxton was among the four Republican AGs who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division. 

The U.S. government has been in charge of domain names for more than three decades, thanks to a Commerce Department agency's oversight of an obscure, but powerful, Los Angeles-based nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). 

The lawsuit argues that if the transfer takes place, as it’s scheduled to on Oct. 1, people will “lose the predictability, certainty, and protections that currently flow from federal stewardship of the Internet and instead be subjected to ICANN’s unchecked control.” 

The suit argues the looming transfer violates the property clause in the U.S. Constitution which prohibits handing over government property without Congress’ approval. The suit also claims the handoff would violate First Amendment rights and says ICANN, the nonprofit owners in control, would be unchecked and could start to censor speech. […]

Republicans in Congress, though, have long-objected to the transfer, which they called a “giveaway” to the rest of the world. They argue that handing over control to a non-government entity would give countries like Russia and China the ability to control online speech – something supporters categorically deny. 

The new lawsuit also claims ICANN “has a documented history of ignoring or operating outside of its governing bylaws.”

“Nothing protects the Plaintiffs from additional occurrences of ICANN oversight failures,” the suit says.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai warned Americans on the “Sean Hannity Show” Wednesday that giving up control to ICANN should be worrisome for anyone who values “free expression and free speech rights generally.”

WATCH: Sheriff David A. Clarke Explains Why He Arrested a Hostile Airline Passenger

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. wasn’t about to let a rowdy and intoxicated man intimidate his fellow airline passengers and flight crew on the way to Charlotte over the weekend.

When the man “would not calm down no matter what”—yelling at passengers, running down the aisle, sitting in different seats, cursing and swearing—Clarke took action.

“I used reasonable force,” he explained. But when the man wouldn’t sit down, Clarke “shoved him face down into the seat, pinned him against the seat and put one arm behind his back, told him to stay there and not resist arrest.”

He also made racially charged remarks to Clarke, saying, “Oh, you’re one of those kind of ni**ers, and what he meant was, ‘why don’t you give me a break, I’m a black guy,’ that’s how I interpreted it, but like many other police officers, we don’t care about that, we don’t care about color and gender or whatnot, we care about what the law is and protecting people and that’s what I did,” Clarke told Fox News’ Stuart Varney.  

ACC Moves Championship Game in Protest Over North Carolina's Bathroom Law

Protests over North Carolina’s bathroom law continue with the Atlantic Coast Conference deciding to move its football championship game from the state to Orlando.

The law, which requires that people use the public restroom that corresponds to their biological gender rather than the gender they identify with, has been called discriminatory by opponents, leading to companies, sports and entertainment figures pulling business from the state.

The conference’s move comes after the NCAA made a similar decision to pull its championships from the state. And while it wasn’t required of them, the league’s Council of Presidents noted in a statement that it did so in order to “uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination.”  

“Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites,” reads the statements. “We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”

The game will still be held on Saturday, Dec. 3. 

Flashback: Occidental Leftists Were Triggered By 9/11 Memorial, American Flag Is A 'Symbol of Institutionalized Violence'

Okay—so remember when liberals trashed a 9/11 memorial at Occidental College? I forgot to mention a few things from that disgusting incident. The college is investigating the matter, though the students behind the incident seem to have used the Code: Oxy (Coalition for Diversity and Equity) Facebook page to divulge some grade-A progressive drivel, namely that the American flag, which was used to dot the memorial (around 3,000, one for each victim) is a triggering symbol:

To Whom It May Concern,

We are writing to you regarding the distress many students experienced when walking through the quad on September 10th around 5:00 PM. On a campus that proclaims itself time and again to be diverse, equitable and safe for all of its students, the display of American flags covering the entire Academic Quad disproved that proclamation. When we became aware of the purpose of this display, to memorialize 9/11, we were concerned by the complete disregard for the various peoples affected by this history.

As students of color, this symbol of the American flag is particularly triggering for many different reasons. For us, this flag is a symbol of institutionalized violence (genocide, rape, slavery, colonialism, etc.) against people of color, domestically as well as globally. Additionally, if the goal of the memorial is to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11, the singular nature of the American flag fails to account for the diversity of lives lost on that day.

Historically, the American flag and subsequent American nationalist symbols, have been polarizing and marginalizing to people of color living within the United States. This has been most recently exemplified in Colin Kaepernick's protest of the American national anthem.

When this institution allows thousands of American flags to be placed in the center of campus it speaks volumes to the students that have lived their lives under the oppression of this flag. From Native students whose land was stolen to undocumented students who live in fear of deportation to Black students who see their communities destroyed by state sanctioned murder, this school is saying your fear and trauma do not matter here.

This isn’t pansy social justice warrior 101. It’s the facts. This attack occurred in America. The overwhelming majority of victims were Americans; hence the American flags at the memorial. Oh, and the perpetrators were Islamic terrorists. This isn’t the time to lament about Wounded Knee or the Tuskegee experiment. And excuse us if that flag was seen when we liberated Europe or tried to keep South Vietnam free from socialism, delivered humanitarian aid when the Indonesian tsunami killed over 200,000 people; and kept South Korea from succumbing to the perniciousness of communism. In fact, that flag spent the better half of the 20th century keeping the world free.

“The American flag fails to account for the diversity of lives lost on that day.”

Americans died that day. It was horrific. And the want to turn that day of remembrance into some hyper left wing diversity exercise where we pick the ethnicities of Americans who were killed, as if we’re choosing our favorite Jelly Bellys from a jar, to construct some nonsensical narrative. We’re all one, kiddies, especially on that day…if you remember.

On September 13, Code: Oxy said they weren’t involved with the desecration of the memorial, two days after the American flag is the symbol of all evil:

Disclaimer: It was not CODE who took these actions, rather a group of students who utilized the CODE Facebook page in order to increase the audience reached. CODE will be releasing a statement on Tuesday about their position, but for now CODE is being used as an anonymous platform in the hope of increasing dialogue and transparency.

To whom it may concern,

On the night of September 10th 2016 a group of students from Occidental College attempted to create a memorial that provided a more encompassing understanding of the horrific effects of 9/11.


Given the heightened media attention centering the events that have transpired this past weekend, we sense that many students would like to hear the counter narrative below:

In efforts to memorialize the tragedy of 9/11, 2,996 flags were placed on the Oxy academic quad on Saturday the 10th to honor the innocent individuals who died on American soil. Later that same night, those flags were removed by individuals who wished to demonstrate a more holistic approach to honoring not only those who died on American soil on 9/11, but the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died as a result of the U.S’s subsequent invasion and War on Terror.


Again, the removal of the flags was not intended to dismiss those who passed away that day, but to broaden the scope of whose narrative gets to be told in relationship to tragedy.

Granted, this is college. It’s a time to be introduced to new ideas, some radical, and some very, very bad. For conservatives, it’s a four-year period of abuse. Some take on the suffocating progressive ethos that has infested our campuses. Others, fearing retribution from their peers (an unfortunate event) go into the bunker. For liberals who run the table in a college’s sociopolitical scene, it’s a time to whine and expound on imaginary things that trigger people, creating safe spaces for those afflicted by those special imaginary things—and blame conservatives for it. Oh, and when conservatives do offer a contrary opinion, it’s racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobic, xenophobic, and any other “ism” that you can think of because liberals feel they have some moral superiority over others because their feelings tell them so.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing the war in Iraq. There is plenty there, but not on 9/11, kids. No one cares about your views on diversity; no one cares about the ramification of the war on terror; no one bloody cares. It’s about remembering the day we were attacked, the day we prayed for our citizens who were murdered, and the day we came together as one nation. In the aftermath, we honored the dead, the lives they led, and the heroes who stopped more bloodshed - like everyone who was on Flight 93.

Knowing that day, our history, our values, our culture, all I can say, as a person of color, is U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! It’s a day to remember a horrific tragedy. Get with the program, kids. You don’t see people asking whether the atomic bombings were necessary (they were!), or why they were dropped on Japanese people instead of Germans, for every anniversary of Pearl Harbor . 

Oh, and to the school's Republican club–bravo for replacing the flags. 

Tim Burton Is Not a Fan of Political Correctness

It's easy to pick out a Tim Burton film. Eerie music, whimsical plots and eccentric costumes are all musts for a Burton masterpiece like Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yet, some critical movie goers have apparently noticed another feature of Burton's zany creations: a lack of diversity.

The Hollywood director is now facing criticism for not casting enough minority actors in his films, particularly his soon to be released Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. A Bustle reporter confronted Burton about why the cast is so white. Instead of succumbing to pressure, Burton pushed back at the politically correct rhetoric and defended his directorial decisions.

Hollywood has had its share of racial controversy in the last year or so. Several actors and actresses boycotted or spoke out against last year's Oscars ceremony because the academy did not nominate enough minority actors, they claimed.

As for Burton's recent comments, it seems he's lost a few ticket sales.

Wait–Did California Just Decriminalize Child Prostitution?

I’m not so sure that this is a good idea, folks. I understand the reasons, but does anyone else think there is a better way to combat child prostitution? In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown just signed legislation that decriminalized child prostitution in the state (via Sacramento Bee):

Cementing a major shift in how California handles sex crimes, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation decriminalizing prostitution for minors.

By prohibiting law enforcement from arresting people under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent, Senate Bill 1322 effectively shields those young people from criminal penalties. Advocates argued that young sex workers should be treated as victims, not criminals.


While embracing the idea of treating young sex workers as victims, law enforcement groups warned that removing penalties would remove a crucial tool for detaining young people and keeping them away from their abusers.

For any lawyer, wouldn’t any levelheaded prosecuting attorney exhibit some discretion over whether to charge an abused 15-year-old girl with solicitation? Like most policies coming out of California, it shouldn’t shock us if this move backfires, which will have tragic consequences. We’ll see how this works out, though the notion of decriminalizing this horrific enterprise seems to be done without much foresight.

Howard Dean: I Don't Know If Trump Does Cocaine, But He Might–And Other Absurd Post-Debate Trump Attacks

Cocaine, a shady beauty pageant, and weight questions are being thrown at Donald Trump post-debate—and it’s getting ridiculous. The media is saying that Clinton did well. Some polls have her getting a boost in the polls, though within the margin of error, so what’s with all of this desperation? Seriously, it’s nut bar factor six, with allegations that Trump might be a cocaine user, which was lobbed into the social media universe by none other than former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on Monday night; a comment that former Obama adviser David Axelrod described as “nuts.” Dean doubled down saying that he doesn’t know if Trump is a coke user—but he’s certainly exhibiting the symptoms of being one (via The Hill):

That is actually a signature of people who use cocaine,” said Dean, a doctor and former Democratic presidential candidate.

“I’m not suggesting that Trump does, but I’m suggesting we think about it, because here’s the interesting constellation — he sniffs during the presentation, which is something that users do,” he added.

“[Trump] also has grandiosity, which is something that accompanies that problem…It’s something I think it’d be interesting to ask him and see if he ever had a problem with that.”

MSNBC host Kate Snow pushed back against Dean’s assertions, questioning how they differ from unfounded innuendo about Hillary Clinton’s health.

“But I don’t think this is a ridiculous idea,” he responded. "Something funny was going on with Trump last night. Do I think it’s cocaine — probably not.

“But again — the sniffing, the grandiosity, the delusions, the pressured speech — this guy has already proven himself to be unstable, the question is why is he unstable,” Dean said.

So, if people sniffle, they’re unstable? And I wouldn’t necessarily call questions into Clinton’s health unfounded. She did try to hide pneumonia from the press for some odd reason, which she was then forced to admit her diagnosis when she had a medical episode at the 9/11 Memorial, where we see the former first lady stumbling off the curb, being tossed into her van, and then disappearing for 90 minutes before we knew about her whereabouts and her condition. It’s nothing serious, but it did feed into the culture of secrecy narrative that has undercut her campaign and exacerbated the dismal honesty and trustworthiness numbers she has with voters.

Still, this was a pathetic way to undercut Trump by saying he’s a drug user, which is unadulterated crap.

The next bizarre salvo against the Republican nominee post-debate occurred when Alicia Machado was invoked on Monday night. Machado was the winner of Miss Universe in 1996, who alleges that Trump verbally abused her about her weight and ethnicity; he reportedly called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” The Clinton campaign then rolls out an ad showing the allegations lobbed at Trump from Machado. Okay, folks—are we serious with this garbage? A former Miss Universe winner, a beauty queen, says that Trump is a bad, bad man who shouldn’t be president. Oh, well that settles it for me (sarc.)! As the media peeked into her past, let’s just say they found it to be quite checkered, including allegations that she was possibly involved in a murder and threatened the life of a judge (via Free Beacon):

She has endorsed Clinton and has made a round of media appearances this week to discuss her experiences with Trump. Trump surrogates have pushed back with reports about Machado’s past, and, in a clip flagged by Mediaite, CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked her about them.

“There are reports that Trump surrogates tonight have been referencing and pointing to on CNN and elsewhere about an incident in 1998 in Venezuela, where you were accused of driving a getaway car from a murder scene,” Cooper said. “You were never charged with this. The judge in the case also said you threatened to kill him after he indicted your boyfriend for the attempted murder. I just want to give you a chance to address these reports that the Trump surrogates are talking about.”

Machado waved her hand flippantly.

“He can say whatever he wants to say,” she said. “I don’t care. You know, I have my past, of course. Everybody has a past, and I’m not a saint girl.”

What!? Was this person even vetted? A person who seems to be unhinged was allowed to be in a media spot for a major campaign to show that Trump is a bad guy, whom no one will take seriously because who takes beauty queens seriously. Allahpundit may have a theory:

The only explanation I can come up with is that Clinton is playing a very cynical media game premised on the short attention spans of voters. She greenlit the Machado ad, I think, believing that by the time the media reported the old business about murder in Venezuela, the target audience would have already processed the underlying point — Trump is cruel, especially to women — and moved on.

The next attack is just trolling (and a very bad joke). Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said that she and other Democratic female senators are worried about Trump’s weight and want him to have daily weigh in to assure the public that he’s healthy because old, sick Hillary almost falling off a curb due to pneumonia, dehydration, overheating, and disappearing for 90 minutes wasn’t an issue right? Again, fire away Democrats. That's your right. But if we’re going to play this game, then I want daily health reports on Clinton to make sure those blood clots are not reoccurring in her head again. I’m…so very concerned about that.

Democrats are just flinging things against the wall—and these attacks aren’t going to stick. The beauty queen drama is absurd, the coke accusation is abject hilarity, and the weight stuff is just pathetic. What are Democrats so worried for about old, sick, lying Hillary? Are they worried about turnout? I mean, they should, but this isn’t going to do much on that end. It just shows that maybe the ammunition that Democrats have against Trump is spent, so they’re really going into fantasyland to find ways to attack his character.

George W. Bush Takes Off on 100K Bike Ride With Veterans

Former President George W. Bush kicked off his 6th annual 100 kilometer bike ride with veterans today from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. 

Since leaving the White House, Bush has stayed away from the political media spotlight and has heavily focused on helping veterans reassimilate into society after coming home from war.

Viral Video: Trash Talking Fan Wins Bet, Sinks Putt Seen 'Round the World

Yep, this is my second sports-related post in as many days, but this clip is too fun not to share. Here's some background: The Ryder Cup, a golf tournament in which American and European players compete against each other, is underway in Minnesota -- with national/continental bragging rights on the line. In today's action, English golfer Justin Rose missed a putt, drawing heckles from an American fan, who shouted that he could have made the shot. The European team decided to challenge the man to put his money where he mouth was, wagering $100 that he'd miss it.  The spectator was ushered onto the green, much to the delight and amusement of the crowd. He then lined up his angle, as onlookers grew quiet just before he tapped the ball...and sunk the putt. The crowd went nuts, obviously, and a random red-clad loudmouth won himself a Benjamin. Via international phenom Rory McIlroy, awesome:

An alternate view from the (not so) cheap seats:


Watch Live: Trump Speaks in Bedford, New Hampshire

Clinton Spox: Actually, Clinton Just Hoped TPP Would Be The 'Gold Standard' Or Something

In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton didn’t call the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade deals. I mean, she said it, but it was within the context of hoping that it would become that or something, according to the Clinton campaign. The video clip that Wolf Blitzer played for Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon was pretty explicit that "hope" wasn’t an aspect being considered in her 2012 speech about the trade agreement in Australia. Yet, they have to spin something about this, as TPP is deeply unpopular with Democrats and their union supporters. It could be a magnet that Trump can use to siphon off support from disaffected Democrats, especially union members.

While the leadership of our nation’s largest unions might be all in for Clinton, their members are giving Trump a fair hearing—and some feared that defections could occur this November. To mitigate this possibility, Clinton needs to do everything she can to provide a buffer between herself and TPP, though with her dismal trustworthy numbers—it’s dubious to say whether this will work or not. Clinton was hoping TPP would be the “gold standard”…that’s just a lie, folks. Clinton’s shift on trade was accelerated during the 2016 primaries when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shifted her to the left on this issue. In fact, TPP is just one hurdle for her to overcome. NAFTA is another trade agreement signed under the presidency of Bill Clinton that’s loathed by America’s unions. Trump hammered Clinton heavily over trade, saying she’s been in public life for three decades and didn’t do anything to stop the flow of American jobs leaving the country. Love him or hate him, Trump resonates in the Rust Belt.

CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “He did bring up the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, trade deal. Here’s the exchange he had. Listen to this.”

[Video clip]

TRUMP: “You called it the gold standard. You called it the gold standard of trade deals, you said it’s the finest trade deal you’ve ever seen. And then you heard what I said about it, and all of the sudden you were against it.”

CLINTON: “Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts.”

BLITZER: “Alright so we did a reality check, and we found this statement she made back in 2012, when she was secretary of state, in Australia, she made this statement.”

[Video clip]

CLINTON: “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open, free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”

BLITZER: “Alright so she’s flipped on that issue right?”

CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY BRIAN FALLON: “No, I think what happened, Wolf, was that at the time she made those comments that you just played that deal was still being worked on and she was expressing her hope that the deal would live up to being the gold standard…”

BLIZTER: “You didn’t see ‘hope’ in that statement. She said, ‘this TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open, free, transparent, fair trade.’”

FALLON: “I think what happened was the deal was finalized in the years after she left as secretary of state, and she was pretty clear, even prior to the finalization of that agreement, what her metrics would be for judging it. And then it came out, and the details were scrutinized over, and it came up short on every count that she had listed months in advance, including making sure that we have good paying jobs here in the United States, she just fundamentally thinks it fails that test. Now this was an issue that was heavily litigated in the primary, so I don’t think it’s a surprise at all where she stands on the issue of trade to voters in this general election contest.”

Obama to Kaepernick: Have You Thought About Military Families?

President Obama may be scaling back his initial comments about Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protests. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback continues to kneel during the "Star Spangled Banner" at his NFL games as a means of speaking out against racial injustice. Other football players, as well as athletes from other professional sports, have followed suit.

President Obama weighed in on the controversy at the G20 summit in China earlier this month and offered a measured defense of Kaepernick's right to protest. 

"My understanding at least is that he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement," Obama said. "If nothing else what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about."

Yet, at a CNN town hall with America's armed forces on Wednesday night, the president offered a different perspective. He said that Americans should be sympathetic to Kaepernick's message because many families have been affected by police shootings, yet added that our military families have suffered plenty of their own grief.

“Sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama said. “So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”

Obama may have softened his tone a bit considering he was in a room full of service men and women.

For what it's worth, Kaepernick did reportedly at least ask a Green Beret's opinion as to how he could exercise his right to protest the anthem while still showing some amount of respect for America's finest. He concluded taking a knee would be the best option.

Or he could just stand up.

Gavin Newsom Tries to Mansplain Gun Law to Six-Time Olympic Medalist, Fails

Olympic shooter Kim Rhode is a certifiable badass. She's the first Olympian ever to win medals on five continents, and she's the first Summer Olympian to medal in six consecutive Olympic Games.

In addition to her impressive talent at winning Olympic medals, she's also an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment and has appeared in a series of ads against a proposed initiative in her home state of California that would make it much harder for her to legally practice her sport.

Prop 63 would require background checks and sales records for ammunition purchases, outlaw magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Competitive shooters claim that the initiative would cause "bureaucratic nightmares" for keeping an adequate supply of ammo necessary for practice.

Gov. Newsom attempted to effectively "mansplain" Prop 63 on Twitter to Rhode, and let's just say it didn't go as planned.

To which Rhode had a few issues with:

As of press time, Newsom has not yet responded to Rhode's offer.

This Election Is Apparently Destroying Friendships

Some upsetting news via a new Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday: this election is costing people friendships. Seven percent of the 802 registered voters surveyed admitted that this election season has caused them to end a friendship with someone due to political differences. For the math-averse among us, that's at least 56 people who have decided that voting for someone different is a complete dealbreaker when it comes to friendships.

While an overwhelming 93 percent said this election hasn’t cost them any friendships, 7 percent said it has. Those numbers, however, mirror the results when registered voters were asked whether any friendships have been lost or ended because of a political campaign in past years. Seven percent said yes, while the remaining 93 percent said the opposite.

Another 70 percent of respondents said that this election has brought out the worst in people.

And now, a PSA from your trusty Townhall writer Christine Rousselle:

Friendships are more important than politics, and if you can't salvage an established friendship with someone because they're voting for a different candidate, then you need to take a dose of grow-the-hell-up pills. Political views are a small facet of who a person is as a human. There are so many cooler things to people than who they tic off in the voting booth, and to be so fixated on that small part of a person to the point of severing them from your life is just about the saddest thing I've ever heard.

Watch Live: Clinton in Des Moines, Iowa

Video: 'South Park' Does the Debate

One of the themes of the current season of Comedy Central's South Park -- whose anti-political correctness story arch last year was scathingly hilarious -- is the 2016 presidential election. In the fictionalized version, the final choice for voters boils down to orange-painted populist blowhard Mr. Garrison (and his running mate, er, Caitlyn Jenner) running against Hillary Clinton. Colloquially, the campaign pits candidates known respectively as "Giant Douche" and "Turd Sandwich" against each other. Last night's episode brought viewers the hotly-anticipated Douche/Turd debate, at which an increasingly frantic Garrison (campaign pledge to end illegal immigration and terrorism? "F*** them all to death") begs voters to vote against him. "I had no idea I'd get this far, but the fact of the matter is, I should not be president," he pleads, concluding, "please, if you care at all about the future of this country, vote for her."  The slam on Trump is obvious and amusing, but what made me laugh out loud is Hillary's pre-programmed response, her advisors' panicked reaction, and Garrison's furious incredulousness at how awful she is (content warning):

And here's the post-debate Giant Douche rally, at which a packed house cheers louder and louder as an agitated and horrified Garrison implores them to abandon their support for him. No dice. The worse he gets, the more support he attracts, via MRC (double content warning):

As a bonus, this is South Park's musical number ridiculing "safe spaces" from season 19:

Obama Tells Gold Star Mother: Controversy Over Saying 'Islamic Terror' is Manufactured

During a town hall with CNN Wednesday night, President Obama was asked by Gold Star mother Tina Houchen, whose son was killed in Iraq, why he refuses to use the term "Islamic terrorism."

After thanking her son for his ultimate sacrifice and expressing his condolences for her loss, Obama proceed to lecture her about his refusal to use the term, saying that the issue has been "manufactured." 

"The truth of the matter is that this is an issue that has been sort of manufactured because there is no doubt and I’ve said repeatedly, that where we see terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda or ISIL they have perverted and distorted and tried to claim the mantle of Islam for an excuse, for basically barbarism and death," Obama said. "These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves — there’s no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do. But what I have been careful about, when I describe these issues, is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country."

It should be noted that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has a Ph. D. in Islamic studies from the University of Baghdad.

Last week White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest referred to the war against ISIS as really "a war of narratives."

Labor Secretary: Scalia's Death Makes it Easier to Unionize

It's been months since the passing of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but Democrats are still seemingly celebrating his death because it paves the way for their political purposes. At The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum on Thursday, Labor Secretary Tom Perez casually noted that Scalia's death helped pave the way for union membership across the country.

“Well, I think you have all these — there’s an unmitigated assault on labor unions across a number of states and there was a case that went before the Supreme Court recently, and frankly if Justice Scalia had not passed away it would have really made it very difficult for public sector labor unions to organize,” Perez told Rattner.

Unfortunately, Perez's comments are not isolated. In August, Ohio Senate Candidate Ted Strickland actually said “the death of Scalia saved labor” at an AFL-CIO event.

The vacancy on the Supreme Court will be an important consideration for voters this November, but Democratic leaders would be wise to show a little more sensitivity and respect when talking about it.