McConnell: Trump's 'Not Going to Change the Republican Party'

Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reassured listeners that Donald Trump will not change the nature of the Republican Party.

Many have said that the rise of Trump indicates the GOP has an identity crisis, some even going so far as to argue that the party will never be the same, and has even died.

Whether or not Trump has embraced the Republican Party’s limited government theory remains to be seen, but ultimately, “he’s not going to change the Republican Party,” McConnell told Hewitt. “Think of Eisenhower, for example. But Trump is not going to change the institution. He’s not going to change the basic philosophy of the party.”

McConnell said the reason he’s comfortable supporting Trump is because on the issues that will have the greatest impact on the future of the country—like nominating judges to the Supreme Court—“I think he’ll be just fine,” he said.

Holder Praises Edward Snowden: He Performed a 'Public Service'

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who stole up to 1.7 million classified documents and released hundreds of thousands of them to journalists, performed a “public service” by igniting a debate in the country about domestic surveillance programs.

"We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate we engaged in and by the changes that we made," Holder said during an interview with CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to Obama, David Axelrod.

Nonetheless, Holder did follow up by saying that what Snowden did was wrong.

"Now, I would say doing what he did in the way he did it was inappropriate and illegal," he said. "He's broken the law. In my view, he needs to get lawyers, come on back and decide what he wants to do — go to trial, try to cut a deal."

Snowden has repeatedly said he would be willing to return to the United States if the federal government would provide him a fair trial. However, Snowden says he is concerned that under federal espionage laws he would not allow him to present a whistleblower defense, arguing in court he acted in the public interest.

"But in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, a judge could take into account the usefulness of having that national debate," Holder added.

On Memorial Day, Bear In Mind Those We've Lost In ‘Forgotten Wars’

As Memorial Day comes to a close, there has been a lot of talk about whether we, as Americans, have forgotten the significance of this holiday. Many regard Memorial Day as pretty much the start of summer (though that doesn’t officially begin until June 20), where families head down to the beach for the long weekend. Others are heading to outlet stores to take advantage of the various shopping deals occurring over the weekend. We are able to do these activities because hundreds of thousands before us decided to give their lives in various wars to preserve our freedoms.

We should honor those who served and died for our country, and thank God (or whatever higher power that may exist) that this country is filled with scores of men who were willing to make that sacrifice. From the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, we stand and take pause and the brave men and women who died performing extraordinary acts to defend this country and their fellow comrades in arms. Yet, I always have a special place for those who never came back from the Korean War.

Yes, we did fight in Korea starting in June of 1950-1953, though the first contingent of American troops committed at first were ill-prepared and poorly equipped. It wasn't until the landing in Inchon in September of 1950 that UN/US/ROK forces began to drive the North Koreans across the border. It was also the first time the United Nations went to war. Why do I hold those who died in Korea in high regard? For starters, I, and millions of other Korean-American adoptees, wouldn’t be here without their service and sacrifice. Without American intervention, it’s certain that the last of the South Korean forces would’ve been overrun near the Pusan Perimeter. It was the last sliver of land left for the communist North Korean forces to conquer and unite the peninsula under a reign of unbearable human suffering and tyranny, much like what we see today above the 38th parallel.

Millions of Koreans and Korean adoptees would’ve been shut off from the world, unable to live better lives in the homes of caring Americans. I’m one of them. If American soldiers decided not to get involved in Korea, I would not have been flown into Newark Airport on December 8, 1988 and adopted by my new family. I would not have been able to live the American Dream. Period. My life could have been marked by starvation, economic destitution, and the irrational paranoia that the Great Leader can read my thoughts. For native South Koreans, the Miracle on the Han River that helped catapult the nation into the G20, making them economic heavyweights in league with Europe and the United States, would have never happened.

Most importantly, the Korean War if often relegated as a forgotten one. No war in which American blood has been should ever be considered forgotten. Over 30,000 Americans fought to keep a people they really didn’t know free from communist oppression. I’m forever grateful for those who sacrificed their lives. I’m indebted forever to those who served in that war. And every Korean should feel the same.

So, while we honor those who have died to keep this nation free, and other countries free as well, let’s not forget the wars that might not have been covered so thoroughly in the classroom. After all, every American who has died in the service of his or her country is a hero. We must not forget a single one every year we mark this occasion.

To those who have died throughout the years in the defense of our republic, especially those who never came back from Korea—thank you.

BONUS: Historian Victor Davis Hanson analysis of the Korean War, where he says it "deserves to be remembered and studied with pride."

Editor's Note: Got some dates and facts mixed up ... thanks for pointing this out Everitt Simpson--and thank you for your service in Korea. I wouldn't be writing this post if it weren't you, sir. 

ESPN Columnist Laments Cops Singing National Anthem, Signals ‘Authoritarian Shift At The Ballpark’

Apparently, there’s been a shift towards authoritarianism at sporting events because law enforcement is participating is singing the national anthem. No, I’m not kidding—ESPN columnist Howard Bryant is somewhat unnerved by this spectacle seen prior to the start of a sporting event. The article ("The Unspoken Truth") is not available online, but Clay Waters, who perused the piece, at Newsbusters broke down this peculiar view:

Policing is clearly one of the most divisive issues in the country – except in the sports arena, where the post-9/11 hero narrative has been so deeply embedded within its game-day fabric that policing is seen as clean, heroic, uncomplicated. Following the marketing strategy of the military, police advocacy organizations have partnered with teams from all four major leagues to host ‘Law Enforcement Appreciation’ nights, or similar events.

[…]

Nobody seems to care much about this authoritarian shift at the ballpark, yet the media and the public are quick to demand accountability from players they consider insufficiently activist. They blame these black players for not speaking up on behalf of their communities, ignoring the smothering effect that staged patriotism and cops singing the national anthem in a time of Ferguson have on player expression. It’s indirectly stifled, while the increasing police pageantry at games sends another clear message: The sentiments of the poor in Ferguson and Cleveland do not matter....While athletes are routinely criticized for “not doing more,” it is conveniently ignored how deeply their employers have mobilized against the most powerless elements of their fan base.

Uh, what? Seldom do fans think about sociopolitical contexts of who sings the national anthem prior to the start of a game. Most people are still in line waiting for burgers hot dogs, fries, chicken tenders, and most importantly beer. They want to see a good game, not debate whether a police officer singing the national anthem means we don’t care about Ferguson, Missouri—or something.

Waters noted that in 2015, Bryant took umbrage with the way in which the Chicago Blackhawks acknowledged Veterans Day:

There is not just deceit in these practices but also an insulting distortion of history and images. The Chicago Blackhawks ostensibly honored Veterans Day with a camouflage jersey containing the Blackhawks' logo in the center, clearly uninterested in the colliding imagery -- the systematic removal of native tribes occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army. Since 9/11, America has conflated the armed forces with first responders, creating a mishmash of anthem-singing cops and surprise homecomings in a time of Ferguson and militarized police. Tensions continue to mount in aggrieved communities, yet the LA Dodgers pandered to police by holding Law Enforcement Appreciation Night in September.

Give me a break, dude.

Great: Syrians, Palestinians Buying Fake Honduran Identities to Get Into US

It’s not just the U.S.’s porous borders with Mexico Americans have to worry about, it’s also corrupt immigration officials in other countries that should be a major cause for concern.

According to a new report from Honduran newspaper La Prensa, officials in the country are being paid off to register foreigners as legal residents, which gives them access to documents that can then be used to enter the United States and other western nations.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports (emphasis mine):

Honduras' National Registry of Persons (RNP)confirmedthat hundreds of Palestinian, Syrian, and citizens of other Arab nations were fraudulently registered as Honduran citizens. As a result, these foreigners can then acquire Honduran passports, which can be used to apply for visas to enter to the United States.

On Sunday, La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, revealed the illicit sales of Honduran identity documents to Palestinian and Syrian citizens. La Prensa's investigation was anchored on the case of a Palestinian, Kareen Samer Abdulhadi.

In October 2014, Abdulhadi presented himself to the Honduran consulate in Barcelona and with official documentation from the RNP and solicited a Honduran passport—arguing his status of "Honduran by birth." Nevertheless, the language, his marked Arab features, and inconsistent birth data aroused the suspicions of the diplomatic staff about his true nationality and the legitimacy of the documents (including a birth certificate and identification card). Further investigation by consular staff revealed that in 2013 there had been an unauthorized intrusion and alteration in the database of birth registrations of one of the municipal records back in Honduras, which allowed the Palestinian to be documented as Honduran.

According to information accessed byLa Prensa, Kareen Samer's father acquired his own Honduran identity card and birth certificate, and with those documents was able to also register at least eight family members, including his children, wife, and grandchildren.

Subsequent investigations established that Abdulhadi's case is only the tip of the iceberg of an organized crime network with international ties to smugglers and RNP officials, who were able to illegally register at least one hundred Palestinians and Syrians with fraudulent documentation.

According to an unnamed source in La Prensa’s report, the U.S. Embassy did detect at least some of the Palestinians and Syrians who were fraudulently registered as Honduran citizens and tried to obtain a visa.

But as CIS’ Kausha Luna points out, “for those who fraudulently attain a Honduran passport, how many successfully acquire a U.S. visa?”

"A document breach, such as the one in the Honduran RNP, presents yet another obstacle to the United States' ability to properly vet individuals,” Luna concludes. 

NYT: Venezuelan Socialism Has Pretty Much Shut Down All Aspects Of Socioeconomic Life

Venezuela’s tryst with socialism continues to make its citizens suffer under lack of electricity, food, and medical supplies. The government, which provides essential services, is only working two-day workweeks. Inflation has soared through the stratosphere, only to be accompanied by widespread hunger. People have resorted to looting. There are reports of dogs, cats, and pigeons being hunted for food, while others tear through garbage cans looking for whatever they can find to eat. Under-stocked supermarkets have become tragic spectacles, as Venezuelans rush to get whatever they can find once the doors open. As for medical supplies, they’re scarce—with hospitals lacking basic items, like gloves and soap. Access to medicine is also a nightmare, impacting 200,000 Venezuelans living with chronic illnesses. In one tragic case, an eight-year-old-boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma recently passed away since he couldn’t obtain the drugs he needed to survive.

The New York Times noted that, as the government slowly begins to shutdown, the crisis is beginning to kill off every aspect of socioeconomic life. Schools are now closed on Fridays to help with the energy shortage, and law and order has all but collapsed. Even the Venezuela’s like-minded allies concerning left wing economics have noted that current President Nicolas Maduro has pretty much lost his marbles:

The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.

Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.

This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory.

In recent weeks, the government has taken what may be one of the most desperate measures ever by a country to save electricity: A shutdown of many of its offices for all but two half-days each week.

But that is only the start of the country’s woes. Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.

Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.

[…]

“There’s been plenty of problems, but one thing I haven’t seen until now is protests simply to get food,” said David Smilde, a Caracas-based analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group, referring to the demonstrations last week.

[…]

Old allies like Brazil, whose leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, was removed this month pending an impeachment trial, are now openly criticizing Venezuela. José Mujica, the leftist former president of Uruguay last week called Mr. Maduro “crazy like a goat.”

[…]

As the sparring continues, Mariángel González, a 32-year-old mother of two, is most worried about the retreat of the government from daily life.

Venezuela’s public schools are now closed on Fridays, another effort to save electricity. So Ms. González was waiting in line with her elder child at an A.T.M., while her husband watched over the other one at home.

“Right now, my older girl should be at elementary school and the little one in kindergarten,” she said. “My husband and I have been inventing new routines.”

Ms. González, a freelance lawyer, lived a middle-class life until recently. But she says the government shutdown has left her without work and her family without food.

“The older girl, who understands what’s going on says, ‘What is there, Mom: bread, arepas or nothing?’” She said that on a recent night, the family ate a dinner of pasta and ketchup.

For Vanessa Arneta, who lives with seven relatives in an apartment on the outskirts of Caracas, it’s the disappearance of the city’s water that is causing the most pain. Water arrives just once a week, on Thursdays, to her neighborhood of San Antonio de los Altos.

That day, they quickly divide up the chores. A nephew gets into the shower while another one washes the dishes, Ms. Arneta says. One of her brothers washes up the bathroom, while someone else fills buckets with water for later.

But Ms. Arneta says the water is now a brownish color and is making her family sick. Many Venezuelans say they have gotten skin irritations from showering or from the inability to bathe and wash their sheets and towels.

The Agence-France Presse reported last week that 80 percent of Venezuelans say that basic things, like food and medicine, are in short supply—and 86 percent blamed the left wing government of President Maduro for their suffering.

Cliver Alcala, a then-cadet under Hugo Chavez who rose through the military ranks and is credited with being the “architect” of Venezuela’s military, bashed Maduro saying that his government has nothing to do with Chavez’s legacy—“it’s anarchy” (via BBC):

"When Comandante Chavez started the MBR-200, I was a 19-year-old cadet. Today, I'm 54."

While in power, there was little that Chavez valued more than loyalty. And as Alcala quickly climbed the military ladder, he strove to provide it through open demonstrations of unwavering support.

He is often credited with being the first to publicly declare the armed forces "Bolivarian" and "revolutionary".

But today he is excoriating about the direction the government of President Nicolas Maduro is taking and the role of the military in the current political and economic crisis gripping the country. Mr Maduro succeeded Chavez, who died of cancer three years ago.

"This isn't Chavismo," Gen Alcala says of the socialist leadership. "It's anarchy."

"Over the past three years, we have entered a maelstrom of anarchy in which a group of compatriots that once supported the revolution - both civilians and military - thought they could install an anarchic ideology in the country."

"And so they have."

He immediately begins to list problems, with corruption at every level of government, and accuses the military of standing idly by as Rome - or in this case Caracas - burns.

Well, corruption is a byproduct of authoritarian leftism. Not just in Bolivia, but other governments that aspire to the planned economy model. A model that force Bridgestone to abandon operations, Coca-Cola to stop production due to sugar shortages, and Lufthansa is set to suspend all flights to Venezuela because of the deteriorating situations in the country. In Venezuela, 21st Century Socialism has done nothing but relegate this country into nothing more than a burned out cinder.

The International Monetary Fund projects the Venezuelan economy to contact by eight percent his year, with a 500 percent surge in the inflation rate.

Viva La Revolución!

Professor: That Ben Shapiro Is A Total Neo-Nazi

California State University-Los Angeles is still reeling from a visit by Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro. Sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, Shapiro gave a lecture on February 25, where his conservative, non-politically correct speech left many in the cupcake brigade triggered. So, on May 17, they held a healing space event, which was attended by CSULA’s president, where he says he would have never invited Shapiro on campus, and Melina Abdullah, the department chair of Pan-African Studies, who called Shapiro a “Neo-Nazi.”

“This is kid of this ongoing conversation about the specificity of anti-blackness, and that’s what I think what we see with Ben Shapiro. So, even if you decided you’re going to let this Neo-Nazi on campus, right? And I get he’s Jewish, so that’s ironic that I’m calling him a neo-Nazi, right? But that’s basically what he is the equivalent—a neo-KKK member, let’s call him that, right?

That’s also ironic since Ku Klux Klan members also embrace anti-Semitism. Abdullah then details how members of the student body are coming to her feeling “brutalized” by Shapiro’s views.

“What I’m hearing is students come into my office and feeling traumatized…feeling brutalized—physically, emotionally, and mentally.”

Oh, c’mon, lady. It’s a speech—not a riot. It’s conservatism, not ultra-nationalistic fascism. It’s your students exuding an appalling weakness towards other people’s views. Then again, this is California, but the fact that people are still throwing tantrums over something that happened last winter isn’t normal.

World Health Organization: No Need to Move The Rio Olympics

There's been concerns surrounding the Rio Olympics for months now--from everything from the quality of the stadiums, to the cleanliness of the water, and to air conditioning in the Olympic Village. Now that the Zika virus has burst onto the scene in South America, the calls to cancel or relocate the games have increased. The World Health Organization, however, says that moving the games isn't necessary and that moving the games wouldn't make things any safer.

However, the WHO rejected the idea and said that suspending the Olympics or staging them elsewhere would “not significantly alter” the spread of the virus, which is linked to serious birth defects.

The open letter cited growing scientific studies that suggest the Zika virus is responsible for birth defects, including microcephaly. In rare cases, it can also cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disease that results in temporary, and sometimes fatal, paralysis.

The experts fear that these defects could spread more rapidly around the world as a result of an influx of Olympic visitors to Rio, which has a high incidence of Zika cases.

The Olympics are scheduled to kick off on August 5. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen.

A Swiss Village Will Pay A Fine Rather Than Take In Refugees

A village in Switzerland has decided to pay a fine of £200,000 rather than accept 10 refugees. The village, Oberwil-Lieli, has a population of about 2,200 people and is an alpine resort town. The residents of the village voted against accepting any refugees in a close 52 to 48 percent vote.

The village is home to 300 millionaires, meaning that the fine probably won't have any real effect on the villagers.

The mayor the village denied that there was a racial motive behind the vote, and expressed concerns that accepting the refugees would send the "wrong message" and encourage people to make the dangerous journey trying to reach Europe. Additionally, there were concerns that the area's schools would have difficulty accommodating any children of the refugees given that they do not speak the same language.

Andreas Glarner, Oberwil-Lieli’s right wing mayor, denied that by refusing to accept refugees they were being racist.

“We were not to be told if the 10 were from Syria or if they are economic migrants from other countries," he said.

“Yes, the refugees from Syria have to be helped and they are better served by being helped in the camps nearer their home.

“Money could be sent to help them, but if we are housing them here it sends out the wrong message. Others will come and risk their lives crossing the ocean and paying people smugglers to bring them.

“They are not likely to be able to speak the language and if some of the refugees have children they will have to go into the local school where they will need special focus.”

Benghazi Committee Finally Questions Drone Pilots the Pentagon Said Were 'Unnecessary' Witnesses

The Obama administration hasn't exactly been the most cooperative when it comes to the efforts of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Case in point: Chairman Trey Gowdy asked the Pentagon back in February if his panel could interview two relevant drone pilots about the fateful night of September 11, 2012. It wasn't until this past week, three months after his inquiry, that the department complied.

What was the holdup? In a letter to the committee, the Pentagon expressed confusion as to why Gowdy and the other panelists needed to interview the pilots, since they already had access to video from the Benghazi raid. The interviews were "unnecessary," the Pentagon concluded.

"It remains unclear what additional information could be gained from these interviews, especially the pilots,” the Defense Department wrote in the letter.

After pressure from the committee, they seem to have changed their mind. 

While Gowdy was "glad" the DOD finally came around and honored his request, he noted a separate witness that remains up in the air.

"The Department has still not fulfilled the committee’s months-old request to interview an individual who claimed on his Facebook page that he was a crew chief at an air base in Europe the night of the attacks," the chairman said in a statement on Thursday. "This request was only made after the Department did not answer a simple question in February that would either confirm or deny the allegations. It is irresponsible for Democrats to dismiss and ignore public claims without even talking to the person who made them, and the administration should provide this individual to the committee immediately so we can do our job.”

Democrats have claimed that the committee is being used as a political tool for the White House - an argument which was given some ammunition this fall when GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Sean Hannity the panel's findings were in direct correlation to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's poor poll numbers. Yet, Gowdy has pushed back against these attacks, insisting he and his fellow committee members are focused on bringing in key witnesses because "the families of those killed and injured in Benghazi and the American people deserve to hear from any witness who can potentially provide relevant, probative evidence."

The two drone pilots the panel interviewed this week, along with an eyewitness to the Benghazi attacks, brings the committee's number of witnesses to 102. 

Stonewalling the Benghazi committee helps no one. Gowdy and company seem to be the only ones searching for answers, therefore the White House should be giving them any and all resources available.

Some Chick-fil-A Restaurants Are Commemorating Memorial Day in a Very Special Way

Two Alabama Chick-fil-A locations are honoring our nation’s veterans for Memorial Day in a special way. A table has been set aside that has a place setting, candle, rose in a vase, and a note, which reads:

"We cover a small table with a white cloth to honor a soldier's pure heart when he answers his country's call to duty.

We place a lemon slice and grains of salt on a plate to show a captive soldier's bitter fate and tears of families waiting for loved ones to return.

We push an empty chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here.

We lay a black napkin for the sorrow of captivity, and turn over a glass for the meal that won't be eaten.

We place a white candle for peace. And finally, a red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon for hope that all our missing will return someday.

You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains."

The Missing Man table is a reminder to the restaurant's patrons of what Memorial Day is really all about. In the past, other Chick-fil-A restaurants have set up Missing Man tables for Veterans Day as well. 

The VA Declared Thousands Of Living Veterans Dead, Cut Off Their Benefits

When the VA isn't leaving veterans to die waiting in line for healthcare at hospitals across the country, the disastrous system is declaring veterans who are alive and well...dead. 

VA officials are now admitting the agency declared more than 4,000 living veterans, dead, cutting off their benefits. Navy Veteran Mike Rieker from Florida is one of them.

"The system failed, whatever they're doing doesn't work. It was supposed to be corrected and of course it wasn't," Rieker told Fox and Friends during a recent interview. "Things move at the speed of darkness at the VA."

"One of my biggest concerns is that there are a lot of people who don't know who to contact [when benefits are cut off]," Rieker, who was able to get his benefits back with help from a Congressman, continued. "You call the VA and they say, 'We'll investigate it,' and who knows how long that takes."

I'll leave you with this: 

Libertarian Convention Gets Weird, Candidate for Chairman of Party Does Striptease on Stage

Libertarians nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as the party’s candidate for president, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as vice president, during the party’s convention in Orlando, Florida this past weekend. But things got weird when it came time to nominating candidates for chairman of the party.

A candidate for the chairmanship of the Libertarian Party made a splash Sunday evening. 

The man took the stage and defended his chosen candidate for the party’s vice presidential nomination, Derrick Grayson, as the results of the second ballot were tabulated, according to reporters on the scene. During that time candidates for chairman of the party were allowed two minutes each to speak. 

 The man stripped down to his underwear, before saying he was doing it for a dare and leaving the stage. 

Warning: You can’t unsee this. 

As you can imagine, many delegates were very unhappy with the man’s stunt, with one heard saying "At a time when we need to be taken seriously..." and another complaining, "I do not want the world to think that's what Libertarians are.”

Krauthammer: Obama's 'Implicit Apology' in Hiroshima 'Dishonored Our Nation'

President Obama may not have come out and said the word ‘sorry’ during his visit to Hiroshima last week, but that doesn’t mean his presence there coupled with his speech calling for a world without nuclear weapons wasn’t an implicit apology, according to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

After being inaugurated, Krauthammer said Obama started “confessing to a long history of American sins,” from the mistreatment of Indians to the coups in Iran and Guatemala.

“He closed the circle of that apology tour … in Hiroshima,” Krauthammer said on Fox News.

“To say it wasn’t a formal apology, of course he wasn’t going use the word and yes, he did speak of war in the abstract, but he did it in Hiroshima,” he continued. “If you want to do a speech about war in the abstract you do it in Prague, which is what he did in 2009.” When you do it in Hiroshima of course you’re talking about World War II, of course you’re talking about America dropping [the bombs] and of course the implication is that we have a sense of guilt about it.”

What President Obama should have done is visit next year when he is a private citizen, he added. Even former President Jimmy Carter, who also visited Hiroshima, had the sense to at least wait until after he’d left he White House.

Krauthammer also went on to argue that eliminating nuclear weapons will never happen and since that’s the case, does the U.S. really want to be without them when there are ‘nut cases’ like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un who are trying to acquire them? Of course not, he said.

“The president speaking as president was representing the United States,” Krauthammer said. “I thought it was embarrassing in utopianism and the implicit apology dishonored our nation. This is not something he should have done."

US Marines Hit with Harsh New Rules at Okinawa

Strict liberty restrictions and a midnight curfew took effect Friday for all service members on Okinawa, according to a report from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Okinawa, Japan.

A statement said the intent of the measures is "to observe a period of unity and mourning by curtailing off-installation activities" in response to two recent acts of misconduct.

The restrictions include:

• All ranks, including officers, must be on base by midnight.

• Alcohol may not be purchased or consumed off base.

• Patronizing off-base bars and clubs is prohibited.

• Parties may not be held off base.

• Personally owned vehicles entering installations between midnight and 5 a.m. are subject to sobriety checkpoints.

• No Marine on Okinawa may stay overnight off base unless it is their residence; however, these restrictions do not apply to those on special liberty or on leave outside of Okinawa.

The new rules follow the arrest of a civilian U.S. worker suspected in the death of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman. Others covered by the status of forces agreement – including civilian workers and families of service members – are being asked to abide by the restrictions, too.

"My intention is for all SOFA status personnel to consider their roles as ambassadors to Japan and good neighbors with the people of Okinawa, as reflected in their personal conduct during the period of mourning," III MEF commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson said in a statement.

"Additionally, we honor and mourn the tragedies affecting the victims of two heinous crimes. These incidents do not accurately represent the behavior of the more than 50,000 SOFA status personnel living in Okinawa who lawfully, peacefully and positively engage with our Okinawan neighbors on a daily basis."

LOOK: NASCAR Pokes Fun at NC Bathroom Law

CHARLOTTE - Signs on the porta-potties in the parking lot at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina on Sunday poked fun at the ongoing controversy in the state--and the nation--over a bathroom law that requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological gender. 

Take a look: 

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is in attendance and received a mostly warm welcome and cheers from the crowd. 

Update: The signs were removed. 

ICYMI: Hillary Supporters Viewed As Traitors By Sanders-Supporting Peers At Harvard

Earlier this month, The Guardian  ventured onto the campus of Harvard University, where supporters of Hillary Clinton are somewhat being driven underground. They’re afraid to publicly state they’re supporting her campaign, and have received some rather nasty exchanges from the supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. It’s not shocking. For starters, young voters are breaking for Sanders by wide margins. Second, this is the new era of American college life—the urge to silence those that hold differing opinions than you're own. If they're conservative, it's open season. In this case, the left is eating itself:

In April, Sam Koppelman, a 20-year-old government student at Harvard, wrote a letter to the New York Times lamenting that his support for Clinton meant that on campus he “might as well be Pat Buchanan”.

“At Harvard, admitting that #ImWithHer is nearly tantamount to boasting ‘Make America Great Again’,” Koppelman wrote.

The letter was a coming out of sorts for Koppelman, who told the Guardian that despite having written frequently about politics for his student newspaper until 2012, he stopped this year for fear that it would “cast me as an outsider, cast me as someone who’s more conservative”.

[…]

“If you’re engaged in activism and you’re a part of the campus left, and then you choose to support Clinton’s campaign … that’s almost a traitorous act,” Koppelman said.

[…]

anet Ho canvassed for Clinton during the New Hampshire primary. Ho, a 19-year-old freshman, is an open advocate for the former secretary of state, but admitted that being a Clinton supporter can be difficult.

“Do I feel more challenged by Bernie supporters? Yeah. Do I feel more challenged in general? Yes, I do,” she said. Ho said she felt she had to “justify” her backing for Clinton to Sanders fans.

“They see the Hillary supporter as someone who doesn’t really want as much equality as they do.

[…]

“There are going to be some people on either side who are going to be really emphatic about what they believe,” said Molly Roberts, a 22-year-old senior studying English who writes a column for the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

“And then you know, if they’re jerks in the first place maybe they’ll get vitriolic.”

Roberts has not been cowed by the potential for jerks to become vitriolic. In February, she wrote about her support for Clinton in the Crimson.

“There was maybe one person who said something pretty nasty about it on Facebook and then got some comments that were also nasty,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s the prevailing way that the Bernie supporters act.”

Ho said that she would support the Democratic nominee regardless of who it will be, though it’s pretty much assured it’ll be Hillary Clinton. And no, Ms. Roberts—Sanders supporters are quite vicious, given their rambunctious behavior at the Nevada Democratic Convention, which led to the state Democratic chair getting death threats.

Yes, these liberals got a little taste of what conservatives go through on college campuses across the country. It’s not good, and these Clinton supporters should be able to voice their opinions without being viewed as traitors. At the same time, maybe they can empathize with their more right-leaning peers, what few of them might be on campus, and their struggle to be who they want to be without being harassed.

Broken But Unbowed

In a remarkable journey from being paralyzed at the age of 26 to becoming governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott’s new book, Broken But Unbowed: How to Fix a Broken Americais an inspiring and harrowing story.  CBC exclusively interviewed Gov. Abbott in the recorded podcast author interview below.

The first part of the book details the life story of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was paralyzed at age 26 when a tree fell on him while jogging.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster detailing the specific events that transpired during and after becoming paralyzed.  

He would soon recooperate and become an exemplary lawyer, served on the Texas State Supreme Court, became the longest serving Attorney General in US history, and recently won the gubernatorial election to succeed Gov. Rick Perry.

The second part promotes a Convention of the States and offers constitutional amendments suggesting that only the people can rein in the federal leviathan.

Listen to our exclusive podcast author interview below with Gov. Greg Abbott!

Learn more about Gov. Greg Abbott and his new book at the Conservative Book Club!

The Nanny State Groweth: NYC to Start Issuing Salt Fines to Restaurants

If you thought the war on sugary drinks in New York City was bad enough, the Big Apple will now be cracking down on another apparent evil: salt.

After getting the green light from an appeals court this week, the city will start enforcing that chain restaurants use icons on their menus to warn customers if foods are salty.

The good news for freedom-lovers is that the appeals court's ruling isn't necessarily the final word on whether the regulation will stand.

The Associated Press reports

The novel rule took effect in December, and some eateries already have added the requisite salt-shaker-like icons to menu items that contain more salt than doctors recommend ingesting in an entire day.

But penalties have been in limbo as the National Restaurant Association fights the measure in court. That clash is ongoing, but an appeals court Thursday lifted a temporary hold on issuing the fines while the case plays out. Fines can be up to $600.

The city will start enforcing the rule June 6.

Of course Mayor Bill de Blasio loves the new rule, calling it a “common sense regulation that will help New Yorkers make better decisions and lead healthier lives.”

And while the city won the first part of the lawsuit in February, the restaurant association appealed, and they are hoping New York will delay enforcement until the appeal is settled.

"Today's decision ... will force the men and women that own New York City's restaurants to start complying with this unlawful and unprecedented sodium mandate before the court has the chance to rule on the merits of our appeal," the organization said in a statement.

The association argues that nutritional warnings should be left up to federal regulators, especially given that there’s disagreement among scientists over excessive salt intake levels. On top of that, the group is also saying the new rule violates the free speech rights of restaurateurs. 

Gary Johnson Nominated Libertarian Candidate for President

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has been nominated the Libertarian Party candidate for president. He was also the party’s candidate for president during the 2012 election.

Delegates to the party's convention in Orlando on Sunday picked Johnson on the second ballot over Austin Petersen, the founder of The Libertarian Republic magazine, and anti-computer virus company founder John McAfee.

Johnson got about 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012.

But the party is hoping for a strong showing in November because of the deep unpopularity polls show for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Johnson has said that he wouldn’t be running if he didn’t have a shot at winning.

“I wouldn’t be engaged in this right now if there weren’t the possibility of actually winning,” he told MSNBC this week.

 Though he’s been in the double digits in three recent national polls of hypothetical matchups against Trump and Clinton, he needs to poll at least at 15 percent to be invited to presidential debates.

“Really key for us right now is just being in the polls that determines who’s in the debates,” he added.

  

American Airlines: 70,000 People Have Missed Flights Due To The TSA

American Airlines is not thrilled with the recent trend of TSA lines and slowdowns, and the company claims that delays in screening have caused 70,000 people to miss their flights this year. An additional 40,000 bags did not make it to their destinations due to the TSA.

American thinks that the TSA isn't doing enough to ensure that lines don't get out of control.

American, the world's largest airline, wants TSA to create a senior internal role focused on traveler concerns, said American Airlines Group Inc Senior Vice President for Customer Experience Kerry Philipovitch. The request comes days after Neffenger shook up TSA's management, removing the head of security operations, Kelly Hoggan.

Philipovitch also recommended that TSA consider reinstating a risk-based screening program that it canceled last year because of high-profile lapses.

In the program, officers trained to detect irregular behavior would pull unsuspicious travelers randomly into "PreCheck" lanes that can process people faster, as they do not remove their shoes and other belongings.

Ridiculous. The TSA claims that they need more staff to fix these issues, but there's no hard proof that this will solve the problems. After all, this is the same organization that spent $1.4 million on an app...that could have been built in 10 minutes.

Female Voters Shred 'Reckless' Hillary Clinton Over Email Server

If Hillary Clinton wants to maintain a bunker mentality until Election Day, I would suggest switching courses. She hides while Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” for months—bad move. With the latest State Department Inspector General report that the former first lady had violated the Federal Records Act, Clinton is keeping away from the press. Her campaign maintains that she did nothing wrong, though the facts don’t hold up with that narrative. Moreover, it seems to be impacting her stance with young women voters, who have flocked to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, since they think that her private email system showed that she was “reckless,” not accountable for her actions, and played by her own rules. The latter is a throwback to the criticisms lobbed against couple in the 1990s.

Last week, NBC News’ Chris Jansing sat down with a focus group of women voters, who pretty much savaged the former Secretary of State over her email fiasco.

“I take national security really seriously and the idea that she would have a private email server—it demonstrates someone who thinks they’re outside of the rules and not accountable. And it’s reckless,” said an undecided voter, who served in the Air Force for six years.

“Exactly,” responded another female voter in the group.

The Air Force veteran continued by saying, “the most disappointing part about all of it is that I don’t feel like she’s taken responsibility for it.”

“When people are in positions of power, they have a responsibility and a duty, to make sure that what they do is transparent. And the entire problem with this email server issue is that she’s [Clinton] not being transparent,” said another voter.

A Clinton supporter read the usual lines, like how other secretaries of state have done this, but also—in a bit of a stretch—said that Bernie supporters should view this email controversy as a criminalization of Clinton. And that Sanders’ supporters should see how these actions are somewhat in conflict with the Vermont Senator’s message of overcriminalization and criminal justice reform. The rest of the focus group roundly rejected that point.

The Air Force veteran concluded the segment by saying, it [the email server] speaks to her character…I want someone who I can trust, who I think has a character that is credible, and that I’m going to believe what that person says to me.”

After taking into account all of the exit polls from past primary contests, women voters under the age of 30 split for Sanders 68/31 over Clinton. Jansing said that this group looks at this election as an existential crisis, noting that many have student loans and want to start families.

It also proves that women are not monolithic in their voting behavior, which is a trap that many Democrats fall into when assessing the strength of their coalition. They obviously want someone who has a good character, who would be held accountable, and who does not consider themselves above the rules. That’s not Hillary Clinton.

A NBC News/WSJ poll showed that 19 percent of voters found Clinton as trustworthy and honest, while only 35 percent felt the same for Donald Trump. They’re very low numbers, but as MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki noted—twice as many voters felt Trump was more sincere. Moreover, what the Clinton supporter in the focus group left out, and what Kornacki referenced, was that the State Department was never approached by the Clinton team over setting up this sort of email arrangement, and even if she did—it probably wouldn’t have been approved. Maybe that’s why “liar” is one of the most popular words used to describe Clinton.

Oh, and she doesn’t get it.

Tragic: Eight-Year-Old Venezuelan Boy Who Protested Drug Shortages Has Died

Venezuela’s health care system has been relegated to something out of the 19th century. Hospitals lack even the most basic supplies, like soap and gloves, with rolling blackouts—at times—having deadly consequences for the infants in the various maternity wards. The Washington Post’s editorial board mentioned that 200,000 Venezuelans with chronic illnesses don’t have access to medicine, though they failed to mention that left wing economics is partially responsible for the deteriorating situation in the country. Yet, for one eight-year-old boy, who protested the appalling scarcity of medicine, including the drugs he needed to fight his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his struggle ended with his death (via PanAm Post):

The eight year old whose image went viral several months ago after participating in a protest against Venezuela’s drug shortages died recently after he was unable to receive the medicine he needed.

“I want to get better, peace and health,” Sanchez’s sign read during a demonstration, which made him the face of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis turned Venezuela.

Oliver Sanchez was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just over a year ago, but shortages of medicines needed for treatment led him and his family to participate in the demonstration.

“We are in a desperate situation,” his mother Mitzaida Berroterán said at the time.

Sanchez’s cousin Ricardo Lobo told the newspaper Efecto Cocuyo that at the time, the child “asked for paper and a pencil and wrote the sign.”

Lobo said that what little medical care they could get ended up being by donation.

Sadly, the situation in the country is likely to get worse before it gets better. Besides the growing medical emergency, we have hungry Venezuelans going through garbage cans to find food.

NPR: Couric's 'Manipulation' Of Audio During Gun Owners' Interview 'Would Not Pass Muster' Here

It was not a good week for Katie Couric. Her new anti-gun documentary (which she also executive produced) Under The Gun, was literally put in the crosshairs after Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon discovered that an interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League was deceptively edited to make them look like idiots. Luckily, Philip Van Cleave, president of the VCDL, released a copy of the audio showing that there was no pause, as depicted in the film. His members did give responses to her questions concerning background checks.

It’s drawn considerable criticism on social media and some online publications. The film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, gave this weak sauce explanation for the pause:

“There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

Even Erik Wemple of The Washington Post found this to be utterly ridiculous:

…[W]e’ve scarcely seen a thinner, more weaselly excuse than the one in the block above. For starters, it appears to count as an admission that this segment of the documentary was edited. The artistic “pause” provides the viewer not a “moment to consider this important question”; it provides viewers a moment to lower their estimation of gun owners. That’s it.

[…]

Many of those who sampled the discrepancy between the video and the audiotape were already enraged by the depiction of these gun owners. The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends — all of it needs to happen here.

Couric had gone on the record saying, “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”

Now, we have National Public Radio tearing into the “manipulation” of this interview, noting that it would fall way short of its standards regarding interviewing practices. When you lose NPR, you know you’ve seriously messed up. It was a completely avoidable disaster:

This manipulation — and that's what it was — would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness in handling interviews.

It should be noted that documentaries operate with a different ethos than straight news. Under the Gun has a take, strongly suggesting there is a quiet consensus in favor of background checks among gun owners, aside from gun rights advocacy groups. This is not deception on a grand scale, but this handling of the interviews with the Virginia gun owners group is clearly unfair and unwarranted. People deserve to recognize themselves in how they appear in interviews.

This wound was both self-inflicted and rhetorically unnecessary — the director simply could have cut away after Couric asked the question and returned to it later. (Which the movie does in fact do, posing much the same question to Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who supports gun ownership rights.)

To show the gun owners blank-faced for an extended time didn't provide a pause for the viewer — it wiped away the notion these people had an answer to hear.

The deception reflects poorly on Couric, too. She conducted the interviews, serves as the movie's executive producer and has promoted it extensively. She saw a polished cut of the documentary before its release. She apparently expressed doubt about the insertion of the pause but failed to get it removed from the film.

Regardless, those nine seconds — fleeting moments for the film — amount to a team loss on an unforced error.

Van Cleave, the head of the Virginia gun owners group, said he came away from the interview with a largely favorable impression of Couric. He said that her questions were tough but fair, and that she played the devil's advocate but never attacked.

"Nothing in the interview made me think she would do what she did," Van Cleave told NPR. "We've got to be able to trust the press."

Pavlich added that since Couric’s documentary has been exposed for its selective editing, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN have ignored the story.

Young Man Pulls Over and Holds Flag Off the Ground Until Help Arrives

Cole Dotson was passing by a local school last Sunday when he noticed that an American flag had fallen to the ground. Apparently Dotson did not hesitate and immediately pulled over and lifted the flag from the ground. 

Fortunately, Cole's grandmother works for the school and came to help raise the flag to its proper position, taking a picture to capture the patriotic moment.  

Cole's mother was quite proud and wrote, "The flag fell to the ground, he saw it, stopped and held it until someone from school could come and put it back up."

“Thank you all for the support! I didn’t intend to get recognized for what I did. But I am sure glad to see the support and respect for the flag. I love this flag and this country. God bless America,” Cole wrote to his supporters.

At the end of the day, we must all remember that it doesn't matter what your occupation is, where you live, or how old you are, the American flag is bigger than anything or anyone in this country.  It is our job as American citizens to respect and uphold the integrity of what the flag means and Cole demonstrated that to all of us.    

Cole plans to join the military this summer.